Diseases and Disorders

Headache Types and Causes

Last updated on January 21st, 2023 at 11:55 am

What are the common headache types and causes? This article looks at the four most common types of headaches – facial, migraine, cluster and tension-type.

A headache is typically defined as an intense band of pain that starts in the front or back of the head. Headaches are caused by several factors, including stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, hunger, menstruation, and more. There are many effective treatments for headaches, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs.

There are many headaches that people can experience. The most common reason for getting a headache is muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw. Other causes could be dehydration, an allergic reaction, or too much caffeine.

Headaches are one of the most common ailments and there are many types and causes. Some of these causes include stress, lack of sleep, neck problems, sinus infection or allergies. There is no cure for a headache, but it can be managed with medicines, lifestyle changes or other methods.

Headache Types and Causes – What You Should Know

Headaches and migraines are one of the most common types of pains that patients can face. There are many of headaches that may afflict people, and there are several reasons that can be attributed as their cause.

Headache Types

Many people experience headaches at one point or another. There are many types of headaches, ranging from the occasional tension headache to debilitating migraine. Some are caused by environmental factors, others are triggered by physical activity, and others still are caused by emotional stress. The good news is that there are many treatments available for each type of headache that can help ease pain and discomfort.

Let’s look at some headaches types and their causes;

Facial Headaches

This is an ache, which is usually centered on the face, the crown, and the forehead. In this headache, movements of the head and face may also cause problems.

  • Causes: The major cause for facial headaches is sinusitis, a condition in which the cavities in the skull get blocked. Sinusitis may also happen because of a cold, as this has often been accompanied by a runny nose as well.
  • Treatments: The best treatment for this issue would be to treat the underlying condition, i.e. the cold or the blockages. Using the prescribed a variety of decongestants and inhalers can vastly improve the situation.


This is intense pain on one side of the head that can last for a few hours to a few days. Most of the pain is sometimes centered behind the eye, and many people report extreme sensitivity to light and sound. It can debilitate to some people who suffer from a severe form of it.

  • Causes: Migraines are one of the most complicated problems to diagnose and there can be a variety of reasons for it. Triggers may include food or lack of it and also be caused by other underlying physiological reasons.
  • Treatments: Although there are certain painkillers, which are available, it is best to consult a doctor to know the root cause and thus avoid the triggers or take medicines if necessary.

Tension Headaches

These headaches are induced by periods of stress, anxiety, anger and other mental distresses.

  • Causes: These headaches result from stress, which may cause a decrease in the blood flow to the brain because of the stiffening of the head and neck muscles.
  • Treatments: Over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help improve them, but it is better to consult a physician before undertaking self-medication.

Cluster Headaches

These are the most potent form of headaches that can be very painful. They usually originate as a piercing pain in the head with pressure on the eye and can even lead to eye inflammation and watery and droopy eyes.

  • Causes: Certain neural functions originating from the hypothalamus can cause this issue and this type of headache may be triggered by alcohol, smoking, or other forms of potent smells.
  • Treatments: Generic painkillers may not correct the issue quickly enough and this may require the administering of special injections or nasal sprays.

Headache Causes

Your headache symptoms can help your doctor determine its cause and the treatment. Most headaches aren’t the result of a serious illness, but some may result from a life-threatening condition requiring emergency care.

Headaches are classified by cause;

  • A primary headache is caused by overactivity of or problems with pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease. Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck (or some combination of these factors) can play a role in primary headaches. Some people may also carry genes that make them more likely to develop such headaches.
  • A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. Many conditions varying in severity may cause secondary headaches.

The location of your headache can tell you a lot about its potential causes and how to treat it. However, it’s important to remember that everyone experiences conditions in their own way. If your headache is severe, won’t respond to painkillers, or is accompanied by muscle weakness, vomiting, or confusion, then you should seek medical attention right away.

In case you have a concern with the above causes and types of headache or query you can always consult a doctor and get answers to your questions!

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