Headache Types

Headaches can be a debilitating problem, and are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Finding the root cause of a headache, particularly persistent, ongoing headaches, can be a process of trial and error that takes months and even years to nail down completely.

There are many different types of headaches, and which type you or your loved one has can determine how you treat it and how long you can expect it to last.

Some different types of headaches you may have include tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraine headaches, rebound headaches, sinus headaches, hormonal headaches and organic headaches.

A tension headache can be caused by temporary stress or anger, and they may also be caused by excessive fatigue. Anxiety can also prompt a tension headache.

These headaches are sometimes called a muscle contraction headache, and they feel like a tightening band around the head. Other symptoms may include a pulling feel or a sense of intense pressure and a tightness in the neck.

Cluster headaches get their name from the grouping of the headache attacks. Unlike most of the other different types of headaches, the pain from a cluster headache comes suddenly. Most people who suffer from cluster headaches experience between one and four headaches a day during the time of the attack.

Often the attacks hit early in the morning or late at night. The cycles may continue over several weeks or even months, then may fade out and seem to vanish completely for months or years.

A significant number of people who suffer cluster headaches have attacks during spring or during the fall, leading some to misdiagnose the headaches as being connected to allergies.

Of all the different types of headaches, migraine headaches are the most notorious, and for good reason. A single migraine can last for hours or even days. Those who suffer from migraines miss work and school with regularity, and have more disruption in their family life as a result of their headaches than any other type.

Migraines are vascular headaches, associated with a change in the size of the arteries carrying blood in the head. Seventy percent of those who have migraines have pain on only one side of the head.

Over-medicating causes rebound headaches. Although taking an over the counter pain remedy for the occasional headache is perfectly fine and recommended, if you take more a medication than is recommended by the label or your physician, you could cause yourself to “rebound” into another headache.

Sinus headaches are caused by a blockage in the sinuses when the sinuses are inflamed.

While most of the different types of headaches hit both men and women, hormonal headaches are linked to women’s health. Hormonal headaches may be migraines or other types of headaches, but what they have in common is that they are prompted by hormones.

Organic headaches are caused by an abnormality inside the skull or on the brain. While these types of headaches are rare, of all the different types of headaches, these are the most distressing. They can be caused by an aneurysm, hematoma, meningitis, or tumor in the brain or skull.