Headaches are of the most common and problematic body pains you can experience. Headaches can interfere in your routine and limit your productivity. They can deeply impact your quality of living. Headaches are a source of tension for you and your loved ones. Modern medical science has identified various types of headaches, their causes, symptoms and treatment methods.
In this article, we will highlight the various types of headaches you can experience and identify the symptoms, causes and the treatments you can use to get rid of them. We will also explain some interesting causes of headaches that are common to all types of headaches.
Categories of Headaches
Medical science has identified over three hundred types of different headaches based on their characteristics. It is impossible to list down all the three hundred types at one place. For the ease of use, the headaches are divided into three broad categories.
If you are suffering from a headache, it is very important to identify which type of headache are you suffering and in which broad category it falls in. The three broad categories are
These are the most common type of headaches people suffer from nowadays. Tension headaches begin in teenage and it has been reported that women suffer more from these headaches than men. The main reasons behind suffering from tension-type headaches are stress, muscular spasms, and strain in the neck and head region.
Migraine headaches are another common type of headache and begin when you are in puberty. These headaches last for a lifetime and can often return once they have diminished. Migraine headaches are chronic and are characterized by pain in one side of the head. The frequency and severity of the migraine headaches differ from one person to another. Migraine headache often gets worse with physical activity and has the ability to last from hours to days.
A less common category of headaches, cluster headaches happen to people over the age of 20 and are found in men more than as compared to women. Severe headaches, pain in the eyes, redness, and water from eyes are the common characteristics of cluster headaches.
Headache Location Chart
It is very important to identify the headache according to its location, its causes, and symptoms and treat them accordingly. The following table explains some of the common headaches
|Sr. #||Type of Headache||Location||Causes||Symptoms||Treatment||Prevention|
|1||Migraine||One sided||Genetical factors||Severe pain||Medicines||Calcium blockers|
|Top & back of head||Smoking||Nausea||Caffeine||Biofeedback|
|Weather||Cold Hands||Ice Compress|
|Altitude||Numbness in arms and legs||Steroids|
|Emotional stress||Light sensitivity||Analgesics|
|2||Allergy Headache||Generalized in head||Allergens||Nasal congestion||Nasal Sprays||None|
|3||Cluster Headache||Pain in one eye||Excessive smoking||Flushing of the face||Inhaling oxygen||Steroids|
|Abuse of alcohol||Pain may develop during sleeping||Local Anesthetics||Calcium channel blockers|
|Stuffed nose on the affected side|
|4||Tension Headache||Forehead||Emotional stress||Tightness of scalp and neck||Painkillers||Antidepressants|
|Top of the head||Depression||Tightness of whole head||Staying stress-free|
|Dull aching headache|
|5||Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Headache||Temples||Jaw muscle problems||Pain or clicking in jaws||Relaxing jaw muscles||Same as treatment|
|Sideburns||Too-much chewing||Sleeping properly|
|6||Sinus Headache||Pain in sinus and forehead||Sinus allergy and infections||Blockage of sinus ducts||Antibiotics||None|
|Nasal blockages||Fever||Surgical drainage (severe cases)|
|7||Hypertension Headache||Generalized in head||High blood pressure||Severe headache||Blood pressure regulation medicines||Control of blood pressure|
|8||Giant Cell Arteritis Headache||Around the ears||Inflammation of temporal arteries||Temporal headache||Steroids||None|
|9||Medication Overuse Headache||Migraine Style||Side effects of any medicine||Dull headache||Quitting the medicines that cause headache||Carefully choosing medicines|
|Around the Head||Addiction to any drug||Chronic|
|10||Post-traumatic Headache||Migraine Style||After a severe trauma||Mild or moderate headache||Anti-seizures||Counselling after trauma|
|Around the Head||Shock, accident, loss in life||Nausea||anti-hypertensives||Same as treatments|
|11||Arthritis Headache||Back of the head and neck||Unknown||Severe Headache||Muscle Relaxants||None|
|12||Chronic Headache||Generalized in head||Migraine Headaches||Severe Headaches that lasts more than 20 days in a month||Painkillers||Preventing the type of headaches that act as a cause|
|13||Eyestrain Headache||Frontal portion of head||Stress on eyes||Eye Pain||Painkillers||Resting your eyes|
|Less Sleep||Red and watery eyes||Proper sleeping routine|
|Too much screen time|
|14||Hunger Headache||Generalized in head||Skipping meals||Pain in the head prior to eating||Balanced diet||Same as treatment|
|Low blood sugar|
|15||Exertion Headache||Both sides of head||Too much mental and physical exertions||Pain in head||Painkillers||Adjusting your exercise routine|
|Body Fatigue||Limiting physical and mental exertion|
|16||Hormone Headache||One-sided headache||Hormonal imbalance||Headache||Staying Hydrated||Staying Stress-free|
|Loss of appetite||Massage and relaxation||Anti-depressants|
|Joint pain||Physical exercise to regulate hormonal balance||Doing the things that make you feel good|
|17||Hangover Headache||Migraines like||Abuse of alcohol and other drugs||Headache||Doing anti-hangover activities||Avoiding overdose of alcohol and other drugs|
|Physical imbalance||Fresh Lime|
|18||Tumor Headache||Adjacent to the location of tumor||Tumor||Worsens with time||Surgery||None|
One of the most common types of headaches and is caused by genetic factors, smoking. Emotional stress and other factors listed in the table. Migraine’s location is either on one side of your head or at the top and back side of your head. For effective treatment, you can use medicines, a dose of caffeine, steroids, and analgesics. The symptoms of this pain include severe pain, nausea, cold hands and numbness in arms.
Allergy headaches happen due to certain allergens in your surroundings. The allergens can be pollen or other allergens like smell or dust. Such headaches are spread throughout your head and are indicated by symptoms like nasal congestion and watery eyes. There is no preventive measure against this type of headache but you can use antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays, and desensitization injections to reduce the impact of allergy and ultimately alleviate the headache.
Cluster headache happens in or around one eye at a time. It is most commonly caused by excessive smoking and too much alcohol drinking. It is accompanied by symptoms like flushing of face, restlessness and stuffed nose. Cluster headache is treated by inhaling extra oxygen and with the help of local anesthetics. It can be prevented by steroids and calcium channel blockers.
As the name suggests, this type of headache is linked to tension, stress, and depression. The targeted areas of the head are forehead and top of the head. Symptoms include tightness of head, scalp, and neck. It can be treated with the help of painkillers and avoided by staying stress-free.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Headache
It is caused by jaw muscle problems and too much chewing. This type of headache targets the temporal region of the head and its symptoms are pain or clicking in the jaw muscles. its treatment and prevention are the same and you can relax your jaw muscle and sleep properly in order to get rid of it.
If you are having pain in your sinus and front side of your head, you are suffering from sinus headache. Caused by sinus infections and nasal blockages, its signs are fever and blockage of nasal passage along with a mild headache. Doctors usually treat sinus headache with antibiotics, decongestants and may use surgical drainage if the case is severe. Unfortunately, there is no method to prevent it.
Hypertension Headache is spread throughout the head and is mainly caused by high blood pressure. The best way to deal with it is by taking medications and diet that help in lowering the blood pressure. You can avoid this type of headache by staying tension free and making sure that your blood pressure stays in the normal range.
Giant Cell Arteritis Headache
It targets the area around your ears and is caused by the inflammation of temporal arteries. Symptoms include temporal pain, jaw pain, weight loss, and vision problems. Doctors usually prescribe steroids as medicines to deal with this headache.
Medication Overuse Headache
It is a migraine style headache and happens due to side effects or prolonged use of medicines. Such pain is usually chronic and you can avoid it by carefully choosing your medicines with the advice of your doctor.
This type of headache is a result of trauma, loss or suffering from an accident. This is characterized by nausea and mild headache around the head or at one side. Anti-seizure medicines are the best way to deal with the headache on a short term basis. Counselling is the best way to avoid these pains after you have gone through a trauma.
The causes of this type of headache are still unknown. Its location is back of the head and neck and it is very severe. As there is no known cause, there is no specific prevention method and treatment other than muscle relaxants.
Chronic headaches target the entire area of your head and usually last regularly for long periods of time. Its causes are migraines and tension headaches and are treated by painkillers
The causes are stress on eyes, less sleep and too much screen time. The symptoms include eye pain, red and watery eyes. As it is linked with eyes so it targets the areas of your head around your eyes. You can avoid this type of headache by avoiding stress on your eyes and proper sleeping.
Hunger headache generally targets the entire area of your head. The main causes behind this headache are skipping meals and low blood sugar levels. The symptoms are a pain in the head only before your belly is empty. It can be treated by taking aspirin for immediate results and in the long term, you can ensure that you do not skip meals and take a balanced diet.
Exertion headache is a result of too much physical and mental activity and happens on both sides of the head. It is also accompanied by body fatigue and muscle spasms. The most common method to treat this headache is painkillers and it can be prevented by adjusting your exercise routine and reduce physical exertion.
A one-sided headache and happens due to some kind of hormonal imbalance in your body. It can also cause you joint pain, lack of appetite and general irritation of your mood. Massage, physical exercise and drinking more water can help while treating this type of headache.
People who abuse alcohol are aware if this type of headache. It feels like migraine and is accompanied by physical imbalance and blurred vision. Drinking more water and a glass of fresh lime can help in lifting the hangover. The best way to prevent this type of headache is not to do overdose of alcohol.
Tumor Headache is a very rare form of headache and results after a tumor has been developed and targets the area adjacent to the site of the tumor. This headache develops with time and can become very problematic after some time has elapsed. Its symptoms include vomiting, speech and vision problems as well. The best way to deal with this headache is the removal of the tumor through surgery or radiotherapy.
Interesting Causes of Headaches
Some of the causes of headaches are very obvious and clear as already mentioned in the table. However, we have indicated some lesser known reasons behind headaches that are common to all types of headaches. These causes act more like a trigger for the onset of headaches.
Body Posture – Your posture is directly linked to the headaches. Improper standing, sitting, sleeping postures can put strain and tension on your neck and back, this can cause a headache. Sometimes a wrong way to bend over, sitting on a chair that is not comfortable and does not have proper back support can also trigger headaches. If you are suffering from chronic headaches, you might want to reconsider your posture.
Chewing Gum – You might be surprised by reading this, chewing gum for a longer period of times can tire your jaw muscles and this can lead to headaches. The artificial sweeteners in most of the chewing gums are not healthy also ad can also trigger headaches. You must reduce the time you chew gums and check if your headache’s intensity lessens or remains the same.
3D Technology – Reports have suggested that 3D technology can trigger headaches in many people. If your 3D screen time is too much and you suffer from headaches, you need to reduce it. Too much screen time is also not good for your eyes.
Strong Scents – People who are allergic to strong scents like perfume, the smell of paints and petrol can also have an onset of headache if the inhale the smell for long periods of time. If you are allergic to such smells, you need to make sure that such scents are not in your environment.
Weather Changes – Weather could also be a reason behind the triggering of headaches in many people. Hot and humid water can make you dehydrated if you do not drink enough water on a hot day. Make sure that you drink enough water when the mercury is on the high side. Staying hydrated is very important for your health as well.
We are sure that you will be able to identify the culprit behind your headache according to the exact location and will be able to treat them accordingly. Headaches can usually be treated by home remedies and over the counter pain relievers. If you are unable to get rid of your headache after trying home remedies and pain killers, we recommend that you pay a visit to your doctor for proper medical treatment.