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The 10 Most Common Types of Headaches

person with a headacheProfessionals define a headache as pain in any region of the head. However, there isn’t just one type of headache, which you probably know. But did you know that there were over 100? Headaches can be episodic or chronic. This means they only occur occasionally or are more consistent and occur most days out of the month.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Expect moderate pain on both sides of the head that is dull and aching, and, perhaps, pain in the back of the head and neck. These types of headaches build slowly but aren’t associated with nausea and vomiting. Often triggered by stress, tension headaches can be chronic.


Migraines are often intense with throbbing pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, and loss of appetite. About one in five people will experience auras before the headache begins. These can manifest as flashing lights, shimmering lights, zig-zag lines, stars, or blind spots in your vision. Auras may also include tingling on the side of the face or in one arm and trouble speaking. However, these are also signs of a stroke. If these symptoms are new to you, seek immediate medical attention.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, women make up 85% of chronic migraine sufferers. There is evidence that these headaches are genetic and can be associated with other nervous system conditions. Environmental factors also play a role. Sleep disruption, dehydration, skipped meals, certain foods, hormone fluctuations, and exposure to chemicals are all common triggers for migraines. Those who have PTSD are also at increased risk of migraine.

Treatment for migraines depends on whether they are episodic or chronic. Seek further medical attention if they become debilitating.

Cluster Headaches

Expect the sudden onset of server pain behind one eye. This is the most severe type of headache, but it’s less common than tension headaches and migraines. Swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating may also accompany the pain. You may also experience nasal congestion and eye-watering on the same side as the headache.

Cluster headaches tend to occur in groups. Each headache can last between 15 minutes to three hours. Most people who experience cluster headaches will experience one to four headaches a day, usually around the same time each day. After one headache resolves, one will soon follow. Suffers can experience these headaches daily for months at a time. However, in the months between clusters, patients are often symptom-free. They are more common during the spring and fall, and men are three times more likely to experience them.

Allergy or Sinus Headaches

These headaches occur due to an allergic reaction. The pain is often in your sinuses located in the front of your head. While you may think you’ve had a lot of sinus headaches throughout your life, you may be surprised to hear that up to 90% of “sinus headaches” are migraines. Those with seasonal allergies or sinusitis are more susceptible to these headaches. They are treated by thinning out the mucus that builds up and causes sinus pressure. For this, you can find natural decongestants. However, a sinus headache may also be a sign of a sinus infection. If you have a sinus infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Hormone Headaches

Women experience hormone headaches when their hormones fluctuate. Menstruation, birth control pills, and pregnancy can all affect estrogen levels, which can easily cause a headache. The headaches associated with the menstruation cycle are also known as menstrual migraines. Menstrual migraines can occur right before, during, and directly after menses, as well as ovulation. 60% of women who experience migraine will experience menstrual migraine.

Caffeine Headaches

Caffeine affects blood flow to your brain. Having too much or quitting it all at once can give you a headache. People who have frequent migraines are at risk of triggering a headache due to caffeine use. Not everybody who cuts back on caffeine will experience a withdrawal headache. Keeping your caffeine consumption at a reasonable level, or quitting it entirely, can prevent these headaches from happening.

Exertion Headaches

Exertion headaches happen quickly after periods of intense physical activity. The belief is that physical activity can cause increased blood flow to your skull, leading to a throbbing headache on both sides of your head. Don’t worry. These headaches shouldn’t last long and usually resolves themselves in a few minutes.

Hypertension Headaches

High blood pressure can cause a headache. Headaches due to high blood pressure signal an emergency, as they occur when your blood pressure becomes dangerously high. Expect pulsating pain on both sides of the head, which worsens with activity. You may also experience changes in vision, numbness or tingling, nosebleeds, chest pain, or shortness of breath. If you believe you are experiencing hypertension headaches, seek immediate medical attention.
The 10 Most Common Types of HeadachesRebound Headaches

Overuse of OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen can cause headaches. These headaches are dull, tension-type headaches. You are significantly more susceptible if you use OTC pain relievers for over 15 days out of the month. Rebound headaches are also more common when said medication contains caffeine. The best you can do is to wean yourself off the drug. Your pain may worsen at first but will subside in a few days.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

These headaches can develop after any type of head injury. They can feel like migraine or tension-type headaches, and it usually lasts up to six to 12 months after the damage occurs.


There are several things you can do that are natural remedies for headaches. The following are some options for you:

  • Drink water- it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines. Overall, drinking water can relieve headaches within 30 minutes to three hours.
  • Take magnesium- magnesium is a safe remedy for headaches. Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraines than those who don’t. We recommend that you take magnesium glycinate.
  • Limit alcohol consumption- about one-third of the population experiences migraines after drinking alcohol. Alcohol can also cause tension and cluster headaches. You see, alcohol widens blood vessels. This can cause headaches.
  • Take B-complex vitamins- several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate (B12), and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce headache symptoms. These are safe and cost-effective.
  • See a chiropractor- research shows that spinal manipulation may be effective in treating headaches that originate from the neck, such as tension headaches. Another study demonstrated that patients saw a decrease in migraines after chiropractic treatment.
  • Try yoga- one study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people who had chronic migraines. Compared to those who only received conventional care, those who combined yoga with conventional care noticed a decline in frequency and intensity in their headaches.

We Can Help

At The Wellness Connection, our practitioners know how to treat your headaches. Whether it’s through changes in your diet, exercise, or spinal adjustments, you’ll arrive and leave knowing that we’ll take every step to ensure that you receive the care you need. Our professionals have spent years cultivating their craft, meaning your care has been perfected to provide optimal treatment for various ailments. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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