What Are the Types of Headaches?

What Are the Types of Headaches

Having a nasty headache can be quite frustrating, especially if you must head to work or complete an arduous task. Unfortunately, headaches are quite common. In the USA alone, roughly 15 percent of the adult population complain about severe headaches or migraines.

Depending on the intensity and frequency of a headache, it could cause minor to major disruptions to your usual daily routine. If you regularly experience headaches, it could heavily impact your life. To help you cope, we created this short guide on headaches and headache solutions.

You’ll learn about the difference between migraine and tension headache and other kinds of headaches in the next sections. We will also discuss the natural method used to seek relief. Before deep-diving into the nitty-gritty parts of the discussion, let’s first check out some interesting facts about headaches. 


Headaches Facts and Stats You Need to Know

  • Headaches and migraines negatively affect workplace productivity levels in the US, which results in roughly a $13 billion loss in profit every year
  • Studies refer to migraine as the seventh most debilitating neurological condition in the world.
  • Tension headaches rank second in the list of most common ailments in the world.
  • According to WHO, around 1.7 to 4 percent of adults worldwide frequently experience migraines or headaches each month.
  • Roughly 5.2 million patients rush to the ER of hospitals each year because of headaches.
  • Headaches are mostly not life-threatening, but they can severely impact the quality of your life.
  • In ancient Rome and Greece, they drink peppermint tea and rosemary, chamomile, and rosemary infusions to manage their headaches. Other traditional medicine practices also used cabbage, raw potato, and onions to cope with headaches or migraines.
  • It takes roughly five years to complete a diagnosis for cluster headaches.
  • A study reports that around 55 percent of patients who suffer from cluster headaches have suicidal ideas. 
  • Blood sugar level drops because fasting can result in severe headaches.
  • Stress, smoke pollution, flashing lights, loud sounds, and certain food products can cause headaches.
  • Poor lifestyle choices like alcohol abuse, smoking, eating unbalanced meals, and sleep deprivation can increase headaches and migraine attacks. 
  • Brain freeze or ice cream headache is real. Eating or drinking icy food items causes blood vessel spasms, blood flow disruptions, and vein and artery inflammation. 


What Are the Types of Headaches?

Headaches, depending on their type and category, can affect various parts of the head. Some specifically affect one side, while others affect both. The pain can also spread from one central region to other parts of the head. You can also observe different pain sensations like throbbing, pounding, pulsating, or squeezing. Some types of headaches also appear out of the blue, while others occur gradually.

Patients also report varying durations, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days. Based on such factors, the International Headache Society categorizes headaches into two categories:

  • Primary headaches

This type of headache often arises from the overactivity or dysfunction of the head’s pain-sensitive parts, such as the head and neck's blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Changes in brain chemical activities can also cause primary headaches like migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches. 

  • Secondary headaches

This category often gets triggered by other diseases or health problems that irritate the brain's pain-sensitive features. Some examples of such health problems include the following: 

    • Excessive alcohol intake  
    • Influenza
    • Concussion
    • Brain freeze 
    • Brain tumor
    • Stroke
    • Bleeding or clots in or around the brain tissue
    • Glaucoma
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Panic attacks
    • Dehydration
    • Grinding of teeth during night time
    • Drug abuse 

What Are the Types of Headaches?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, headaches are relatively harmless. But, there may be some cases when you need to seek emergency assistance. Here are some signs and symptoms you should look out for: 

  • Not your usual headache – more intense, persistent, or debilitating 
  • Does not improve its condition even after drinking medication
  • You experience other symptoms such as neck muscle stiffness, sensory disruptions, and confusion


Difference Between Migraine and Tension Headaches and More

  • Migraines

A lot of patients tend to ask about the difference between migraine and tension headache. That’s because they’re quite similar. A critical tell-tale sign that you’re experiencing a migraine is if the pain occurs and stays on one side of your head. You might also have other migraine symptoms like vomiting, nausea, visual disturbances, and light sensitivity. The pain could last around a couple of hours to three days.

  • Tension headaches

Unlike migraines, tension headaches appear more steady and chronic. They can either be chronic or episodic. You can tell that it’s a chronic type if it happens frequently or more than 15 days each month. In contrast, episodic attacks only occur fewer times each month and mostly last for hours to a few days. 

  • Rebound headaches

Have you ever tried over-using pain medications? If you have, you may be susceptible to rebound headaches. This type of headaches mostly start in the morning, then persist the entire day. Pain medication can temporarily eliminate the pain, but it relapses shortly once the effects wear off. 

  • Cluster headaches

Ever had a severe, one-sided headache that happened out of the blue and lasted for around 15 minutes to 3 hours? Did it happen again within the same day of the attack and persisted for the next few weeks? Did you experience other symptoms such as droopy eyelids and a runny or stuffy nose? If you answered yes, then you might just have experienced a cluster headache. 


Natural Headache Relief That Works Based on Studies

Often, patients rely on pain medications to manage their headaches. However, as we have discussed above, this can potentially cause rebound headaches or more severe attacks. That’s why many patients seek natural healthcare techniques to help them with their condition.

Among the many options out there, upper cervical chiropractic care has been growing traction among patients. And that’s because studies have established the connection between frequent migraines and headaches with bone misalignment in the neck.  

Many patients in case studies have found long-term relief from headaches through their upper cervical chiropractic care sessions. Essentially, what it does is correct the misalignment to remove the pressure on the brainstem, the central nervous system’s information highway. It also releases stress on the brain and neck's pain-sensitive features, such as the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. 

Now that you’ve learned the difference between migraine and tension headache, and other types of headaches, you should begin seeking natural relief. Find out how a local upper cervical chiropractor can help you alleviate your symptoms and enjoy a headache-free life. Check out the available chiropractic care professionals in your area today and call them for a consultation.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.