What Type Of Headache Am I Having?

One thing that confuses a lot of people is the type of headache they are having. If on Family Feud, I think a “migraine headache” would be the number one answer if 100 people were asked what type of headaches they get. In this article, I will discuss the different types of common, everyday headaches that people have based on different factors such as: where it hurts, how long it hurts, headache triggers, etc.

There are 3 different categories of headaches: primary, secondary, and cranial neuralgias. Headaches are categorized based on how they start. Primary headaches are shown to be the most common of the bunch, which includes migraines, tension-type, and cluster headaches, among many others. They are the headaches that are not caused by an underlying condition but are the problem themselves. The brain itself cannot feel pain so it uses other structures in the head such as muscles, nerves, and blood vessels to carry out the mission of causing the pain for the headache.

Common secondary headaches include headaches such as sinus headaches, exertional, and those caused by injury to the neck or brain, to name a few. Secondary headaches are usually caused by another medical condition that triggers headaches. The pain signals for these headaches are considered to be warning signs for the more serious medical condition.

Cranial Neuralgias are headaches stemming from inflamed nerves. There are 12 cranial nerves that exit the brain and supply the structures of the face. These nerves can become damaged, inflamed, or irritated and create facial pain or headaches. Trigeminal neuralgia is known to be the most common type of these headaches, which we will discuss below.

In this article, I ‘m going to discuss specifically about primary headaches, and I will continue this discussion in the next article.


The most common primary type of headache is a tension-type headache. If you are experiencing dull, achy pain that is located in either your forehead, temporal, or neck regions, there is a high chance you are experiencing a tension headache. Tension headaches utilize the muscles of the head to relay its discomforts. The forehead, neck, and temporal muscles become spastic or contracted, causing tightness and pulling of the muscles creating pain. Tension headaches are triggered by physical or emotional stress and prolonged Poor Posture.

Migraine headaches are headaches that you will feel on one side of the head. The pain can be described as intense throbbing or pulsating. They typically last from 4 hours to 3 days. They also include symptoms such as nausea and/or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound. Most people have sensations called “auras” where visual changes such as flashing lights or crazy lines appear that usually indicate a migraine headache is coming. Migraines also have triggered such as certain foods or smells, stress, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes, to name a few.

Cluster headaches are said to be not only one of the worst headaches known to man but one of the worst pains known to man. Cluster headaches are felt behind one eye. They can occur up to as many as eight times per day, at approximately the same time of the day, most often at night. They call them clusters because they come in bunches at a time. Other symptoms may include: red and watery, nasal congestion, sweating, pupil constriction and swelling of the eyelid. Triggers for cluster headaches include drinking alcohol, smoking, and sensitivity to certain smells such as paint, bleach, and perfume.

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