Irving Primary Care

Different Types of Headaches

There’s more to the story of a headache than the throbbing pain that accompanies it. It’s a good idea to learn what type of headache you’re dealing with to learn which medication or treatment to use first.

Headaches can be triggered by lack of sleep, fatigue, stress, medications, and even caffeine withdrawal. But sometimes they are a sign of a severe underlying medical problem, such as high blood pressure. In this case, it is vital to get medical help as soon as possible.

Here is our roundup of the most common types of headaches:

1. Migraines

People who experience migraines will feel intense pain on only one side of their head. They may also feel more sensitivity to light, smell, and sound. Other accompanying symptoms include vomiting and nausea. At least one-third of people experience a kind of aura before the onset of a migraine. These sensory and visual disturbances will last anywhere from 5 minutes to about one hour.

Aura symptoms can be an indication of meningitis or stroke. Anyone experiencing them should see a doctor right away.

2. Tension Headaches

Most people will experience tension headaches occasionally. They will feel a constant, dull pain on both sides of the head. Other symptoms include a sensation of pressure directly behind the eyes, sensitivity to light, and sound.

These headaches may anywhere from 30 minutes all the way to several hours. Although the severity of tension headaches may vary, they’re usually not intensive enough to upset a normal schedule.

Common causes for tension headaches are unclear, but possible triggers may include anxiety, depression, and stress. Other possible triggers may include loud noise, bad sleep, poor posture, dehydration, etc.

3. Exertional Headaches

These headaches are brought about by strenuous physical activity and are usually short.

People experiencing exertional headaches will feel a throbbing pain throughout their head. Exertional headaches are more common in people with a family history of migraine. These headaches can be easily treated with over-the-counter painkillers.

4. Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches, as the name suggests, are recurrent headaches that appear at least 8 times in a single day. Men are 6 times more likely to develop cluster headaches than women. People experiencing them describe an intense pain around one eye. Other symptoms include swollen eyelid, runny nose, heightened sensitivity to light and sound, and restlessness.

Cluster headaches are hard to predict and usually appear without any warning. They last between 15 minutes to three hours. It is unclear what the main causes of cluster headaches are but they usually occur in smokers. It is highly recommended to avoid smoking and alcohol when experiencing these types of headaches.

So there you have it, the four most common types of headaches that most people will encounter at some point in their lives. 

If you require further advice on getting help, you can book an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine.

Visit or call (469)262-5762 for more information.