What is a Migraine “worse than”?

Today I thought I’d surf around a bit and see if I could find the answer to this question – fill in the blank – migraine is worse than __________.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor*

Now, we know that every migraine attack is different.  Some people do have "mild" attacks, some have migraine attacks with no headache, some people experience partial paralysis, some can’t speak or go blind, while others just feel a bit "off".

However, generally speaking in the medical world, migraine’s most well-known symptom is headache, and it tends to be a moderate to severe headache.

So what are migraine attacks worse than?  Here are the answers I’ve found – how would you answer?

Here it is, from various sources, online.  Migraine is worse than…

  • … a really bad brain freeze
  • … childbirth/labour pains
  • … a headache
  • … the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • … anything

* This is not intended to minimize the impact of almost 2500 people killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  There is no comparison between one migraine attack and the ongoing loss of friends and family after the attack of 1941.  However, the personal pain of migraine often does seem comparable to a battle being fought in your head – hence the comparison made by someone online!

So what’s your answer?  Migraine is worse than….?

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24 comments… add one
  • Leah Watterson May 26, 2012

    ok i know it wont say nice…..but having pain last all day and all night some times ….is worst than living !!!but thats just me!!!. it gets sooo bad that u want take ya own life just to get relief!!!

  • Refia Sayed May 26, 2012


  • Celia McCann Hanson May 27, 2012

    It’s pure torture it lasts for several days and you never know when your going to have one- It is surely worse than childbirth!

  • Betsy Mauchley May 27, 2012

    It’s the not knowing when / if it will end.

  • Tina Saint Chunn May 27, 2012

    Most of the time there are just no words to describe the pain. I always compare it to a brain freeze that can last 72 hours.

  • David Vowell May 27, 2012

    Prior to last week i went a full month pain free, the only thing different was the fact that i had chigger bytes on me. Last weekend as the itching went away the headaches started and lasted most of the week. I went and got more chiggers on me and no headache. So the migraines are worse than chiggers, but not much!

  • Jessica Madore May 28, 2012

    migraine is worth than childbirth! Childbirth has an eventual end and reward, but with my migraines they can last a few hours to a week or more with no end in sight and when they do finally break I am wiped out for just as long as it lasted after relief comes!

  • Janine May 28, 2012

    a screwdriver being driven into your eye, dragged up through your brain and down the back of your neck going into your shoulder.

  • Marti May 29, 2012

    A migraine is worse than being whacked in the back of the head with a baseball bat. By a lumberjack.

  • christine May 29, 2012

    A migraine is worse than everything!!

  • Mary Nibbelink May 29, 2012

    Migraine is worse than losing a good friend because you lose yourself.

    I see myself now – no more driving, no more enjoyment in shopping or being with a group of people, no more independence, no more sounding smart everytime you open your mouth because you can’t trust the words will come out properly! It has been 5 years of struggling to survive. Is there ever relief to come?

  • Greg May 29, 2012

    I dislocated an elbow while studying martial arts. I’d rather do that again than have a really severe migriane (except for the long term arm damage).

  • dee May 29, 2012

    Yes migraine feels like some one is taking a sledge hammer to your head pretty much every day of the week

  • Anne May 30, 2012

    In my opinion of 40 years of migranes, there is nothing worse than a migrane

  • kathy b May 30, 2012

    I know migraines are worse than many things but one thing WORSE than a migraine is when the headache doctor continually looks for ways to blame the patient for causing their own migraine ( MOH, caffeine, poor sleep, etc). I know these things can cause migraine and I DO avoid these things. When will doctors realize migraine can be a chronic progressive disease that is NOT due to patient actions? You would expect better from a headache specialist.

  • Patti May 30, 2012

    I was told that these horrible, pounding, my hair even hurts migraines, was something that “I brought on myself”! Migraines rule your world.

  • Tracy May 31, 2012

    OK a migraine is like a dang bomb going off in your head . The pain does not let up no matter what you do or take. I have them for 14 days straight. Thought I was gonna loose my mind. Not only is it the head but the eyes burn and tear and the neck and shoulders feel swollen and my throat feels like the muscles are closing. TORTURE in the purest time. LORD and do not let the stomach migraine kick in too……….

  • Catarina Jun 2, 2012

    Worse than the worse ear infection ever. (I’ve had both, I still believe the worst migraine I’ve had beats my worst ever ear pain, I just wanted to rip my left ear off).

  • Tanya Jun 6, 2012

    Worse than the worst hangover.

  • dee Sep 25, 2012

    It is worse than all of the above 50 years of hell every day

  • dbm Apr 9, 2013

    the worst part about a migraine for me is the cynicism and disbelief i recieve from my own family. i often want to take a syringe and gently insert it into their tempols then poke at the back of their eyes, so they’d understand.

  • christine Apr 13, 2013

    I always thought the best way to describe a migraine was to say its like if u drink too much tequila, combine the night (drunk) and the morning (hangover) all into one = migraine.

  • Kay Sep 11, 2015

    Migraine is worse than child birth because it’s all for nothing

  • Mary May 21, 2016

    Migraine has ruled my life for the past 48 years as if the most heartless psychopathic bully on this planet!
    It has robbed me of my self confidence, my credibility in the workplace, planned outings/ holidays, commitment to clubs and societies, a marriage, a teaching certificate, my love of running and of dancing…. in fact almost everything! It even came to torment me during my knee replacement surgery!
    It is a hateful condition that suddenly arrives and will remain for days on end. It’s as though someone is pounding ceaselessly on one side or the other of your temples, forehead or crown with a screwdriver! I get muscle tension, clenched jaws, nausea, hot sweats, anxiety attacks… depression and despair throughout the duration feeling that I will never be able to handle anything in my life ever again. It can start at the base of my skull, up my neck or with warning ‘stabbing’ pains on either side of the top of my head (followed a few hours or a day later with the ‘full monty’!
    The worst of it is that almost everyone I have ever come into contact with has become exasperated, disappointed or disbelieving. Then you have the ‘judgemental types.. (I’ve brought it on myself to avoid something… or I should learn to ‘chill out’ more) or the ‘expert on headaches’ .. (“go for a run that’ll blow it out of your system..it works for me with a headache”)!
    Well migraine is not understood by them. They can’t see it or feel it. They insist it’s a headach and that everyone gets them. Understanding the problem takes a little time and THAT would mean getting up off their backsides and researching into it. I have been seen as an attention seeker, a mental case, a wimp and a social phobic…YET all these ‘symptoms’ miraculously disappear the moment the migraine attack passes. They stop when the attack is absent.
    However I have to admit that suffering this syndrome for decades has taken it’s toll on my joy of living in general (although I did manage to embrace more activities when I discovered the ‘miracle of triptans’ 20 years ago… marred only by most GP’s mean spirited possessiveness, ungenerously withholding these goodies to the minimum so that I felt ‘greedy’ for needing/requesting such expensive drugs almost every week for several days at a time).
    I am less resiliant during attacks these days medicated or not. I am tired, getting old and the fighting spirit needed to endure the ‘cat and mouse’ experience of living with migraine is considerably reduced. I hoped there would be a total cure in my lifetime… but I realise it is SUCH a complex multifaceted condition this is unlikely to happen in it’s entirety. I am fortunate to have a partner who accepts my condition unquestionably… but of course I realise that in living with me he has had to embrace life where the only certainty is that tomorrow’s activities ….remain uncertain!

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