What Causes Headaches?

Headaches can be more complicated and painful than some people realize. There are several reasons contributing to headaches and sometimes it can be a bit difficult to point out the exact problem. Different types of headaches have different signs and symptoms. Therefore, each type is going to need different treatment. Once your doctor is able to identify the type of headache, it is going to be relatively easy for him/her to treat the problem. 

The most common primary headaches

Primary headaches refer to the situation where the pain itself is the condition. What it means is that your headache is not directly the result of any illness or injury, it is the pain itself that is the condition. Primary headaches are normally classified into two types, Episodic and Chronic headaches. As the term implies, Episodic headaches tend to occur every so often or once in a while. Plus, they can last anywhere from half an hour to several hours. 

Chronic headaches on the other hand tend to be relatively more consistent. They occur regularly during the month and will last for the entire day as well sometimes. In such serious cases, a pain management plan is necessary.

Tension Headaches

Another popular type of headache is tension headaches. If you are suffering from a tension headache, you will feel a dull, aching sensation all over your head. However, it should not be throbbing. It might also be the case where tenderness or sensitivity around your forehead, neck, or scalp also occurs. Since it is mostly triggered by stress, anyone can experience tension headaches. 

Since it is a normal case, you can purchase an over-the-counter pain reliever that will also help relieve your occasional symptoms. If over-the-counter medication is not working, you might want to consult a doctor and follow his recommendations. If the tension headache happens to become chronic, a different course of action is followed to eliminate the triggering factor. 

Cluster Headaches

If you are experiencing severe burning and piercing pain, you might be having what they called cluster headaches. These headaches usually occur around one eye or side of the face at a time. In some cases, you might also experience redness, swelling, flushing, and sweating, etc. on the side that is affected by the headache. 

Furthermore, nasal congestion and eye tearing might also occur on the same side as the headache. As the term implies, cluster headaches occur in series. Each headache session can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours. Most people tend to experience one to four headaches a day, usually around the same time during the day. Once you are done with one session, another will follow. 

Moreover, a series of clusters can also occur daily for months at a time. In between the clusters, the individuals tend to be symptom-free. Cluster headaches tend to be more common during the spring and fall. Additionally, they are three times more common amongst men. Doctors are not sure about what causes cluster headaches but they do have some effective treatments. 

For example, your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy or local anesthetic to provide pain relief. Once the diagnosis has been made, the doctor will work with you to develop a prevention plan.


Migraine is the type of headache that pulsates from deep within your head. This is a serious pain that can last for days. Furthermore, the headache seriously limits the carrying out of daily activities. In some cases, you might not be able to get out of your bed. It is a throbbing pain that is usually one-sided. Furthermore, people with migraines tend to be often sensitive to both light and sound. 

Moreover, vomiting and nausea also usually occur. There might be a case here migraine is preceded by visual disturbances. It is the case in one amongst five people before the headache starts. There is a phenomenon called Aura that might cause you to see shimmering lights, stars, and zigzag lines, etc. In addition to that, Auras can also include tingling on one side of your face or in one arm along with trouble speaking. 

However, in some cases, the symptoms of stroke can also mimic a migraine. Therefore, if you experience any new symptoms, you should see immediate medical attention. Apart from all the factors that trigger migraine one is that it might be that it runs in the family. In other cases, it might be related to the nervous system as well. 

With that being said, women are more likely to develop migraines than men. Certain environmental factors such as dehydration, disruption, hormone fluctuations, and skipped meals can also trigger migration. If over-the-counter drugs do not help relieve migraines, then your doctor might prescribe Triptans that are basically drugs designed to help reduce inflammation and change the blood flow within your brain. 

Allergy or sinus headaches

Headaches can also sometimes be triggered due to an allergic reaction. The pain that arises, as a result, is mostly focused in your sinus area in addition to being in front of your head. Migraine headaches are mostly diagnosed as sinus headaches as well, which leads to misdiagnoses. People who experience and are vulnerable to seasonal allergies or sinusitis tend to have these kinds of headaches. Sinus headaches are treated by thinning the mucus that leads to sinus pressure by building up. 

In addition to that, a sinus headache might also be the result of a sinus infection. Your doctor might recommend some antibiotics to relieve the headache and clear the infection.

Hormone Headaches

Hormone headaches are most common amongst women as they tend to commonly experience hormone changes and are also one of the most common causes of headaches in women. Birth control pills. Menstruation and pregnancy all affect the estrogen levels, which might lead to a headache. 

The headaches that are mostly associated with the menstrual cycle are also known as menstrual migraines. Such headaches can usually occur during, before, or right after menses as well as even during ovulation. Over-the-counter relievers like naproxen and prescription medications like frovatripan can work to control this pain. 

Final Word

Concluding, headaches can be triggered due to several reasons. While some occur periodically, others might be chronic. Depending on the intensity and occurrence of the headaches, you should consult a doctor especially if it is something chronic. You might have to go through a pain prevention plan to help fix the problem.