The Different Kinds of Headaches

When experiencing a headache, it is important to find out the type of headache. By knowing the type of headaches, patients can more effectively work with their medical team to be properly treated. Before treating the headache, take a look at this list of headaches.

Allergy Headaches

Allergy headaches are generalized headache that is accompanied by nasal congestion and watery eyes. These headaches are usually caused by seasonal allergens like pollen and mold. Although these headaches are not preventable, they can be treated. Nasal cortisone-related sprays, antihistamines, and desensitization injections often treat allergy headaches.


Aneurysms can mimic frequent migraines or cluster headaches but this condition is caused by a balloon-like weakness or bulge in the blood vessel wall. While aneurysms can rupture causing a stroke, they can also leak blood slowly, which can result in a sudden, unbearable headache, double vision, and a rigid neck. Those experiencing aneurysms can also rapidly lose consciousness. An aneurysm can be treated with surgery if discovered early.

Caffeine-Withdrawal Headaches

Caffeine-withdrawal headaches are throbbing headaches that are caused by rebound dilation of the blood vessels. These headaches occur over a few days after consuming large amounts of caffeine. They are often treated by terminating caffeine consumption or avoiding excess use of caffeine.

Chronic Daily Headaches

Chronic daily headaches refer to a broad range of headache disorders that occur more than 15 days in a month. There are two different categories of chronic daily headaches: less than four hours and more than four hours. These headaches usually evolve from transformed migraines as well as episodic tension-type headaches. They can also be associated with medication overuse. Chronic daily headaches can be treated with a few different treatments but it is important to limit analgesic (or painkiller) use.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are associated with excruciating pain in the vicinity of the eyes, tears, congestion, and flushing of the face. Pain can also develop during sleep and can last for several hours. Attacks often occur every day for weeks or even months then may disappear for up to a year. These headaches occur in mostly men between the ages of 20 and 50. These headaches can be treated with oxygen, ergotamine, sumatriptan, or intranasal application of a local anesthetic agent. Cluster headaches can be prevented by steroid use, ergotamine, calcium channel blockers, and lithium.

Eyestrain Headaches

Eyestrain headaches usually occur in the front of the head in a bilateral direction that is usually related to eyestrain. Although these headaches are rare, they are often caused by uncorrected vision, a muscle imbalance in the eye, or astigmatism.

Exertional Headaches

Exertional headaches usually only last a few minutes during or after physical exertion or after passive exertion like sneezing, coughing, or bowel movements. These headaches are most commonly treated by aspirin, indomethacin, or propranolol. Extensive treatment can determine the headache causes and surgery may be used to correct the organic disease.

Hypertension Headaches

Hypertension headaches are usually generalized or are a “hairband” type of pain. This headache is usually worse in the morning and may diminish throughout the day. Severe hypertension often causes them. However, these headaches can be treated with appropriate blood pressure medication and management.

Migraine with Aura or without Aura

Migraines with aura often show signs of visual disturbances and numbness in the arms and legs. These symptoms often subside within 30 minutes but are often followed by severe pain. Migraines without aura have symptoms that include severe, one-sided throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, cold hands, and sensitivity to sound and light. There is a hereditary component to these headaches, but they can also be caused by certain foods, birth control medication, hormones, excessive hunger, changes in altitude, weather, lights, excessive smoking, and emotional stress. Treatments for these migraines often include ice packs, isometheptene, mucate, caffeine, and DHE injectable and nasal sprays.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches have localized or generalized pain that can mimic migraines. These headaches usually occur daily and are frequently resistant to treatment.

Tension-Type Headaches

Tension-type headaches are characterized by a dull non-throbbing pain, frequently bilateral, and associated with a tight scalp or neck. Emotional stress and hidden depression are often the cause of these headaches. They are often treated with rest, aspirin, acetaminophen, muscle relaxants, ice packs, and caffeine. They can be prevented by avoiding stress and using biofeedback, relaxation, and antidepressants.

There are many different types of headaches that could be affecting you. However many of these headaches can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. To see treatment for your headaches, call Pain and Spine Specialists today!

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Pain and Spine Specialists treat many conditions and injuries of the back, neck hip, and spine by taking a whole-person approach to care. Our focus is getting you back on your feet in good health.

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