14 Types of Headaches and How to Treat Them

Headaches are a common ailment that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. However, not all headaches are created equal. There are several types of headaches, each with its own unique symptoms and causes. Understanding the type of headache you are experiencing can be crucial in determining the most effective treatment.

In this article, we will discuss 14 types of headaches, including tension headaches, migraines, sinus headaches, and more. We will also explore the symptoms and causes of each type and offer tips on how to treat and prevent them.

If you suffer from frequent headaches, it can be frustrating and debilitating. By learning more about the different types of headaches and their causes, you can take steps to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Read on to find out more about the most common types of headaches and how to treat them.

Migraine Headaches


Migraine headaches are a neurological condition that can cause intense pain and other symptoms. They typically affect one side of the head and can last for several hours or even days. In addition to pain, symptoms of a migraine can include sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Some people may also experience visual disturbances known as auras before the onset of a migraine.


There are several ways to treat migraines, including medication, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate mild migraines, while prescription medications like sumatriptan can be used for more severe cases. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding trigger foods and getting enough sleep can also help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Alternative therapies like acupuncture and relaxation techniques may also be helpful for some people.


Preventing migraines can be challenging, as triggers can vary from person to person. However, there are some general measures that can help reduce the likelihood of a migraine attack. These include avoiding trigger foods like chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, staying hydrated, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Keeping a migraine diary to track triggers and symptoms can also be helpful in identifying and avoiding triggers in the future.


Migraine headaches can be a debilitating condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. However, with the right treatment and prevention strategies, most people can manage their migraines and experience fewer attacks. If you are experiencing migraines, talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment options for your specific needs.

Tension Headaches

What are Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, affecting about 80% of people at some point in their lives. They usually feel like a constant ache or pressure around the head, especially at the temples or back of the head and neck. These headaches can last from a few hours to several days.

Causes of Tension Headaches

The exact cause of tension headaches is not clear, but it is believed that they are caused by muscle tension and contraction in the head and neck region. This can be caused by stress, anxiety, poor posture, or holding your head in one position for a prolonged period of time.

Other factors that can contribute to tension headaches include dehydration, lack of sleep, or alcohol consumption.

Treatment of Tension Headaches

There are several treatments that can help relieve tension headaches. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken to reduce pain and inflammation.

Other therapies include relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga, massage, and stretching exercises. It is also important to address the underlying causes of tension headaches, such as stress or poor posture, in order to prevent them from recurring.

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Massage therapy
  • Stretching exercises

Cluster Headaches


Cluster headaches are characterized by intense pain around one eye or temple. The pain is typically felt as a sharp, burning sensation. Other symptoms may include:

  • Red and watery eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sweating on one side of the face or neck
  • Drooping eyelid or small pupil


Treatment for cluster headaches often involves a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Triptans or other pain relievers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Oxygen therapy

In addition to medication, certain lifestyle changes may help manage cluster headaches:

  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Managing stress through relaxation techniques or counseling

It’s important to work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you.

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Cervicogenic Headaches

What are Cervicogenic Headaches?

Cervicogenic headaches are a type of headache that originate from the neck or cervical spine. These headaches are often caused by problems in the neck, such as injuries to the muscles, nerves, or bones in the neck. Cervicogenic headaches can be quite painful and often feel like a dull ache or pressure in the back of the head or neck.

Treatment for Cervicogenic Headaches

Treatment for cervicogenic headaches typically involves addressing the underlying problem in the neck. This may involve working with a physical therapist to do exercises that help strengthen the neck muscles and improve posture. Additionally, medications can be used to help manage pain and relieve inflammation in the neck.

Some other treatment options may include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments that help realign the vertebrae in the neck
  • Massage therapy to reduce tension in the neck muscles
  • Trigger point injections to relieve muscle pain in the neck

Prevention of Cervicogenic Headaches

Preventing cervicogenic headaches often involves maintaining good neck posture and avoiding activities that may cause strain to the neck muscles. This may include avoiding activities such as reading or using electronics for extended periods of time without taking breaks, and using ergonomic equipment such as a supportive workstation chair and keyboard. Regular exercise and stretching of the neck muscles can also help prevent cervicogenic headaches from occurring.

Thunderclap Headaches


Thunderclap headaches are sudden, intense headaches that strike like a bolt of lightning and peak within a minute.

These headaches can cause nausea, vomiting, and difficulty speaking or understanding speech.

They may also be accompanied by pain in the neck, shoulders, or back.


Thunderclap headaches can be caused by a variety of factors including bleeding in the brain, arterial rupture, and a ruptured aneurysm.

They can also be caused by medications, such as those used for hypertension, as well as exertion during physical activity, such as lifting heavy weights.


If you experience a thunderclap headache, seek medical attention immediately as it can be a sign of a life-threatening condition.

Treatment may include imaging tests to diagnose the cause of the headache, medications to control blood pressure, and surgery to repair any ruptures or bleeding.

It’s important to consult with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

Sinus Headaches

What are sinus headaches?

Sinus headaches are headaches that are typically caused by sinus inflammation and/or congestion. The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities located in the skull. When they become inflamed or congested due to allergies, a cold or flu virus, or other causes, they can cause pain and pressure in the head.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a sinus headache can include:

  • Pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks, and/or behind the eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Toothache

How are they treated?

Treatment for sinus headaches typically involves relieving the congestion and inflammation in the sinuses. This can be done through:

  1. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  2. Nasal decongestants
  3. Nasal corticosteroids
  4. Saline nasal sprays
  5. Allergy medications
  6. Home remedies, such as steam inhalation or hot and cold compresses

It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider if sinus headaches persist or worsen, as they may be a sign of a more serious condition.

Hormonal Headaches

Hormonal headaches are caused by changes in hormone levels in the body, particularly estrogen. These headaches are most common in women during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.


  • Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Difficulty concentrating.


There are several treatment options for hormonal headaches:

  1. Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can help alleviate symptoms.
  2. Birth control pills: Women who experience hormonal headaches related to their menstrual cycle may benefit from hormonal birth control. This can help regulate hormone levels and reduce the frequency of headaches.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, managing stress levels, and avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol can help prevent hormonal headaches.

If hormonal headaches are severe or frequent, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider. They may recommend additional treatment options or suggest further testing to rule out other potential causes of headaches.

Rebound Headaches

What are rebound headaches?

Rebound headaches, also known as medication overuse headaches, are headaches that are caused by overusing acute headache medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. These headaches occur when the medication that was initially used to alleviate a headache is taken too often or in high doses.

Symptoms of rebound headaches

Symptoms of rebound headaches include a constant, dull headache that persists throughout the day, difficulty sleeping, nausea, and sensitivity to light.

Treatment for rebound headaches

The treatment for rebound headaches is to stop using the medication that is causing the headaches and to find alternative ways to manage headache pain. This may include relaxation techniques, acupuncture, or using preventative medications such as anti-depressants or anti-seizure medications.

  • Identify triggers: Keep a headache diary and identify the triggers that cause your headaches.
  • Change your medication: Talk to your doctor about alternative medications that may not cause rebound headaches.
  • Gradual reduction of medication: Gradually reduce the amount of medication that you take instead of quitting cold turkey.
  • Use preventative measures: Use preventative measures such as stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, or preventative medications as prescribed by your doctor.
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Rebound headaches can be frustrating, but with the right approach, they can be treated and prevented. Work with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment plan for you.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches are headaches that occur after a recent head injury or trauma to the head. These headaches can be a symptom of a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.


The symptoms of post-traumatic headaches may vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches that start within a week after the injury
  • Head pain that is constant or comes and goes
  • Headaches that worsen with physical activity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound


Treatment for post-traumatic headaches may depend on the severity of the injury and the associated symptoms. In mild cases, headache relief can often be achieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

For more severe cases or for those who have other symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, or memory loss, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment may include prescription medication, rest, and physical therapy.

Prevention Treatments Recovery
  • Wear a helmet when participating in sports or other activities that require head protection
  • Practice safe driving habits, including using seat belts and avoiding distractions while driving
  • Be cautious when working with heavy machinery or tools
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Prescription medication
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • It may take several weeks or even months for symptoms to improve
  • Rest is often recommended during the recovery process
  • Gradual return to activity is typically advised

Exertion Headaches

What are Exertion Headaches?

What are Exertion Headaches?

Exertion headaches are a type of headache that occurs during or after physical activity. They are sometimes referred to as “exercise headaches” or “runner’s headaches”. The pain is typically described as a throbbing or pulsing sensation on both sides of the head.

Treatment for Exertion Headaches

If you experience exertion headaches, it’s important to seek medical advice to rule out any underlying conditions. In many cases, over-the-counter pain relief medication can help to ease the symptoms of exertion headaches.

Preventative measures can also be taken to reduce the likelihood of experiencing exertion headaches. These may include:

  • Ensuring you are well hydrated before, during, and after physical activity
  • Taking time to warm up and stretch before beginning exercise
  • Avoiding sudden changes in intensity or duration of physical activity
  • Monitoring your heart rate during exercise to ensure it remains within a safe range
  • Taking regular breaks during physical activity to rest and recover

When to seek medical advice

If you experience exertion headaches frequently, or the pain is severe and does not respond to over-the-counter medication, it’s important to seek medical advice. Your doctor may recommend further tests to rule out any underlying conditions, and may prescribe medication or other treatment to help manage your symptoms.

Bite Force Headaches

What are bite force headaches?

Bite force headaches are a type of headache caused by pressure or tension in the jaw and head muscles due to dental problems or teeth grinding. The excessive pressure and force put on the jaw muscles can cause headaches that can be dull or throbbing in nature.

How to treat bite force headaches?

The treatment for bite force headaches depends on the underlying cause of the problem. If the headache is caused by teeth grinding, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard to protect your teeth and ease the pressure on your jaw muscles. If you have dental problems such as a misaligned bite, your dentist may recommend corrective procedures such as braces or dental restorations.

In addition to dental treatments, you can also try some home remedies to ease the symptoms of bite force headaches. These include applying heat or cold compresses to the affected area, practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and avoiding hard or crunchy foods that can aggravate the jaw muscles.

Preventing bite force headaches

The best way to prevent bite force headaches is to maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If you grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard can help prevent dental damage and relieve the pressure on your jaw muscles. Additionally, avoiding hard or crunchy foods and chewing gum can help reduce stress on your jaw muscles.

Ice Cream Headaches

What are ice cream headaches?

Ice cream headaches, also known as brain freezes or cold-stimulus headaches, are a type of headache that occur when a cold substance (such as ice cream) is consumed too quickly. The pain is typically felt at the front of the head and can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

What causes ice cream headaches?

Ice cream headaches are caused by a rapid cooling and warming of the blood vessels in the roof of the mouth. When something cold touches the roof of the mouth, the blood vessels constrict, and then rapidly dilate when the substance is removed. This sudden change in blood flow can cause pain signals to be sent to the brain, resulting in a headache.

How can ice cream headaches be treated?

The best way to prevent ice cream headaches is to consume cold substances slowly and allow them to warm up in the mouth before swallowing. If a brain freeze does occur, drinking a warm beverage or pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth can help alleviate the pain. Over-the-counter pain medication can also be used if the headache is particularly severe.

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Alcohol-Induced Headaches


Alcohol-induced headaches can cause throbbing pain in the temples, forehead and/or back of the head. They can also cause sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and dizziness. These headaches usually occur within a few hours of drinking alcohol and can last up to a day.


Alcohol-induced headaches can be caused by a variety of factors. One common cause is dehydration, which occurs when alcohol causes the body to lose fluids. Another cause is the release of inflammatory substances in the body, such as histamines, which can cause the blood vessels in the brain to dilate and cause pain. Certain types of alcohol, like red wine and beer, also contain tyramine, which can cause headaches in some people.


The best way to treat alcohol-induced headaches is to stop drinking alcohol. If you do choose to drink, it is important to drink in moderation and to drink water between alcoholic beverages. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help relieve pain. Drinking sports drinks or other beverages with electrolytes can also be helpful in restoring hydration.

  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Drink in moderation
  • Drink water between alcoholic beverages
  • Take pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Drink sports drinks or other beverages with electrolytes

Headaches Caused by Brain Tumors


Headaches are a common symptom of brain tumors, but not all headaches are caused by tumors. It is important to understand the different types of headaches that can be caused by brain tumors and their characteristics to determine the appropriate treatment for the patient.


The symptoms of headaches caused by brain tumors are often different from other types of headaches. These headaches include a persistent and increasing pain that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and seizures. Patients may also experience changes in their vision, speech, and cognitive function.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.


The treatment for headaches caused by brain tumors depends on the type and size of the tumor. Surgery is often recommended to remove the tumor, followed by radiation or chemotherapy to ensure that all cancer cells are destroyed. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage pain and other symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, it is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.

If you are experiencing headaches or other symptoms and are concerned about the possibility of a brain tumor, speak with your healthcare provider. Early detection and treatment can increase your chances of a successful recovery.

Questions and Answers:

What are the most common types of headaches?

The most common types of headaches are tension headaches and migraines.

How can I differentiate between a tension headache and a migraine?

A tension headache typically feels like a dull ache or pressure around the head, while a migraine is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and visual disturbances. Additionally, tension headaches are often caused by stress or muscle tension, while migraines may be triggered by factors such as hormonal changes, specific foods, or changes in sleep patterns.

What treatments are available for cluster headaches?

There are several treatments available for cluster headaches, including oxygen therapy, which involves breathing in 100% oxygen through a mask, and triptans, which are medications that can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, nerve stimulation may also be used to treat cluster headaches.


Madison Jones

As someone who often suffers from headaches, I found this article incredibly helpful. Learning about the different types of headaches and their symptoms was eye-opening, and I now feel better equipped to identify what might be causing my discomfort. The tips for treatment were also useful. I appreciate that the article didn’t just suggest taking medication, but provided alternative methods such as acupuncture or massage. Overall, I feel more informed and empowered to manage my headaches. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

Thomas Davis

As a male reader, I found this article on “14 Types of Headaches and How to Treat Them” to be informative and helpful. It was interesting to learn about the different kinds of headaches and their causes, as well as the various treatment options available. I particularly appreciated the emphasis on natural remedies before resorting to medication. It’s great to have alternative options for relieving headaches and reducing their frequency in the long term. Overall, this article provided valuable insights into headaches and how to manage them. As someone who suffers from occasional headaches, I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind for the future.

Emma Thompson

As a woman, I often suffer from headaches and it can be frustrating to differentiate between the various types. This article was informative on the fourteen different types of headaches and their symptoms, making it easier to diagnose and treat. Additionally, the article provided helpful tips on how to manage and prevent headaches altogether. The variety of treatments suggested, such as massage therapy and dietary changes, gave me a holistic perspective on managing headaches instead of relying solely on medication. Overall, this article was insightful and will be useful in the future when I experience a headache.