Types of Headaches

chronic headaches chronic pain headaches migraines sinus headaches types of headaches

Types of Headaches Simon Evans Physiotherapy
Headaches can be a problematic condition than what most people think about it. There are many types of headaches each of which has their own characterised set of symptoms. The emergence of headache is due to different reasons and different treatment approaches are tailored to each type of headaches.

When you know what type of headache you have, this will make it easier for both you and your doctor to procure a treatment that will most likely help you, and even try to stop it.

Here are some common types of headaches:

Tension Type Headaches

These are the most common type of headache which is prevalent among adults and adolescents. This type of headache result in mild to moderate pain and come and go as time goes on. They usually do not have any other symptoms.


Migraine is an intense headache often known by its pounding, throbbing pain. Migraine can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually occur one to four times a month. Apart from pain, affected individuals also have other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise or smell; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and abdominal pain among other symptoms. In children, common symptoms of migraine include pale, dizziness, blurred vision, fever, and stomach ache. A small number of migraines in children include digestive symptoms, such as vomiting, occurring approximately once a month.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are serious and recurrent headaches that are six times more likely to develop in men than in women. Common symptoms include intense burning or piercing pain behind or around the eye.

Some other symptoms may include watering eye, swollen eyelid, a blocked or a runny nose, sensitivity to light and sound and restlessness or agitation among others. Cluster headaches are usually unexpected, it occurs without any notice, and last between 15 minutes and 3 hours. People can be chronicled of eight cluster attacks in a day.

Chronic Daily Headaches

This type of headache usually occurs between 15 or more days a month for more than 3 months. Some are short while others last more than 4 hours. This is one of the four types of primary headaches:

  • Chronic migraine
  • Chronic tension headache
  • New daily persistent headache
  • Hemicrania Continua

 Allergy or Sinus Headaches

This type of headache usually occurs as a result of an allergic reaction. The pain of these headaches is often concentrated in the sinus area and at the front of the head. Migraines are usually misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. In fact, up to 90% of "sinus headaches" are actually migraine headaches. People with chronic seasonal allergies or sinusitis are likely to suffer from this type of headache.

Post Traumatic Headaches

They usually start 2 to 3 days after head injury. Below are some of the common symptoms of this type of headache:

  • A dull ache that gets worse from time to time
  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Tiring quickly
  • Irritability


Some other less common types of headaches include:

Hemicrania Continua

This chronic and persistent headache almost always affects the same side of the face and head. Other symptoms of Hemicrania Continua include:

  • Pain that varies in severity
  • Red or teary eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Contracted iris
  • Responds to the pain medication indomethacin
  • Worse pain with physical activity
  • Worse pain with drinking alcohol

Hormonal Headaches

You may have headaches due to changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and menopause. Hormonal changes in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also cause headaches. When they occur 2 days prior to your period or in the first 3 days after your period starts, they are referred to as menstrual migraines.

Other types of headache are:

  • New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH)
  • Rebound Headaches
  • Ice Pick Headaches
  • Spinal Headaches

Headaches may last for several months. But if the situation does not improve in a few weeks, call your doctor.

Types of Headaches Simon Evans Physiotherapy

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