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11 types of headaches: Causes and treatment

There are many different types of headaches, and their causes and symptoms can vary. Although most are short-lived and rarely a cause for concern, being able to recognize which kind of headache a person is experiencing can inform them how best to treat it and whether to see a doctor.

Headaches are a common complaint. According to the World Health Organization, most people will experience a headache from time to time.

While they can be sometimes painful and debilitating, the majority can be treated with simple painkillers and will go away within several hours. However, repeated attacks or certain types of headache could be a sign of something more serious.

This article looks at some of the most common types of headaches, along with their causes, treatment, prevention, and when to see a doctor.

The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) defines more than 150 different types of headaches. These are divided into two main categories: primary and secondary.

A primary headache is one that is not caused by another condition — it is the condition itself. Examples include migraine and tension headache.

1. Migraines

Share on PinterestMigraines are categorized as a primary headache, and are often accompanied by visual disturbances.

A person who has a migraine will characteristically feel an intense throbbing pain on just one side of the head.

The person may experience a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. Nausea and vomiting are also common.

Around a third of people experience an aura before the onset of a migraine. These are visual and sensory disturbances that typically last between 5 and 60 minutes. They can include:

  • seeing zig-zagging lines, flickering lights, or spots
  • partial loss of vision
  • numbness
  • pins and needles
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty speaking

Be aware that aura symptoms could also indicate stroke or meningitis. Anyone experiencing them for the first time should see a doctor immediately.

Migraines tend to be recurrent, and each attack may last up to 3 days. For many, it is a life-long condition.

Although a migraine can occur in both adults and children, it is three times more likely to develop in females than males. Attack frequency can range from several times a week to once a year.

The causes of migraine are not fully understood. However, it often runs in families. Migraines are also more common in people with certain pre-existing conditions, such as depression and epilepsy.

Triggers of migraine could include:

  • stress and anxiety
  • sleep disruption
  • hormonal changes
  • skipped meals
  • dehydration
  • some foods and medications
  • bright lights and loud noise

Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can stop headaches or reduce pain and duration.

Doctors can prescribe an antiemetic drug to relieve nausea and vomiting, such as metoclopramide or ondansetron. Migraine-specific combination drugs are also available.

Attacks may also be eased by:

  • resting in a dark, quiet place
  • placing an ice pack or a cold cloth on the forehead
  • drinking water

For more difficult-to-treat migraines, doctors may prescribe a type of drug called a triptan, such as sumatriptan or rizatriptan. A person should take all medications as soon as migraine symptoms begin for best effect.

People with chronic migraine should see a doctor about preventive treatment. A doctor may diagnose a person with chronic migraine if they have experienced headaches:

  • on more than 15 days per month
  • over a period of 3 months
  • of which at least eight show symptoms of migraine

Drug options for migraine prevention include topiramate, propranolol, and amitriptyline. Other management choices to consider are dietary supplements, meditation, acupuncture, and neuromodulation therapy, which involves applying mild electrical pulses to the nerves.

2. Tension headaches

Tension headaches are very common, and most people will experience them occasionally. They present as a dull, constant pain felt on both sides of the head. Other symptoms can include:

  • tenderness of the face, head, neck, and shoulders
  • a feeling of pressure behind the eyes
  • sensitivity to light and sound

These headaches normally last from 30 minutes to several hours. Severity can vary, but they rarely prevent normal activities.

The cause of tension headaches is unclear, but stress, anxiety, and depression are common triggers. Other potential triggers include:

  • dehydration
  • loud noise
  • lack of exercise
  • poor sleep
  • bad posture
  • skipped meals
  • eye strain

OTC painkillers, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin are usually very effective in stopping or reducing pain. Individuals experiencing a headache on more than 15 days per month over 90 days should see a doctor.

Lifestyle changes and some treatments may help prevent tension headaches. These can include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • regular exercise and stretching
  • improving sitting and standing posture
  • having an eye test
  • management of stress, anxiety, or depression
  • acupuncture


Cluster headaches

Share on PinterestCluster headaches may cause a painful burning sensation behind the eyes.

Cluster headaches are severe and recurrent headaches that are six times more likely to develop in men than in women. People describe an intense burning or piercing pain behind or around one eye.

Other symptoms can include:

  • watering eye
  • swollen eyelid
  • a blocked or a runny nose
  • sensitivity to light and sound
  • restlessness or agitation

Cluster headaches are usually sudden, without warning, and last between 15 minutes and 3 hours. People can experience up to eight attacks a day.

Attacks tend to occur in daily clusters that can persist for weeks or months. They typically take place at the same time of day, which can often be a couple of hours after falling asleep at night.

Any person experiencing these symptoms — which can sometimes be mistaken for hay fever — should consult their doctor.

The cause of cluster headaches is unclear, but they are more likely to occur in smokers. People should avoid alcohol during attack periods.

Treatment aims to reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks. Options include:

  • topiramate
  • sumatriptan
  • verapamil
  • steroids
  • melatonin
  • oxygen therapy
  • lithium

Doctors may suggest surgery in very difficult-to-treat cases.

4. Exertional headaches

Exertional headaches are brought on by strenuous physical exercise and can be triggered by:

  • running
  • jumping
  • weight lifting
  • sexual intercourse
  • bouts of coughing or sneezing

These headaches are usually very short-lived but can sometimes last up to 2 days. They present as a throbbing pain felt throughout the head and are more common in those with a family history of migraine.

Individuals experiencing cluster headaches for the first time should see a doctor, as they could be a sign of something serious.

Most attacks can be treated with OTC painkillers. Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a beta-blocker before exertion can help prevent the headaches, as can warm-up exercises.

5. Hypnic headaches

A hypnic headache is a rare condition that usually begins for the first time in a person’s 50s but can start sooner. Also known as “alarm clock” headaches, they wake people during the night.

A hypnic headache consists of a mild-to-moderate throbbing pain usually felt on both sides of the head. It can last for up to 3 hours, and other symptoms may include nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

People can experience several attacks each week. The cause of hypnic headaches is not understood, and there are no known triggers.

Although hypnic headaches are harmless, an older person who experiences any new kind of headache for the first time should see a doctor. Migraine and cluster headaches also need to be ruled out.

The leading treatment choice is caffeine, taken as tablets or as cups of coffee before bedtime. Other drug options include indomethacin, melatonin, and lithium.

A secondary headache is a symptom of something else, such as a headache resulting from a head injury or sudden caffeine withdrawal.

6. Medication-overuse headaches

A medication-overuse headache (MOH) — sometimes known as a rebound headache — is the most common type of secondary headache. A MOH is marked by frequent or daily headaches with symptoms similar to those of either tension headaches or migraines.

These headaches initially respond to painkillers but then reoccur sometime later.

MOH can result from taking painkillers on more than 15 days in a month. Drugs that can cause MOH include:

  • opioids
  • acetaminophen
  • triptans, such as sumatriptan
  • NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen

A MOH can still occur despite taking these medications as directed. However, a MOH mainly seems to develop in people taking painkillers specifically for the treatment of a headache.

The only treatment for MOH is to stop taking the medication behind the headaches. Anybody stopping medication should do so under the supervision of a doctor. The doctor will able to help devise a plan and may be able to prescribe other medicines that can ease the withdrawal process.

Symptoms are likely to worsen before they improve after stopping the drug. Headaches will typically stop within 10 days.

Additional withdrawal symptoms usually go away within 7 days but may take up to 3 weeks. These include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • increased heart rate
  • sleep disturbance
  • restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness

Most people revert to their original headache pattern within 2 months. After this, it should be safe to start retaking pain relief medication.

The following steps can help prevent MOH:

  • avoiding the use of codeine
  • taking painkillers for headaches on no more than 2 days in a week
  • using preventive medications for a chronic migraine


Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches are caused by sinusitis — a swelling of the sinuses — which is usually the result of an infection or an allergy.

The symptoms consist of a dull, throbbing ache around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. The pain may worsen with movement or straining and can sometimes spread to the teeth and jaw.

These headaches are usually accompanied by a thick green or yellow nasal discharge. Other symptoms may include blocked nose, fever, nausea, and light or sound sensitivity.

Sinus headaches are quite rare. If there are no nasal symptoms, a headache of this nature is more likely to be a migraine.

Sinus headaches can be treated with OTC painkillers and nasal decongestants. People should see a doctor if symptoms do not improve within a week.

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics if they think a bacterial infection has caused the headache, or antihistamines in the case of an allergy. Doctors may also prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray to help reduce the swelling.

To diagnose the underlying cause of the sinusitis, a doctor may refer an individual to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. In some cases, surgical drainage may be required.

8. Caffeine-related headaches

Heavy caffeine consumption — more than 400 milligrams (mg), or around 4 cups of coffee — can sometimes lead to headaches.

In people consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine daily for over 2 weeks, withdrawal may result in migraine-like headaches. These typically develop within 24 hours after stopping abruptly. Other possible symptoms include:

  • tiredness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • poor mood or irritability
  • nausea

Symptoms are often relieved within an hour of caffeine intake or will resolve fully within 7 days after complete withdrawal.

The effects of caffeine vary from person to person, but reducing intake could decrease the risk of getting headaches. Limiting caffeine consumption is sometimes recommended for people who have chronic migraine.

9. Head-injury headaches

Share on PinterestHead injuries, including those sustained in contact sports, may lead to headaches.

Minor bumps and blows to the head and neck are common and are usually nothing to worry about.

Sometimes, a headache may develop immediately or soon after. These are often similar to migraine or tension headaches and can usually be treated with OTC painkillers.

Anyone who experiences persistent or worsening headaches should see a doctor. Always call an ambulance for serious head injuries, or if someone experiences the following symptoms after any head injury:

  • unconsciousness
  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • memory loss
  • confusion
  • vision or hearing problems

Post-traumatic headaches can also develop months after the original head injury, making them difficult to diagnose. They can sometimes occur daily and persist for up to 12 months.

10. Menstrual headaches

Headaches are often related to changes in hormone levels. In women, migraine is frequently linked with periods due to natural changes in estrogen levels.

These menstrual migraines develop in the days just before or during a period, or sometimes during ovulation. Symptoms are similar to migraine without aura but can last longer or be more debilitating.

Hormone-related headaches can also be caused by:

Treatment for a menstrual headache is the same as the treatment for migraine without aura. Doctors can advise about possible preventive measures, such as:

  • hormonal therapy
  • taking a triptan or NSAID around the time of periods
  • alternative oral contraception plans, such as omitting the pill-free break
  • hormone replacement therapy for women undergoing menopause

11. Hangover headaches

Consuming too much alcohol can lead to a throbbing headache the next morning or even later that day. These migraine-like headaches are usually felt on both sides of the head and are made worse by movement. Someone who has a hangover headache may also experience nausea and sensitivity to light.

There are no cures for hangovers, but it is possible to relieve symptoms by drinking plenty of water and eating sugary foods. OTC painkillers may help reduce or stop the headache pain.

Symptoms of hangovers tend to go away within 72 hours.

The risk of getting a hangover can be reduced by:

  • drinking in moderation
  • not drinking on an empty stomach
  • drinking water between alcoholic beverages and before going to bed

Most headaches are rarely a sign of something more serious and most people can manage them efficiently with OTC painkillers.

However, anyone who experiences severe, persistent, recurrent, or worsening headaches should consult a doctor. Medical assistance should be sought immediately for:

  • headaches that come on very suddenly and are extremely painful
  • recurring headaches in children
  • headaches following a significant blow to the head
  • headaches associated with confusion or disturbed vision, balance, or speech
  • headaches associated with numbness or weakness
  • headaches associated with fever, seizures, or unconsciousness
  • headaches accompanied by a stiff neck or rash
  • headaches associated with persistent vomiting

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5 types of headache and their locations

There are many different types of headache, and each one tends to have its own set of triggers, symptoms and treatment options. Different headaches are also associated with specific locations too.

Some of the more common types of headache – like tension headaches – can affect the whole head, while others – such as cluster or sinus headaches – typically affect a more specific area.

Identifying where your pain is can be key to helping you work out why you are suffering. This information can help you administer effective relief, or decide if you need to seek medical attention.

We’ve mapped out 5 different headaches, and provided information about the steps you can take to relieve them.

If you are worried about your headache, or find that painkillers are not reducing your pain, we would always advise that you see a doctor to rule out any serious medical problems.


Common symptoms include:

  • Throbbing pain on one side of the head
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Blurred vision, seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines
  • Increased sensitivity to light, smells or loud noises
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

What to do

Migraines are more common than you might think. In fact, The Migraine Trust estimate that one in seven people suffer from these headaches, while chronic migraines affect around 2% of the world population.

The exact causes are unknown, but there are a number of effective treatments that can help manage your pain. Often, people notice triggers for their migraine such as lack of sleep, or eating certain foods such as cheese or chocolate.

If you’re unsure what triggers your migraine, you could try keeping a migraine diary.

If you are suffering from a migraine, you should move to a dark, quiet room, and lie down until the symptoms pass. Sleep if you can, and try to minimise exposure to anything that makes your headache worse.

Some people find that heat or ice packs help to reduce the symptoms of a migraine.

Usually a doctor may advise taking painkillers for a migraine, such as paracetamol. However, speak to a pharmacist or doctor for further guidance before taking any painkillers.

It tends to be more effective if you take medication when you first notice migraine symptoms.

When to worry

You should seek medical advice immediately if you:

  • Notice your headache getting progressively worse
  • Develop muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Have a high temperature
  • Develop double vision
  • Experience seizures
  • Notice a rash anywhere on your body

These could be symptoms of a more serious condition – including meningitis or a stroke.

If you are suffering from migraines more than five times a month, you should book an appointment with your doctor.

You should also see a doctor if your migraines are starting to affect your quality of life. Living with migraines can be challenging, and they may be able to prescribe medications to help manage the condition and its symptoms.

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Cluster Headache

Common symptoms include:

  • Stabbing or burning pain centred over one eye or temple
  • Severe or excruciating pain lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • A red and watering eye
  • A drooping or swollen eyelid
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A shrunken or constricted pupil
  • Sweating

What to do

Cluster headaches often occur at night, and tend to recur at the same time every day.

According to research published in the BMJ, they generally last between 15 minutes and three hours, but they can be frequent, and are known to be one of the most excruciating headaches that you can experience.

If you think you might be a suffering from a cluster headache for the first time, you should seek medical attention immediately. This will allow your doctor to rule out other causes and provide an accurate diagnosis.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for a cluster headache, but it may be possible to avoid them by limiting your exposure to known triggers like cigarettes, or the strong smelling chemicals in perfume and paint.

Your doctor may also be able to put you in touch with support groups, provide medication, or organise oxygen therapy which has been shown to help alleviate attacks.

When to worry

As mentioned above, if you think you might be experiencing a cluster headache for the first time then you should seek immediate medical attention to rule out other causes, including meningitis or a stroke.

Although cluster headaches are not life-threatening, you should also seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Notice a change in their frequency or severity
  • Experience new symptoms
  • Develop weakness or paralysis
  • Have a fever

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Tension headaches

Common symptoms include:

  • Dull, aching pain on both sides of the head
  • A feeling of pressure behind the eyes
  • The sensation of tightness at the back of the head
  • Tender neck or shoulder muscles

What to do

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, but they can still be very painful. Statistics published by the World Health Organisation suggest that between 1-3% of adults suffer from chronic tension headaches.

Your best course of action is to take painkillers as soon as you can, and retreat to a quiet space. However, always speak to a pharmacist or doctor for further guidance before taking any painkillers.

You can also try to reduce your symptoms by relaxing, or applying a cold compress to your neck.

Some people find that light exercise, such as yoga, can help to alleviate the symptoms of a tension headache. Your headache should pass relatively quickly, although they can last for several hours.

If you have frequent tension headaches it may also be worth keeping a headache diary. This can help you to work out what is causing your headaches, and enable you to modify your lifestyle accordingly.

Overuse of medications can cause rebound headaches and make your condition harder to manage. Always be guided by a pharmacist or doctor before you take painkillers, and seek medical attention if you find the frequency of your headaches increasing.

When to worry

If you find that your headache has come on much faster than normal, or are experiencing several tension headaches a week, book an appointment with a doctor.

You should also seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Cannot control your headache with medication
  • Experience muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Feel confused
  • Develop slurred speech
  • Feel nauseous or start to vomit

Although painful, tension headaches are rarely the result of a serious medical problem, so try not to worry too much. Most tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck, and normally pass with time.

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Sinus Headache

Common symptoms include:

  • Throbbing pain in the forehead or cheeks
  • Facial tenderness or swelling
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Green or yellow discharge from the nose
  • Earache
  • Fever

What to do

Sinus headaches occur when the sinuses become inflamed due to infection or allergies. They can be very painful, and are often mistaken for migraines. If you think you have a sinus headache, you should see a doctor so that they can exclude other causes.

Your doctor may prescribe medications such as nasal decongestants, antihistamines or a steroid nasal spray.

You can also try to relieve the symptoms of a sinus headache at home. The most effective treatments include inhaling moist air from a humidifier or a bowl of heated water; nasal douching with a saline solution, or holding a warm or cold flannel over your face.

When to worry

It is important to see a doctor if your:

  • Pain is severe
  • Symptoms aren’t improved by painkillers
  • Headache does not improve after a week
  • Headaches occur frequently

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Giant Cell Arteritis

Common symptoms include:

  • Sudden pain in the temples, the top of the head or behind your ears
  • Tenderness or swelling to the top, sides, front or back of the head
  • A sore scalp
  • Jaw pain, typically when chewing or talking
  • Visual problems
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

What to do

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is relatively uncommon. A study published in the PMC suggests it affects around 0.25% of adults over 50, and is virtually unknown in people younger than this. Nonetheless, the condition is serious and can cause permanent vision loss.

Giant cell arteritis occurs when the arteries in your head or neck become inflamed. The symptoms tend to present very quickly, and people suffering from giant cell arteritis normally report that they had little or no warning before the pain began.

Because giant cell arteritis can lead to permanent vision loss, it is important to treat it as a medical emergency.

If you think you might be experiencing giant cell arteritis, you should seek medical attention immediately. A doctor will then be able to screen you for the condition, and help to treat the underlying cause.

When to worry

Giant cell arteritis is a serious problem, and can lead to permanent vision loss. As such, we would always recommend seeking immediate medical attention if you think you may be experiencing GCA.

Diagnosis normally involves blood tests and a biopsy, and you will then be treated using steroids, low doses of aspirin and/or immunosuppressants to reduce the inflammation.

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The location of your headache can tell you a lot about its possible causes and how to treat it. However it’s important to remember that everyone experiences conditions in their own way.

If your headache is particularly severe, won’t respond to painkillers, or is accompanied by muscle weakness, vomiting or confusion then you should seek medical attention right away.

Got a symptom you’re concerned about?

Find out if you need to see a doctor with our Self-Assessment Tool

4 Common Types of Headaches – Symptoms & Duration

There are several hundred types of headaches, but there are four very common types: sinus, tension, migraine, and cluster.  Headaches are always classified as either primary or secondary. A primary headache is a headache that is not caused by another condition or sickness. Causes of primary headaches include stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol, skipped meals, fatigue, and certain processed foods. Secondary headaches are due to another condition, such as an injury, infection, or sickness, and can range from harmless to very dangerous.

If you are experiencing headaches that occur more often than usual, are more severe than usual, do not improve with over-the-counter drugs, or keep you from participating in normal activities, please see a doctor.


Symptoms: pain in the face or neck, throbbing in one area, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, distorted vision

Duration: 4 to 72 hours

Primary or secondary: Primary


Symptoms: dull pain on either side of the head, and pressure across the forehead

Duration: 30 minutes to several hours

Primary or secondary: Primary


Symptoms: pain in the face, sinuses, eyes, ears, or forehead, congestion, itching, runny nose, fever, swelling in the face

Duration: several days to weeks (if treated)

Primary or secondary: Secondary


Symptoms: severe pain on one side of the head, usually around the eye, accompanied with a drooping eyelid, small pupil, tearing, runny nose or redness on the same side of the head

Duration: cluster periods can last for weeks or several months, usually followed by a period of remission that can last for several months or several years.

Primary or secondary: Primary


If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area and you are suffering from headaches, contact us to make an appointment at our Headache & Brain Health Clinic today! We can tell you what type of headache you are suffering from and help you find the relief you deserve.

You will be seen by expert Neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Shehadi MD. He also specializes in Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Therapies. For more information on Regenerative Medicine, visit the Phenicell Regenerative Institute.

Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment


Multidisciplinary team takes new approach to headaches.

How common are headaches in adults?

If your head is throbbing, you’re not alone. Headache is one of the most common pain conditions in the world. Up to 75% of adults worldwide have had a headache in the past year.

Headaches are a major cause of absenteeism from work and school. They also take a toll on social and family life. For some people, continually battling headaches can lead to feeling anxious and depressed.

What are the types of headaches?

There are more than 150 types of headache. They fall into two main categories: primary and secondary headaches.

Primary headaches

Primary headaches are those that aren’t due to another medical condition. The category includes:

  • Cluster headaches.
  • Migraine.
  • New daily persistent headaches (NDPH).
  • Tension headaches.

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches are related to another medical condition, such as:

  • Disease of blood vessels in the brain.
  • Head injury.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Infection.
  • Medication overuse.
  • Sinus congestion.
  • Trauma.
  • Tumor.

Symptoms and Causes

Are headaches hereditary?

Headaches have a tendency to run in families, especially migraines. Children who have migraines usually have at least one parent who also suffers from them. In fact, kids whose parents have migraines are up to four times more likely to develop them too.

Headaches can also be triggered by environmental factors shared in a family’s household, such as:

  • Eating certain foods or ingredients, like caffeine, alcohol, fermented foods, chocolate and cheese.
  • Exposure to allergens.
  • Secondhand smoke.
  • Strong odors from household chemicals or perfumes.

What causes headaches?

Headache pain results from signals interacting among the brain, blood vessels and surrounding nerves. During a headache, an unknown mechanism activates specific nerves that affect muscles and blood vessels. These nerves send pain signals to the brain.

What causes migraines?

Migraines aren’t fully understood. But researchers think migraines result when unstable nerve cells overreact to various factors (triggers). The nerve cells send out impulses to blood vessels and cause chemical changes in the brain. The result is disabling pain.

What triggers headaches and migraines?

Common triggers of tension headaches or migraines include:

  • Alcohol use.
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Depression.
  • Emotional stress related to family and friends, work or school.
  • Excessive medication use.
  • Eye, neck or back strain caused by poor posture.
  • Lighting.
  • Noise.
  • Weather changes.

What do headaches feel like?

Headache symptoms vary, depending on the type of headache you have.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Tension headache pain tends to be:

  • Consistent without throbbing.
  • Mild to moderate.
  • On both sides of the head (bilateral).
  • Responsive to over-the-counter treatment.
  • Worse during routine activities (such as bending over or walking upstairs).


Migraines are the second most common type of primary headaches. Symptoms of migraines include:

  • Moderate to severe pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pounding or throbbing pain.
  • Pain that lasts four hours to three days.
  • Sensitivity to light, noise or odors.
  • Stomach upset or abdominal pain.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are the most severe type of primary headache. Cluster headaches come in a group or cluster, usually in the spring or fall. They occur one to eight times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely (go into remission) for months or years, only to recur later. The pain of a cluster headache is:

  • Intense with a burning or stabbing sensation.
  • Located behind one of your eyes or in the eye region, without changing sides.
  • Throbbing or constant.

New daily persistent headaches

New daily persistent headaches (NDPH) come on suddenly and last for more than three months. They typically occur in people who weren’t having frequent headaches before. The pain of NDPH is:

  • Constant and persistent without easing up.
  • Located on both sides of the head.
  • Not responsive to medications.

Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches are the result of a sinus infection, which causes congestion and inflammation in the sinuses (open passageways behind the cheeks and forehead). People, and even healthcare providers, often mistake migraines for sinus headaches. Symptoms of sinus headaches include:

  • Bad taste in mouth.
  • Deep, constant pain in your cheekbones and forehead.
  • Facial swelling.
  • Feeling of fullness in ears.
  • Fever.
  • Pain that gets worse with sudden head movement or straining.
  • Mucus discharge (snot).

Medication overuse headaches

Medication overuse headaches (MOH) or rebound headaches affect up to 5% of people. They happen when you frequently take pain relievers for headaches. Eventually, this practice can actually increase your number of headaches. Signs of MOH include:

  • Headaches becoming more frequent.
  • More days with headaches than without.
  • Pain that’s worse in the morning.

Headaches in children

Most kids have had a headache by the time they get to high school. For about 20% of them, tension headaches and migraines are a reoccurring problem. Similar to adults, triggers for headaches in children include:

  • Certain foods that trigger headaches for the individual.
  • Changes in sleep.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Stress.

What headache symptoms require immediate medical care?

If you or your child has any of these headache symptoms, get medical care right away:

  • A sudden, new, severe headache
  • A headache that is associated with neurological symptoms such as:
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Sudden loss of balance or falling
    • Numbness or tingling
    • Paralysis
    • Speech difficulties
    • Mental confusion
    • Seizures
    • Personality changes/inappropriate behavior, or
    • Vision changes (blurry vision, double vision, or blind spots)
  • Headache with a fever, shortness of breath, stiff neck, or rash
  • Headache pain that awakens you up at night
  • Headaches with severe nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches that occur after a head injury or accident
  • Getting a new type of headache after age 55
Symptoms requiring an appointment with your health care provider or a headache specialist

Contact your health care provider if you or your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Three or more headaches per week.
  • Headaches that keep getting worse and won’t go away.
  • Need to take a pain reliever every day or almost every day for your headaches.
  • Need more than 2 to 3 doses of over-the-counter medications per week to relieve headache symptoms.
  • Headaches that are triggered by exertion, coughing, bending, or strenuous activity.
  • A history of headaches, but have noticed a recent change in your headache symptoms.

Diagnosis and Tests

How are headaches evaluated and diagnosed?

If you have headaches often or if they are very severe, reach out to your healthcare provider. You can usually start with your family physician, where the diagnosis process will begin. It’s important to diagnose headaches correctly so that specific therapy can be started to help you feel better. Your healthcare provider will complete a physical examination, discuss your medical history and talk to you about your headache symptoms. This conversation is part of a headache evaluation. During the headache evaluation, your provider will ask you about your headache history, including:

  • A description of your headaches.
  • What the headaches feel like.
  • How often the headaches happen.
  • How long the headaches last each time.
  • How much pain the headaches cause you.
  • What foods, drinks or events trigger your headaches.
  • How much caffeine you drink each day.
  • What your stress level are.
  • What your sleep habits are like.
  • If you have any work issues.

Your headache can be more accurately diagnosed by knowing:

  • When the headache started.
  • How long you have had the headache.
  • Whether there is a single type of headache or multiple types of headaches.
  • How often the headache occurs.
  • What causes the headache, if known (for example, do certain situations, foods, or medications usually trigger the headache?).
  • If physical activity aggravates the headache pain.
  • What events are associated with the headache.
  • Who else in your family has headaches.
  • What symptoms, if any, occur between headaches.

Your doctor will also ask additional questions about performance at work, family background, and if there is any history of drug abuse.

Clinical description of headaches

Describe how you feel when you have the headache and what happens when you get the headache, such as:

  • Where the pain is located.
  • What it feels like.
  • How severe the headache pain is, using a scale from 1 (mild) to 10 (severe).
  • If the headache appears suddenly without warning or with accompanying symptoms.
  • What time of day the headache usually occurs.
  • If there is an aura (changes in vision, blind spots, or bright lights) before the headache.
  • What other symptoms or warning signs occur with the headache (weakness, nausea, sensitivity to light or noise, decreased appetite, changes in attitude or behavior).
  • How long the headache lasts.

History of headache treatments

You should provide your physician with a history of prior headache treatments. Tell your doctor what medications you have taken in the past and what medications are you currently taking. Don’t hesitate to list them, bring in the medication bottles or ask your pharmacist for a printout.If any studies or tests were previously performed, bring them with you. This may save time and repetition of tests.

Physical and neurological examinations for headaches

After completing the medical history part of the evaluation, your physician will perform physical and neurological examinations. The physician will look for signs and symptoms of an illness that may be causing the headache. These signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling
  • Excessive fatigue, wanting to sleep all of the time
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Balance problems, falling
  • Vision problems (blurry vision, double vision, blind spots)
  • Mental confusion or changes in personality, inappropriate behavior, speech difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting

Neurological tests focus on ruling out diseases that might also cause headaches, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other cerebrovascular diseases. A disorder of the central nervous system might be suspected in the development of serious headaches. These include:

After evaluating the results of your headache history, physical examination and neurological examination, your physician should be able to determine what type of headache you have, whether or not a serious problem is present and whether additional tests are needed.

If possible, try to write down how you feel when you are experiencing a headache. Keeping a journal of your headaches and how they make you feel can be helpful when you are talking to your healthcare provider.

The information you give your healthcare provider about your headaches is the most important part of the diagnosis process. By giving your provider as much information as possible about your headaches, you’re more likely to get an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that will help you feel better.

Although scans and other imagining tests can be important when ruling out other diseases, they do not help in diagnosing migraines, cluster or tension-type headaches. However, if your healthcare provider thinks that your headaches are being caused by another medical condition, there are several imaging tests that may be done. A CT scan or MRI can be used if your provider thinks your headaches are connected to an issue with your central nervous system. Both of these tests produce cross-sectional images of the brain that can show any abnormal areas or problems. X-rays of your skull are generally not done. An EEG (electroencephalogram) may not be needed unless you’ve ever passed out during a headache.

Management and Treatment

How are headaches treated?

One of the most crucial aspect of treating headaches is figuring out your triggers. Learning what those are — typically by keeping a headache log — can reduce the number of headaches you have.

Once you know your triggers, your healthcare provider can tailor treatment to you. For example, you may get headaches when you’re tense or worried. Counseling and stress management techniques can help you handle this trigger better. By lowering your stress level, you can avoid stress-induced headaches.

Not every headache requires medication. A range of treatments is available. Depending on your headache type, frequency and cause, treatment options include:

Stress management

Stress management teaches you ways to cope with stressful situations. Relaxation techniques are helpful in managing stress. You use deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mental images and music to ease your tension.


Biofeedback teaches you to recognize when tension is building in your body. You learn how your body responds to stressful situations and ways to settle it down. During biofeedback, sensors are connected to your body. They monitor your involuntary physical responses to headaches, which include increases in:

  • Breathing rate.
  • Pulse.
  • Heart rate.
  • Temperature.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Brain activity.


Occasional tension headaches usually respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers. But be aware that using these medications too often can lead to a long-term daily headache.

For frequent or severe headaches, your provider may recommend prescription headache medications. Triptans and other types of drugs can stop a migraine attack. You take them at the first signs of an oncoming headache.

Drugs for high blood pressure, seizures and depression can sometimes prevent migraines. Your healthcare provider may recommend trying one of these medications to reduce headache frequency.


How can I prevent headaches?

The key to preventing headaches is figuring out what triggers them. Triggers are very specific to each person — what gives you a headache may not be a problem for others. Once you determine your triggers, you can avoid or minimize them.

For example, you may find that strong scents set you off. Avoiding perfumes and scented products can make a big difference in how many headaches you have. The same goes for other common triggers like troublesome foods, lack of sleep and poor posture.

Many people, however, are not able to avoid triggers or are unable to identify triggers. In that case, a more personalized multidisciplinary approach with a headache specialist is often necessary.

Outlook / Prognosis

Can headaches or migraines be cured?

Treating health problems that cause headaches, such as high blood pressure, can eliminate head pain. Recently, there have been several new advancements in our understanding of what causes headaches. Although we are closer than ever before to a cure, at this time there is no cure for primary headaches. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing future episodes.

Living With

What if treatment doesn’t work?

There are many different ways to address headaches. When you start a treatment program, keep track of your results. A headache log can help you measure progress.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my headaches less frequent?
  • Are they less severe?
  • Do they go away faster?

If you don’t notice an improvement, talk to your doctor at the next follow-up exam. You may need to try something new.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Most of the time headaches, although painful, don’t pose a serious threat. However, headaches can sometimes be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. Signs you should seek immediate medical care include:

  • Confusion or slurred speech.
  • Fever.
  • Headache after head injury.
  • Severe headache that comes on suddenly or headache that doesn’t go away.
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness.
  • Multiple headaches in children.
  • Stiff neck, or pain in the ear or eye.
  • Weakness or numbness.

Are there any headache remedies I can try at home?

You can treat the occasional, mild headache at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. Other self-care treatments for headaches include:

  • Applying heat or cold packs to your head.
  • Doing stretching exercises.
  • Massaging your head, neck or back.
  • Resting in a dark and quiet room.
  • Taking a walk.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

The good news for headache sufferers is that you can choose from many kinds of treatment. If your first treatment plan doesn’t work, don’t give up. Your healthcare provider can recommend other treatments or strategies to find the right fix for you.

the Major Types of Headaches and When to Seek Medical Attention

  • The most common types of primary headaches are tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches. 
  • Secondary headaches are the result of another medical condition, and can include a sinus or allergy headache, hangovers or dehydration, and concussions. 
  • Here’s how to identify your type of headache and when you need to seek medical attention. 
  • This article was medically reviewed by Vernon Williams, MD, sports neurologist and director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, CA. 
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Headaches are extremely common and can occur for a variety of reasons. Most headaches are relatively harmless, but can still be very annoying. And some headaches can be the result of a separate condition, which may require medical treatment. 

Here’s what you need to know about the most common types of headaches, how to figure out which one you have, and what you can do for prevention and treatment. 

Primary headaches 

Primary headaches originate in the head and are not caused by another, underlying medical condition. 

These headaches — which include cluster headaches, migraine headaches, and tension headaches — affect the pain receptors in the brain. In fact, each one is commonly identifiable by a specific type of head pain. 

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A combination of brain chemicals, nerves, muscle tension, and even genetics can all play a role in the development of primary headaches, and doctors can’t always pinpoint one exact cause. 

“The cause for these headaches is uncertain and it is not very clear why some suffer from them and others do not,” says Oluwatosin Thompson, MD, a neurologist at GBMC Healthcare in Towson, Maryland. 

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache, occurring in about half of women and one-third of men, according to the World Health Organization. 

Tension headaches occur when the muscles around the scalp become tight, and it commonly feels like your head is being squeezed. Common triggers for tension headaches include:

  • Stress
  • Eye strain
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Alcohol use or caffeine use

Tension headaches can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Some people with chronic tension headaches — tension headaches for more than 15 days per month — will be treated with muscle relaxers to help prevent headaches. 

Managing stress and learning relaxation techniques can also help prevent and treat tension headaches. A 2019 study published in Rooyesh-e- Ravanshenasi Psychological Journal looked at 55 women with chronic tension headaches who kept a journal of their headache symptoms. Researchers found that those who were taught stress management and muscle relaxation techniques, in addition to being treated with muscle relaxers, had fewer headaches than those who were only treated with muscle relaxers. 

Migraine headaches 

Migraine headaches involve a throbbing or pulsing pain, usually in one side of the head. They may be accompanied by nausea, vision changes, and weakness. About 12% of Americans experience migraines, and women are three times more likely than men to have these headaches. 

There also appears to be a genetic link, with migraines running in families, Thompson says, but scientists are still trying to understand the role that genetics play in migraines. It’s believed that genetics account for 34% to 57% of the variability in whether or not a person develops frequent migraines. 

Migraines are reoccurring, so an important step in treatment is identifying triggers, says Leann Poston, MD, a physician trained at Wright State University School of Medicine who is now a medical writer.

These vary for each individual, but common triggers include:

  • Certain foods. For some people, chocolate, yeast, and processed meats can trigger migraines, although scientists aren’t sure why. 
  • Hormonal changes. Women might find they experience migraines at a particular time during their menstrual cycle. One of the most common is menstrual migraine, which occurs 2 to 3 days before the start of your period; 7% to 19% of women suffer from these migraines. 
  • Lack of sleep and stress. Scientists have identified migraine as a maladaptive response to stress. It’s believed stress or a lack of sleep that they might cause hormonal changes that trigger migraines. 

To find your triggers, keep a migraine journal, noting everything that happened in the days leading up to a migraine. With time, a pattern will likely emerge, Poston says.

Occasional migraines can be treated with over-the-counter medications like aspirin, Advil, or Tylenol, but overuse of these can actually trigger migraines, Poston says. This is called a rebound effect. It occurs when the medication wears off your body goes through withdrawal, which can cause headaches. Talk to your doctor about appropriate ways to use over-the-counter medications to treat your migraines; generally speaking use once a week is safe.

There are also prescription medications that can help prevent migraines if taken as soon as symptoms appear, such as triptans and topiramate. Overall, you should consult your doctor to develop a migraine treatment plan that works for you. 

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are a less common type of primary headache that is characterized by severe pain in one side of the head, particularly concentrated around the eye. This is often accompanied by tearing, drooping eyelids, and nasal congestion. These headaches occur in “clusters” lasting for weeks or months, Poston says. 

Cluster headaches are more common in men than women. Doctors don’t understand exactly what causes them. If you’re experiencing a cluster headache, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to rule out any more severe conditions. 

“The most serious aspect of cluster headaches is making sure that the diagnosis is correct and another secondary cause of headaches is not missed,” Poston says. 

Secondary headaches 

Secondary headaches are caused by another medical condition. These commonly include: 

  • Dehydration or hangover. Dehydration causes the pressure in the blood vessels in the skull to change, which can lead to a headache. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause dehydration, which is why you might experience a headache when you have a hangover. Drinking water can help alleviate these headaches. Read more about how much water you’re supposed to drink each day for optimal health. 
  • Sinus or allergy headache. Headaches can accompany seasonal allergies, or be caused by pressure in the sinuses. This happens when swelling in the sinuses from allergies causes pressure in the head. Treating the underlying condition will alleviate the headache. Read more about how to get rid of allergies and how to clear your sinuses with a neti pot.  
  • Concussion. Concussions occur after your brain receives an injury, such as when you bump your head too hard or experience head-to-head contact during sports. Symptoms include headache, decreased coordination, nausea, and confusion. Seek medical attention if you suspect a concussion. 

When to seek medical attention

In rare cases, secondary headaches are caused by more serious medical conditions, such as aneurysms, tumors, or meningitis. 

To be safe, you should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms: 

  • A sudden and severe headache
  • A persistent headache, if you have no history of chronic headaches
  • Confusion
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting 

Poston says that it’s important to trust your intuition if something seems wrong or “just off.” When it comes to headaches, it’s better to seek medical attention early than to wait it out. 

“These serious headaches are rare, but they do occur, and delays in treatment can result in more serious outcomes,” Poston says. 

The bottom line 

There are many different types of headaches, and while most of them are not dangerous, all of them can be irritating and painful. If you’re experiencing frequent or severe head pain, it’s worth checking in with your doctor, who can help you learn how to relieve and manage headaches. 

For more information, read about how to get rid of a headache, and the best home remedies for headaches. 

Types of Headaches

There are many different types of headaches that are categorized according to their cause, symptoms, and ideal methods of treatment.

Image Credit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

The main types of headaches include tension headache, cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine, medication overuse headache, and hormone headache. Each of these types is covered in more detail below.

Tension headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache that affects the vast majority of adults at some point during their life.

A tension headache typically presents as a bilateral ache in the head and is often described as if a tight band was wrapped around the head. The pain is usually mild to moderate and thus does not prevent individuals from partaking in their normal daily activities. The duration of a tension headache can vary from less than an hour to several days.

The exact cause of a tension headache is not known. However, there are several factors that are considered to trigger tension headaches, some of which include stress, poor posture, inadequate sleep, dehydration, and skipping meals.

In most cases, adequate pain relief can be achieved through the use of simple analgesic medications, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Prevention of tension headaches involves simple lifestyle changes to avoid known triggers of the condition.


A migraine is a type of vascular headache that involves a more severe and throbbing pain that may affect one or both sides of the head, in addition to several other possible symptoms. In fact, some people may experience nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, or disturbing vision with a migraine. These symptoms may last from a few hours to several days and can prevent the affected individual from participating in their normal daily activities.

Many patients who suffer from migraines are able to treat the condition with simple analgesic medications; however, some may require other pain relief medication. Triptans are a class of drugs that can provide effective relief for many patients with more severe migraine pain.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are rare and cause very severe pain that is always localized to one side of the head. Cluster headaches are also often accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose, as well as redness or a drooping eyelid on one side of the face. This type of headache often has a quick onset, with the pain reaching its peak approximately 5-10 minutes after the initiation. Taken together, a cluster headache may last for up to a few hours before spontaneously subsiding.

Simple analgesic medications do not provide effective relief for the sudden and severe pain associated with cluster headaches. Instead, administration of oxygen and sumatriptan, which can be in the form of an injection or nasal spray, may be used to treat an acute attack. There are also several medications that can be used in the prevention of cluster headache episodes, such as verapamil.

There are two types of cluster headaches that include episodic cluster headache and chronic cluster headache. An episodic cluster headache is the most common type of cluster headache and involves about of regular headaches for a few weeks, followed by a rest period. Comparatively, a chronic cluster headache is characterized by regular headaches on an ongoing basis without a rest period.

5 Types of Headaches and How to Get Rid of All of ThemPlay

Sinus headache

A sinus headache is caused by the build-up of pressure in the sinuses of the nose, forehead, and cheeks, leading to a deep pain that gets more severe with sudden movements or straining of the head.

The ideal treatment for sinus headaches depends on the cause and severity of the sinusitis and may include simple analgesics, antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants, or corticosteroids.

Medication overuse headache

A medication overuse headache is caused by excessive use of analgesic medications. This is usually a dull aching pain that is experienced by patients who have a history of relying on high doses of painkiller medications on a regular basis.

This type of headache can be managed by having a medication-free period to allow the excess medication to be excreted from the body. Although this may initially worsen the headache, the symptoms tend to improve within a few days.

Hormonal headache

Hormonal headaches predominantly affect women, as they often occur in relation to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, or hormonal medications.

Lifestyle changes are useful to address the pain of hormonal headaches. These changes can include ensuring adequate sleep, eating regular meals, and keeping stress levels low. Simple analgesic medications are usually able to provide effective relief.


Further Reading

Cluster Headache in Adults: Condition, Treatments, and Pictures – Overview


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Images of Cluster Headache


Cluster headache is considered a primary headache syndrome, one of a group of headaches with distinctly different features compared to other common headache syndromes (eg, tension headache and migraine). The hallmarks of cluster headaches are their occurrence in clusters with quiet periods between clusters and their severity.

Immediately seek medical attention if you or someone you are caring for experiences any of the following:

  • Stiff neck and a high fever associated with headache
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache
  • Loss of motor function, the ability to think clearly, or convulsions associated with headache
  • Head injury
  • Increased intensity and/or frequency of headaches

Who’s at risk?

Cluster headache is more common in men. People with cluster headache are also more likely to have had stomach ulcers and head injury. The great majority of cluster headache sufferers are smokers, and many have used alcohol for long periods of time.

Signs and Symptoms

Cluster headache involves frequent attacks of severe, short-lasting, one-sided head pain. The pain is usually most intense behind or around the eye, but it is sometimes reported in the back of the head. Sometimes the pain will shift sides between attacks. Other symptoms that are prominent include tears from that eye (most common), reddening of the eyes, stuffy nose, runny nose, a small pupil on the side of the headache, and drooping of the eyelid on that side. People may be very sensitive to light and sound with cluster headache.

Pain attacks characteristically come in “clusters,” in which groups of headaches last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Three out of four of all cluster headaches last under an hour. The headaches take place 1–3 times a day. A cluster period, or cycle, is a period of time during which a person is having daily cluster headaches. Cluster cycles generally last from 2–12 weeks, with most patients having 1–2 cluster cycles per year. Most patients are symptom-free between cycles. These asymptomatic periods generally last 6 months to 2 years before a cluster period recurs.

Remarkably, cluster cycles can occur at the same time of year for consecutive years for an individual, and daily cluster headaches have a tendency to occur at specific times of the day. Headaches are particularly common between 1:00–2:00 AM, 1:00–3:00 PM, and after 9:00 PM. Cluster headaches also have a tendency to occur during the first period of very deep REM sleep, such that people awaken with a severe headache 60–90 minutes after going to sleep.

Cluster headache is always severe. While migraine sufferers prefer to lie still in dark, quiet rooms, those who suffer from cluster headaches may writhe or scream in pain, strike walls or other objects with their heads, and find it extremely difficult to sit still.

Self-Care Guidelines

Common pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are not effective for cluster headache. Keeping a headache diary, looking for possible triggers for the clusters, and taking part in stress reduction or relaxation training are all reasonable self-care activities.

When to Seek Medical Care

All cluster headaches require treatment. Cluster headache is frequently misdiagnosed as migraine because of the one-sided head pain and frequent light and sound sensitivity. If you suspect your headaches have additional features similar to the above description, contact your doctor.

Always contact your doctor in the following situations:

  • You develop new symptoms not typical of prior headaches.
  • A particularly severe headache occurs.
  • Alteration or loss of consciousness occurs.
  • Headache persists longer than 3–4 days.
  • Current therapies/treatments are not working.
  • Fever and neck pain or stiffness are present.
  • Headache symptoms interfere with activities of daily living (eg, eating, bathing, working, etc).

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

Three types of treatment are used:

  • Medications meant to stop a headache, known as abortive medications, that has recently started.
  • Preventative medications, meant to reduce the likelihood of additional headaches within a cluster period.
  • Transitional therapy, to lessen symptoms while preventative medications are gaining efficacy.

The best abortive medication is subcutaneous sumatriptan, a drug often used for termination of migraine headaches. Inhaled sumatriptan is also effective, but it is less so than the form injected under the skin. Oral zolmitriptan, another member of this medicine class, can be used for people who cannot tolerate injection. Inhaled 100% pure oxygen will reliably terminate a cluster attack, although some people find the headache will start again once the oxygen is stopped. Oxygen is very favorable because it can be used numerous times daily for weeks at a time without side effects. This is in contrast to the triptans (above), which may result in chronic headache with repetitive use even over short periods of time. Older agents such as ergot derivatives have also proven useful to stop cluster headaches.

Preventative medications include verapamil, a medication also used for migraines and high blood pressure, lithium (often used for mood stabilization), valproic acid or topiramate (both used for seizures), and melatonin. These drugs are used only during a cluster cycle and are tapered off when a cluster period seems to be over. There is no evidence that taking these agents continuously between cluster cycles will prevent onset of future cycles.

In some cases, much higher doses of these medications are necessary in comparison to their use for other medical conditions. Ask your doctor to review the dose-dependent side effects if escalating doses are necessary. For example, doses of verapamil above 480 milligrams require EKG (electrocardiogram) monitoring of the heart with each change in dosing. This is to assess for possibly excessive interference with the electrical conduction of the heart. Furthermore, more than one preventative medication may be necessary to get attacks under control.

Because it may take weeks for preventative medications to achieve sufficient blood levels, corticosteroids, ergot derivatives given intravenously (eg, dihydroergotamine), longer-lasting triptans (eg, naratriptan), and nerve blockade (ie, injection of anesthetic and steroid into a nerve near the base of the skull) can be used to relive symptoms in the interim. These medications are given for 7–14 days while a preventative medication is being instituted and titrated to appropriate doses.

Rarely, surgical treatments are prescribed if medical options have been exhausted. These techniques involve damage to nerves that supply sensation to the face and less commonly the nerves that precipitate watery eyes / runny nose / congestion symptoms. While some patients are pain free for long periods of time, return of pain, painful numbness, and extensive numbness of the face and eye are all possible. Newer techniques are experimenting with electrode implantation in a deep part of the brain, the hypothalamus, a location that might initiate or modulate the regularity of the attacks. These options will be discussed by your doctor only after extensive medication trials are undertaken.

90,000 9 types of headaches behind which health problems are hidden

The World Health Organization claims that from 50 to 75% of the adult population of the world suffers from headaches. Many do not pay attention to her. The pain is different: more or less intense, pulsating, pressing, acute or dull, and its focus can be localized in different parts of the head. It can be an independent disease or one of the symptoms – then it is called secondary.

AdMe.Common crawl en found out what a secondary headache can talk about and in what cases it is worth immediately contacting a specialist.

1. Encephalitis

With encephalitis, inflammatory processes develop in the brain. We are used to thinking that this disease occurs only due to a tick bite, which means that it is enough just to follow safety rules in the warm season: to be vaccinated and be careful in the forest. However, this is not entirely true.

The causative agent of encephalitis can be, for example, herpes viruses, some types of microbes and even vaccination (in rare cases).The disease has a whole group of symptoms: general inflammatory reactions of the body, focal (depending on the affected area of ​​the brain) and cerebral. You should be wary if you have noticed signs from each group, for example, along with a headache, you have a fever, an upset gastrointestinal tract, a violation of muscle tone and sensitivity.

2. Effects of tyramine

Tyramine is a toxin that can cause migraines. It is found in foods such as bananas, bacon, ham, avocados, and odorous cheeses.Do you like to eat Gorgonzola, Gruyere or Roquefort and often suffer from migraines? These foods may be making your pain worse. Try to reduce the amount in your diet and watch for changes.

3. Meningitis

The head hurts with varying degrees of intensity in a person with almost all infectious diseases. But with meningitis, this is one of the main indicators. It develops quickly, the temperature rises to 40 degrees and above, practically does not go astray.It can appear 2-3 days before the onset of other symptoms, at which time the disease resembles a common cold.

Another symptom is vomiting, which does not give relief, and it is not preceded by nausea. A stiff neck also indicates meningitis: the patient cannot reach the chest with the chin. In addition, he experiences dizziness, drowsiness and fear of light. Meningitis is treated with intravenous antibiotics, so early diagnosis is critical.

4.Temporal or giant cell arteritis

With this inflammation, granulomas form in the medium and large arteries, which spread to the vessel wall, as a result of which they become edematous. The lumen of the artery narrows, blood flow is impaired, and oxygen and nutrients are delivered more slowly. Arteries in the temporal region are often affected, and the headache is felt on one side. Typically, temporal arteritis occurs after 50 years of age, while women predominate in the risk group.

In order to recognize temporal arteritis in time and seek help from a doctor, remember a few of its symptoms.While chewing, pain appears in the area of ​​the lower jaw, in the morning there is a strong tension in the arms, hips or neck, the weight goes away for no apparent reason. The headache is localized in the scalp – discomfort occurs even with a light touch or when trying to lie on a pillow.

5. Glaucoma

In glaucoma, intraocular pressure is increased (constantly or intermittently), and the optic nerve atrophies. If left untreated, it can even lead to blindness.The disease is often accompanied by a headache, which is localized in the area of ​​the eyeballs, in the temples, and photophobia appears. Other symptoms include nausea, fever, and double vision.

Don’t panic: your eyeballs can hurt when you get a cold, an infection in your eyes, or when you get tired as usual – perhaps you just worked at the computer for too long. To allay suspicions, see your doctor and have your eyesight checked.

6. Heredity

The cause of headaches can be bad heredity.If one of the parents had migraines, there is a considerable risk that this unpleasant disease will be passed on to the child. Did both parents suffer from migraines? Then the probability of inheriting it is twice as high. Find out if you have a predisposition for migraines by talking to your older family members.

7. Intracranial hypertension

This rare disease is sometimes called cerebellar pseudotumor. It is indicated by an increase in intracranial pressure in combination with a headache and blurred vision.Nausea may appear at times. Most often, hypertension affects women of childbearing age who are overweight or even obese.

Treatment is aimed at reducing intracranial pressure and preventing vision loss, including medication and sometimes brain surgery. Doctors recommend that a woman think about if she is overweight, while she feels a headache every day.

8. Effect of benzyl alcohol

This substance is found, for example, in perfumes and air fresheners, along with other synthetic compounds.Benzyl alcohol provokes headaches. If you are sensitive to odors, try to scent a little less than usual. The pain is likely to occur less frequently.

9. Drug overdose

The pain is chronic and daily. Added to this symptom is vomiting, heart palpitations, anxiety and nervousness. This condition can cause uncontrolled use of painkillers: the effect of the drug stops, the pain returns, the patient takes a larger dose of the drug.

Medicines containing codeine and caffeine are especially dangerous in this case: in many countries they are dispensed without a prescription. The result is this: the medicine no longer works, and the side effects are felt.

Headache is not always indicative of a serious illness. However, if you have noticed several symptoms at the same time, do not self-medicate, but consult a specialist as soon as possible.

Types of headaches – origins and types of meme

Types of headaches (Types of headaches) – a meme that schematically depicts parts of the head and types of ailments.Expresses the extreme degree of irritation from a particular problem.


The meme consists of four drawings of a human head, on each of which areas are highlighted in red, which hurt with one or another ailment. The first three pictures are standard, they depict migraines, hypertension and stress. The latter shows the head completely covered with a red zone, which represents the most severe headache.

For the first time, such memes began to spread in Spanish-speaking social networks.One of the first mentions can be considered the publication of the template on the Plantillas Para Memes Facebook page on October 26. The next day, the meme was already circulating on Twitter, and on October 29 it appeared on the popular Spanish website Quanto Cabron. It was probably borrowed from there by English-speaking users. On November 2, the meme reached Runet – large entertainment pubs began to publish it in an adapted version.

The picture itself, which became a template for a meme, has been used on the Internet for many years to illustrate articles on headaches.

The development of the meme did not stop there. Users remembered other types of pain and made new pictures based on the original template.


The “Types of headache” meme exaggerates human problems and various irritants. Often we have a headache from some obsessive thought, and it seems that this pain is concentrated not in a specific point, but throughout the entire skull. Therefore, the meme expresses well in an ironic form the degree of ailment from something vital.

In addition, the meme can be considered a visualization of the famous expression “You are my headache”. In this case, not a phenomenon, but a person becomes the cause of discontent, and the comparison with pain is metaphorical here and is synonymous with inconvenience.


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90,000 Main types and causes of headache

Nowadays, you rarely meet a person who is not familiar with one or another manifestations of headache. It has many varieties, and each one informs you about a malfunction in the body, therefore neurologists say that you cannot endure a headache or constantly use painkillers. Any pain, including headache, is based on a disease.

Headache is a symptom, in other words, an alarm signal, which is why an experienced doctor at the Semeynaya clinic will recommend not to eliminate the headache pointwise, but to undergo an examination and find the cause of the headache, and hence the disease itself.Modern medicine has learned how to effectively deal with almost all types of headaches. Most often, patients complain about:

  • tight pain in the temples,
  • many are familiar with the pain of high blood pressure,
  • holders of osteochondrosis know how the neck and head hurt during exacerbation of this disease,
  • Migraines often plague both the young and the elderly.

In all cases, not knowing the nature of the onset of pain, and using the wrong drugs, you can only aggravate it and worsen the situation with the underlying disease causing the headache.When visiting a doctor with complaints of headache, he will definitely ask you to describe the pain in detail: “Where and how does the head hurt?” Let’s try to figure out the main 90,079 types and causes of headaches.

Tension headache

A feeling of spreading, dull, monotonous pain that starts from the back of the head and neck, flows smoothly to the front of the head, to the temples, maybe from one or both sides. In rare cases, it is accompanied by dizziness or nausea, reminiscent of tightening the head with a tight cap or ribbon.

What is the danger of not paying attention to such a headache?

This kind of tension headache indicates a strong tension in the muscles of the scalp and neck and appears as a result of severe mental stress or deep nervous exhaustion. People who experience such a headache usually do not seek help from doctors, but the frequent use of painkillers can in this case lead to an increase in pain sensitivity and an increase in the occurrence of pain.

How is a tension headache treated?

This type of pain has long been known to doctors and can be successfully treated. After establishing the diagnosis, the doctor, depending on the severity and neglect of the disease, may prescribe the use of NSAIDs, muscle relaxants according to indications, vitamin preparations, a course of exercise therapy or some type of reflexology may be needed. You may need to consult a psychotherapist to get rid of depression, the doctor will conduct psychoanalysis, work out internal and external conflicts, or prescribe medication.Having carried out a complex of therapeutic measures, you can get rid of diseases that cause headache.

Cervical osteochondrosis and headache

Headache caused by cervical osteochondrosis, is characterized as severe pain starting from the back of the head in the neck, and is often accompanied by nausea and dizziness. It is provoked by a sharp movement of the neck, colds, air conditioners in the summer, improper position of the head and body during sleep. There is muscle tension, spasm, which, in turn, increases pain – the so-called “vicious circle of pain.”

If osteochondrosis is not treated

With systematic pain caused by cervical osteochondrosis, symptoms of vascular insufficiency, hearing loss, vision loss, and tinnitus may appear. Due to frequent exacerbations, the patient develops mental discomfort, anxiety, depression, sleep may be disturbed and psychogenic sexual disorders appear.

Treatment of headache in osteochondrosis

Violation of cerebral blood flow in osteochondrosis is restored with the help of specially selected drug therapy.Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are prescribed. In parallel, physiotherapy, manual therapy and other methods of reflexology are used.

Blood pressure and headache

A decrease or increase in blood pressure relative to the norm is almost always accompanied by headaches of varying intensity in the forehead, temples or occiput. Blood pressure surges can be triggered by stress, overwork, or weather changes.Sharp changes in blood pressure and the accompanying headache are symptoms of many diseases, so you should not neglect the headache and suppress it with anesthetic drugs without the appointment of specialists. The causes of the appearance of diseases associated with pressure can be disturbances in the functioning of the heart, thyroid gland, kidneys, and adrenal glands. As a consequence, neglecting these conditions can lead to loss of consciousness, an increased risk of falls and thus injury, and the possibility of stroke.

Treatment of headache with changes in pressure

Increase or decrease in blood pressure – serious diseases that require long-term observation and treatment. After establishing the underlying cause of the disease, the doctor prescribes a course of treatment, which consists of individually selected drug therapy. When selecting medications, the doctor will study the patient’s entire medical history and take into account other diseases, if any, as well as the nature of the pressure deviations.Only then will the drugs be prescribed. An experienced specialist, when prescribing a course of treatment, will instruct you on how to correctly relieve severe pain and hypertensive crises before the arrival of an ambulance.

Increased intracranial pressure and headache

Headache with increased intracranial pressure is described as monotonous, dull, pressing on the entire head. Often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, pain around the eyes. This kind of headache often appears and intensifies immediately after waking up, irritants can be bright light and loud sounds, a sharp change in weather, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, salty and fatty foods, as well as overeating before bedtime, unexpected physical activity, fatigue.

How there is an increase in intracranial pressure

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which fills the internal and external cavities of the brain, protects the brain from mechanical stress and affects metabolic processes, constantly circulates between the parts of the brain. In the case of insufficient absorption or increased fluid release, there is a violation of the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which leads to an increase in intracranial pressure, and it manifests itself in severe headaches.The causes may be craniocerebral trauma, inflammatory diseases, anomalies in the structure of the cerebrospinal fluid pathways, as well as cervical vertebrae. Increased intracranial pressure for a long time leads to a deterioration in the functioning of the brain and autonomic nervous system. Manifestations can be in the form of hearing loss, vision, memory and attention, mental disorders in the form of depression and sleep disturbances.

Treatment of headaches with increased intracranial pressure

In the treatment of headaches, venotonic drugs, special gymnastics and manual therapy are successfully used to improve the venous outflow from the skull and reduce intracranial pressure.

What is migraine

To migraine is often referred to as one-sided, episodic, pulsating pain, it can be provoked by bright light, loud sounds, overwork, vasodilators, taking certain foods, such as chocolate, spices, some types of cheese, smoked meats and some types of wines. The causes of this type of headache are not fully understood, but it is based on irritation of the peripheral nervous system in the head and neck region, after which there is a sharp narrowing of one of the cerebral arteries, and then a sharp expansion, at this moment pulsating pain occurs.Statistics show that women are much more likely to suffer from migraines. By the way, frequent seizures lead to depression.

Migraine treatment

With the exact setting of causes of migraine, patients can be sent for treatment to different specialists. It is important to correctly establish the cause of the migraine, because if inflammation has arisen in the nasal cavity and throat, then an otolaryngologist will come to the rescue, if cervical osteochondrosis has become the cause, then most likely the help of a chiropractor and an exercise therapy doctor is needed.The attending physician will advise on the correct diet and methods for eliminating acute pain in the event of a migraine attack.

In this article we have highlighted only a few of the most common types of headache , but in fact, headache can signal many other diseases, so if headaches become more frequent, consult a neurologist or at least a physician at the Family clinic in Ryazan for the initial diagnosis and treatment initiation.

Types of headaches – symptoms, how to get rid of a headache

Headache can be severe, dull, throbbing, aching, and the like.It has different causes and consequences, so there cannot be a universal pill.

Headache is primary (cluster pain and migraines) and secondary, that is, as a consequence of other conditions – notes Ulyana Suprun. The ex-head of the Ministry of Health listed the main types of pain.

See also: Why pain occurs without disease and how to treat it


In 98% of cases, migraine is when the pain lasts more than fifteen days, a person has nausea and photophobia.

During a migraine, either the whole head or a certain part hurts. Often, before a migraine, there is a prodrome (a pre-existing state) and a postdrome (coming to life).

Pain due to high pressure

It appears in the morning and then disappears. In this case, the pressure is 200/110, and it is necessary to take medications to lower the pressure.

Most people in Ukraine are not aware of their high blood pressure problem, since hypertension is asymptomatic. And some people may not have a headache and still have high blood pressure.

Headache is primary and secondary

Pain due to stress

This is the most common type of pain. It is felt from all sides. Compared to migraines and cluster pain, it is not too severe.

Pain due to exertion – symptoms

  • blunt,
  • does not pulsate,
  • does not grow,
  • often double-sided,
  • tight neck,
  • the forehead and back of the head hurt.

Pain due to tension often accompanies emotional stress or depression that the patient is unaware of.

How to treat : Take a rest, take acetylsalicylic acid, caffeine, ibuprofen, ice packs, and, if necessary, stronger pain relievers, antidepressants or psychotherapy. Benzodiazepines and beta blockers are contraindicated in this case.

This can be prevented with the help of the ability to relax and walk away from things, as well as avoid the triggers of this pain.

Cervicogenic pain (neck pain)

If the back of the head hurts, then it is probably a secondary headache due to a condition of the neck, the so-called cervicogenic pain (cervix is ​​the neck). The pain can be caused by very high blood pressure, an infectious disease, or an injury to the neck.

This type of pain occurs in people who keep their head tilted: hairdressers, drivers, and the like. It appears due to a whiplash injury (when the car stops abruptly, but the passenger’s neck and head move by inertia like a whip).

Ulyana Suprun

“Headache due to a condition of the neck can have different causes and should be treated. If left unattended, it can result in limited ability to move. Treatment may require non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, acetylsalicylic acid), physiotherapy, nerve blocks or surgical interventions.

Cluster headache

Occurs in one place, and is very strong.People with cluster pain may experience tearing of the eyes on the side where it hurts, swelling in the nose, and sweating.

This type of pain is most often felt by men 20-50 years old who consume a lot of alcohol or smoke a lot. The pains are not long-lasting, but they are cyclical (occur at a certain time of the day or time of the year).

How to treat: oxygen masks, or sumatriptan preparations and local pain relievers. There are also drugs to prevent pain (verapamil, prednisolone, lithium).

It is impossible to protect yourself from this type of pain: you need to quit smoking and not drink alcohol.

Types of headaches


Aneurysm – what is it?

This is a condition when a cerebral vessel dilates strongly, which can lead to hemorrhage and stroke. People can have a congenital tendency to aneurysm, or very high blood pressure provokes it.

Therefore, it is ineffective to treat aneurysm headache; it is necessary to treat the aneurysm itself or hypertension.

Hemiplegic migraine

This type of pain is predominantly hereditary rather than sporadic (non-hereditary).

Often hemiplegic migraine looks like a stroke, because there is one-sided lesion of the face or hands, and severe nausea, but there is an “aura”, photophobia, sensitivity to sounds, and there were precursors (prodrome), as in the case of migraine,
– explains ex-head of the Ministry of Health.

How to treat: The doctor may prescribe topiramate, valproic acid, and calcium channel blockers.Triptans, effective in the case of cluster pain, will cause severe complications. This type of headache is treated by a neurologist.

Giant cell arteritis

It predominantly occurs in people over 50 years of age. The pain leads to inflammation in the arteries and is often localized to the ear, and is aggravated by chewing.

With this type of pain, people lose weight (because they do not want to eat) and their vision deteriorates.

Treatment consists in the establishment of an accurate diagnosis by the doctor and the treatment itself.

Headache: Treatment

Allergy pain

A person with an allergy hurts everything, his eyes are watery, and his nose is stuffy. Often occurs during seasonal allergens such as pollen or mold.

How to treat : Take antihistamines or cortisone nasal sprays, not aspirin.

Headache due to lack of coffee

Yes, people who drank coffee and gave it up for a few days may experience withdrawal symptoms.In this case, the vessels expand.

To protect yourself from this, you should not consume large quantities of coffee, even before deadlines.

Headache due to eye strain

Occurs in both eyes at once due to imbalance in the work of the eye muscles, visual impairment or due to astigmatism. In this case, it is necessary to correct vision, that is, go to an ophthalmologist.

Cold and pain

Ulyana Suprun

“During inflammation, interleukins are released – substances that communicate between cells of the immune system and blood vessels.The vessels expand and change their permeability, so the head hurts. In the case of sinusitis, the pain radiates from the nose and around the maxillary sinuses. ”

Anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen and treatment of the infection itself will help.

Hangover headache

After drinking alcohol, the vessels dilate, so the blood vessels in the brain cause pain.

How to treat: Drink plenty of electrolyte-rich liquids such as soup or fructose (honey or tomato juice).In this case, coffee is not always effective.

Why there is a headache

Hunger pain

Occurs when you have lunch scheduled and still have some work to do, or a late dinner. Most often this happens in people who exercise a lot. The reason is low blood glucose levels and muscle tension.

How to treat : follow the diet, the diet should contain a sufficient amount of proteins and complex carbohydrates.

It is not pain that needs to be treated – as a symptom, but its cause. Therefore, if you notice 90,079 alarms for headache – consult your doctor.

For more news related to treatment, medicine, nutrition, healthy lifestyle and much more, see section Health .

5 types of headaches and how to live with it

We all have headaches from time to time, and each has its own way. Different types of headaches can tell interesting things about your health, so we interviewed experts to find out how the different types of headaches differ from each other.

TYPE No. 1. Tension headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. During this state, a person feels squeezing and dull discomfort in the head area. If you are tense, have not slept for a long time, or are hungry, you may experience tension headaches. It is generally accepted that 30 to 80% of people have experienced an episode of this type of pain at least once in their life.

In this case, it is best not to resort to a drug-based solution to the problem, but to lie down in a dark and quiet room or put a heating pad with warm water on your forehead.If these headaches are regular, see your doctor. It will help you understand what factors can contribute to the onset of the illness, for example, a poor lifestyle or increased stress levels.

TYPE No. 2. Headache in the back of the head or neck

Doctors warn that poor posture, which puts stress on the neck, resulting in increased general wear and tear of the upper spine, can lead to headaches along with discomfort in the neck.

It is not medication that will help to cope with this ailment, but posture correction, physiotherapy and special exercises for the neck. It becomes clear that it is not worth waiting for a positive result right away, only regular health care will help get rid of this type of headache.

VIEW No. 3. Headache with dehydration

When you are dehydrated, your brain begins to contract as a result of not getting enough fluid, which can lead to headaches, doctors say.Usually, in this case, pain occurs in the front or back of the head (in combination) or only in the back of the head. Of course, pain relievers can relieve pain, but the first step to getting better is getting enough drinking water.

At the same time, there is no need to drink a huge amount of liquid at once, it is best to start with small sips, and then gradually drink more. The headache should go away within a few hours, but if it doesn’t, you may have drank too much coffee or were very tense before.Then you can take pain medication.

VIEW No. 4. Migraine

According to The Migraine Trust, which researches migraine, almost 15% of the world’s population suffers from this type of headache, which is the third most common disease in the world. Moreover, it is incorrect to compare the usual tension headache and migraine. With a migraine, a person experiences not only a throbbing pain on one side of the head, it can intensify during movement and lead to nausea and sensitivity from light and sounds.

So how can these terrible headaches be treated? Unfortunately, no cure for migraine has yet been invented, but there are ways to deal with the symptoms. For example, it is best to rest in a quiet and dark room, apply a cold bandage to the place of pain, or, conversely, a hot heating pad, it helps someone. And don’t forget that migraines can be triggered by alcohol, stress, fatigue, or certain foods. To reduce the risk of migraines, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid skipping meals.

VIEW No. 5. Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are a pronounced pain syndrome on the walls of the skull that occurs spontaneously and irregularly. The intensity of the pain is so great that it can lead to attempts at suicide in order to get rid of the pain. This headache occurs in series, or clusters, hence the name of the syndrome. The attacks happen several times a day for a number of weeks or even months.

Most often, this pain is felt on one side of the head, usually around the eyes or temple, causing the head of a person to become red and watery, with drooping or swollen eyelids, a runny nose appears on the same side as the pain.Although doctors do not fully understand the causes of these headaches, it is widely believed that they can be associated with old head injuries, as well as smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

90,000 7 types of headaches: how they differ and what they talk about | Healthy life | Health

In the meantime, headaches can become chronic and significantly spoil your life. Which headache indicates a serious illness? And what is the disease itself? Let’s try to figure out how to distinguish between headaches and how to treat them.

Tension pain

This is the most common type of headache in the world – each of us has experienced it at least once in our lives. They are not repeated often, they acquire a chronic form in 3% of cases.

Features . Feels like pressure or tightness around the top of the head. The muscles in your forehead and eye sockets may seem too tense, but you cannot relax them. The duration of such pains varies from half an hour to a week, the intensity usually increases in the evening.

Possible causes . Tension pain can be associated with excessive stress or injury to the muscles of the head and neck. However, when diagnosed, the source of pain is usually “undefined.”

How to treat . Since pain is rarely regular, simple pain relievers like ibuprofen or paracetamol are the best remedies for pain. If the pain does not go away for more than a week, you can try to do light physical education, regularly stretch your shoulders and neck, and be outdoors more in order to neutralize stress.Chronic tension pains are treated with medication as prescribed by a physician.


Features . Migraine is a recurrent pain on one side of the head that lasts about 4 hours or longer. Typically, migraine episodes recur and can lead to dizziness, nausea, and photophobia (photophobia). Sometimes, before the onset of an attack, patients experience visual abnormalities – they see bright colored rings and stripes – or feel a slight tingling sensation throughout the body.

Possible causes .The mechanism of migraine headaches has long been a subject of controversy in scientific circles. Now doctors are sure that this is definitely not a mental illness. It is associated with a dysfunction of the brain, but with what, it is not known for certain. It is noted that during the onset of pain, the blood vessels of the head greatly expand, and abnormal electrical activity occurs on the cerebral cortex.

How to treat . Approximately 20% of people suffering from migraines experience pain after a certain external influence – a pungent smell, a loud monotonous sound, cigarette smoke, etc.e. Doctors simply advise such patients to avoid “risk factors”, while the rest are left to take medications as prescribed (triptans are most effective, but they act almost like a drug – the more you drink, the worse it cures). Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely cure migraines, and simple painkillers are almost impossible to help.

Cluster pain

These pains affect approximately 1% of the total population of the planet, and in 80% of cases they are men.

Features .This is intense throbbing pain on one side of the head, usually in the front of the head, near the eye. It lasts from 15 minutes to an hour and is accompanied by redness of the eyes, tearing, runny nose, rush of blood to the head. It usually occurs at the same time of the day with regular time intervals – once a week, a month, two, and so on. Sometimes it reaches such an acuteness that a person cannot not only function normally – even move and talk.

Possible causes .Unknown.

How to treat . This type of pain is difficult to treat because it occurs sporadically and can disappear as unpredictably as it appeared. For prolonged seizures, oxygen therapy is used (the patient breathes through a mask) and medicinal injections as prescribed by the doctor.


Features . Are obvious.

Possible causes . There are many conjectures about exactly how alcohol contributes to the onset of headaches.One of them says that alcohol dilates the vessels of the brain and disrupts the work of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a substance through which electrical signals are transmitted from one nerve cell to another. Both of these symptoms are observed with migraine pains. In addition, alcohol dries out the body, and dehydration is also known to trigger migraine attacks.

How to treat . The best remedy is a paracetamol tablet and good sleep. But you shouldn’t be joking about a hangover.If your head hurts even after a small dose of alcohol, it is possible that you are suffering from migraines, and alcohol simply pushes the attacks.

Brain tumor

Hypochondriacs and simply worried patients often associate headaches with brain cancer. We hasten to reassure you: in fact, only 4% of tumor formations appear in this way.

Features . If the pain is still associated with a tumor, it usually appears in the morning and is accompanied by vomiting.The episodes are repeated periodically and get worse and worse over time. If, against this background, there is a sharp weight loss, personality changes and seizures, this is a reason to undergo a brain examination.

Possible causes . When a tumor grows to a certain size, an increase in brain volume leads to an increase in intracranial pressure. Hence the initial symptoms.

How to treat . Depends on the location, size and type of education.

Intracranial bleeding

Having received an injury to the head vessels, a person may not immediately understand this. Sometimes hemorrhage appears several hours after the rupture of the vessel, but it is potentially very dangerous.

Features . Sudden, growing pain anywhere in the head. It is accompanied by visual impairments, speech skills, coordination, personality disorders, nausea. Symptoms come on in turns and get worse over time. Eventually, the person may lose consciousness.

Possible reasons . The rupture of the vessel can occur as a result of injury (strong blow) or due to excessive thinning of its walls.

How to treat . First of all, the doctor will need to remove the accumulated blood from the cranium, since the hematoma will press on the brain, damaging it. Then it is extremely important to find out the cause of the hemorrhage: if it was not preceded by an obvious trauma, the ruptures may recur. Such patients need an examination of the vessels of the brain.

Temporal arteritis

The disease usually occurs in people 50 and older and without treatment can lead to complete blindness.

Features . Severe headaches occur with weight loss, insomnia, depression, sometimes fever and redness of the scalp. The shoulder and neck can also hurt.

Possible causes . Many different factors can push the disease, including viral infections. A strong attack on the immune system causes it to malfunction and causes the immune system to attack the walls of the blood vessels.Other “provocateurs” of arteritis include uncontrolled medication, intense exposure to sunlight, alcoholism, hypothermia and various injuries.

How to treat . The most commonly used steroid medication is to stop the inflammation of the blood vessels. If you have concomitant vision problems (for example, lens opacity), an ophthalmologist should be treated.

See also:

90,000 When to Worry? Neurologist – about the causes of headaches | HEALTH

Probably everyone has a headache at least once a year.This is the most common cause of feeling unwell. According to medical statistics, about 90% of the population regularly suffer from headaches. But patients are not often in a hurry to seek medical help in this case, preferring to numb the pain with pain pills. But a headache is only a symptom that accompanies various diseases. Therefore, any headache that lasts at least some time requires examination and consultation with a doctor. You can not engage in self-diagnosis and self-medication.This can lead to serious health problems.

Why headaches, what types of headaches happen, how to determine the cause of an alarming symptom and cope with it, Svetlana Gabarova, a neurologist of the federal network of ILC medical centers, told .

Why does the head hurt?

Irina Solovyova, AiF-Yug: It is believed that a headache does not just happen. It can be a symptom of various diseases. What ailments can frequent headaches indicate?

Svetlana Gabarova: In fact, headache can be the leading and sometimes the only complaint in more than 40 different diseases:

  • with high blood pressure;
  • for low blood pressure;
  • for renal and endocrine pathology;
  • for poisoning, infectious diseases;
  • for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, head and neck injuries;
  • neuroses, depressive states;
  • for diseases of the nervous system, diseases of the ENT organs, eye, etc.d.

According to Svetlana Gabarova, the most common forms of headache are tension headaches (70%) and migraines (25%). And only 5% of all possible causes of headaches are associated with organic lesions of the nervous system.

“Since there are many reasons for the appearance of headaches, therefore, the symptoms can be very diverse,” the doctor explains.

Photo: Courtesy of Advertiser

Some of the headaches

Tension headache : It is caused by tension in the muscles of the head and neck.It feels like a generalized dull pain, as if the head is in a vice. It is not associated with any latent disease. They can be episodic or chronic.

Reasons: fatigue, prolonged forced position in an uncomfortable position, stress, depression, anxiety disorders, prolonged use of analgesics, tranquilizers.

Hypertensive headache : Usually occurs in people with high blood pressure. It is stronger in the morning, calms down during the day.Most often, the pain is pressing and continuous. During a pressure surge, discomfort is localized in the back of the head. Symptoms often extend to the forehead and temples.

“Why is a headache dangerous in hypertension? It may indicate a heart attack and stroke, which today are the leading causes of mortality in the population, ”says the neurologist.

Migraine : characterized by periodic or regular attacks of headache on one side (right or left), rarely bilateral.Attacks can occur with a frequency of 1-2 times a year to several times a week or month.

It has been proven that there is a hereditary predisposition to migraine.

Migraine is characterized by paroxysmal headaches, which are divided from several hours to 3 days. The headache is pulsating in nature, it can be moderate or severe, reducing daily activity and worse with little physical exertion. Nausea, vomiting, photophobia (photophobia), fear of loud noise (phonophobia) can join it.

Cluster headache (Horton’s migraine) is a pronounced series of attacks of pain syndrome in a limited period of time (from several weeks to several months) followed by long-term remission (also from several weeks to several months). The painful sensations are so strong that sometimes they can lead to suicide attempts, just to get rid of the unbearable pain.

Photo: Courtesy of Advertiser

Why can’t you have a headache?

– Headache is a common occurrence in the majority of the population.What if the problem occurs more and more often?

– Unfortunately, patients often prefer not to go to a neurologist, but simply take painkillers. Sometimes they do not do this either, they wait until it passes by itself. But this entails a lot of unpleasant consequences. The fact is that at such a moment the body undergoes severe stress due to excessive stress on the vessels and the system as a whole and can provoke an increase in adrenaline in the blood, an increase in heart rate, vascular spasms, an increase in blood pressure, fainting, a stroke, a severe pain attack. Headache can also be a harbinger of a dangerous health condition. Spasm can affect the development of physiological changes at the cellular level, provoke cardiovascular diseases, psychiatric disorders.

About 90% of patients report signs of aggression towards loved ones and those around them. Increasing irritation leads to an even greater increase in head pain. Aggression is often a trigger for the development of new pathologies and exacerbation of chronic diseases.It is important to pay attention to a headache, since a symptom may indicate tumors, poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, helminthiasis, inflammation and other ailments.

How to determine the cause?

That is why it is necessary to determine the cause of headaches at an early stage as quickly and accurately as possible. Therefore, you need to see a doctor and conduct an examination.

Before starting the examination, the doctor asks the patient in detail about the nature of the pain in the head and, based on these data, prescribes a diagnosis.Most often used for making an accurate diagnosis:

  • MRI – used to diagnose tumors, chronic and acute disorders of cerebral circulation, the consequences of stroke, sinusitis, hernias, etc.;
  • Doppler ultrasonography of the great vessels of the head and neck (CDC BCS) – a study of the patency of the arteries;
  • electroencephalography (EEG) allows to judge the state and functioning of the brain as a whole, to reveal vascular lesions, indirect signs of a tumor, hematoma;
  • electromyography (EMG) – for the diagnosis of diseases of the neuromuscular system, nerve damage.

At the ILC you can undergo the No Headache MRI complex with a 20% discount, which includes three examinations at once: MRI of the brain, MRI of the arteries of the brain and MRI of the cervical spine. This program was developed taking into account the most frequent appointments of our neurologists, for whom these studies are decisive and help to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment.

More details about the organizer of the action, about the rules of its holding, terms, place and order of their receipt – by phone / on the website.The number of offers is limited.

Multidisciplinary Medical Center “MLC”

  • Krasnodar, st. North, 445
  • Tel .: +7 (861) 298-30-33.

We work seven days a week!

License LO-23-01-013434 dated 04/02/19

There are contraindications. It is necessary to consult a specialist