National Headache & Migraine Month: Learn About the Different Types of Headaches & Their Causes

Headaches are a common ailment experienced by people of all ages. They can vary in intensity, duration, and underlying causes. Understanding the different types of headaches and their causes is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. Here are some of the most common types of headaches: 


Tension Headaches:

Tension headaches are the most prevalent type and often characterized by a dull, aching pain that feels like a tight band around the head. They can be caused by stress, muscle tension, poor posture, or anxiety. 

Migraine Headaches:

Migraines are recurring headaches that typically occur on one side of the head and are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. 

Cluster Headaches:

Cluster headaches are excruciatingly painful headaches that occur in clusters or patterns, typically on one side of the head. They are often characterized by intense pain around the eye, accompanied by nasal congestion, watery eyes, and restlessness. The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but they are thought to be related to abnormalities in the hypothalamus. 

Sinus Headaches:

Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation or congestion of the sinuses, which are air-filled cavities located around the nose and eyes. They often result from sinus infections, allergies, or other conditions that cause sinus blockage. The pain is usually felt in the forehead, cheekbones, or bridge of the nose. 

Hormonal Headaches:

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can trigger headaches. They often occur during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause due to changes in estrogen levels. Hormonal headaches may be migraines or tension headaches and can vary in severity. 

Rebound Headaches:

Rebound headaches, also known as medication-overuse headaches, can develop as a result of excessive use of pain medications. Overusing medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription drugs for headaches can lead to a rebound effect when the medication wears off, causing a new headache to occur. 

Cervicogenic Headaches:

Cervicogenic headaches originate from problems in the neck or cervical spine. They are typically caused by structural abnormalities, cervical disc degeneration, muscle tension, or injuries to the neck. The pain is often felt on one side of the head and can be triggered by neck movements or poor posture. 


It's important to note that these are just some of the common types of headaches, and there can be variations and overlapping features among them. Proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, and medical professionals should be consulted for a comprehensive evaluation. If you have a headache that won’t go away, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Call JCHC Clinics at 641-472-4156.  



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American Migraine Foundation. (n.d.). Migraine types. Retrieved from 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2021). Cluster headache information page. Retrieved from 

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Sinus headache. Retrieved from 

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Menstrual migraine. Retrieved from