Headache Chart | An Complete Overview

What is Headache Chart?

A headache chart compares every type of headache that includes the pain location, symptoms, precipitating factors, and more information. 

A headache chart helps to diagnose the headache type, severity as well as helps to interpretation for better treatment. 

 

What is Headache? 

Headache can be defined as having pain or an unusual sensation in our head. 

A headache can be felt in any part of our head. It can be in front of the head, top of the head, back of the head, and sometimes all over the head. 

Headache Pain Types

The pain of a headache can be described as;

  • Throbbing pain
  • Pounding pain
  • Dull ache
  • Pressure pain 

The Complete Headache Chart

Allergy Headache

Causes

An allergy headache usually occurs when the sinuses are being infected. 

Symptoms

  • Generalized headache
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mouth breathing
  • Watery eyes

Triggering Factors

External allergens such as;

  • Pollens from trees
  • Molds
  • Grasses
  • Weeds
  • Ragweed
  • Spores

Others

  • Stress
  • Smoking

Home Remedies

  • Apply warm moist cloth over your face 3-4 times a day
  • Take water vapor
  • Drink enough water
  • Spray saline water into your nose by consulting with a doctor
  • Flush sinus and nostrils by consulting with a doctor

If the first three home remedies do not work for you, talk to your doctor. 

Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe you some medications, which may include;

  • Antihistamine medications
  • Nasal sprays
  • Desensitization injections

Food-related allergy usually doesn’t cause allergy headaches. If it occurs, the doctor may advise you to carry EpiPen for anaphylactic shock. 

Prevention

There is not enough evidence of prevention yet. 

Read Headache on the top of the head

Aneurysm

Aneurysm headache is often confused with cluster headache and migraine because it mimics them. However, an aneurysm can lead to stroke. 

It can cause unconsciousness because of blood leakage (hemorrhage) in the brain.

Causes

It occurs due to weakness of an intracerebral artery that leads to rupture. Usually, the balloon-like weakness of the cerebral vessel is congenital (present from birth). 

Symptoms

  • Mimics migraine and cluster headache
  • May stroke occurs and leads to leakage of blood all of a sudden
  • Extreme headache
  • Rigid neck
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of balance
  • Double vision
  • Dropping eyelid
  • Rapid unconsciousness

Treatment

  • Surgical clipping to stop the leakage
  • Endovascular coiling (a surgical procedure for treating the ruptured vessels)
  • Flow diversion method

An aneurysm can be life-threatening if not treated. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys here. 

Diagnosis

  • CT Scan
  • CSF Test
  • MRI
  • Cerebral Angiogram

Prevention

Control your blood pressure and maintain a balanced lifestyle. 

 

Caffeine-Withdrawal Headache

Many people drink coffee or caffeinated beverages regularly. When somebody suddenly stops drinking coffee, that causes a headache, known as caffeine withdrawal headache. 

These are very mild headaches and lasts for a short period, such as one or two days.  

Causes

Suddenly stop drinking coffee or caffeinated beverage or lowering the dose of caffeine causes rebound dilation of the blood vessels. 

Symptoms

  • Throbbing headaches occurring multiple days after taking a large amount of caffeine
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mild depression
  • Irritability

Precipitating Factors

  • Caffeine
  • Caffeinated beverages

Treatment

  • OTC pain medications
  • Using topical peppermint oil
  • Drinking enough water
  • Taking enough rests
  • Using Ice packs
  • Stimulating pressure points

The severe cases are treated by terminating the consumption of caffeine. 

Prevention

Avoid taking excess amounts of caffeine. 

 

Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache (CGH) is a chronic type of headache that arises from atlanto-occipital and upper cervical joints spread to multiple regions of the head and face. 

Causes

As the cervicogenic headache arises from the neck, some conditions of the neck can trigger this type of pain such as;

  • Injury to the neck
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Malformation of the cervical vertebrae
  • Whiplash injury
  • A prolapsed disc in the neck
  • Falling and injury can cause this type of headache 

Symptoms

  • Pain in one side of the head or face
  • Pain around eyes
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain around neck, shoulder, and arms
  • Nausea
  • Vision disturbance
  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound

Triggering Factors

  • Any conditions of the neck
  • Congenital problems
  • Dehydration
  • Stress

Treatment

Acute Conditions

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen. 

Severe Conditions
  • Nerve blocks
  • Physical therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Neuromodulation surgery

Prevention

The occurrence of this type of headache cannot exactly be prevented. You can modify your sleeping style and habit positively. 

  • Don’t sleep on a very high pillow
  • Stay safe during sports or physical activity to avoid injury

Chronic Daily Headache

Chronic daily headache refers to any type of headache that occurs more than 15 days in a month for six months or more. 

Causes

Multiple factors are responsible for chronic daily headaches. Some of them may include;

  • Stress
  • Medication overuse
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Brain tumor
  • Inflammation in the brain
  • Infections such as meningitis
  • Brian injury
  • Obesity
  • Caffeine
  • Genetic causes

Symptoms

Any time of headache occurring 15 days or more in a month for six months and the duration of the headache is about four hours or more. 

Precipitating Factors

  • Transformed migraine
  • Tension headache
  • Extreme physical activity
  • Extreme mental activity
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Female sex
  • Snoring

Treatment

Treatment depends on the type of chronic daily headache. In addition, lifestyle modification and avoiding pain medications are necessary. 

Prevention

  • Avoid taking over-the-counter pain medications more than two days a week without consulting the doctor.  
  • Reduce taking caffeine and, if possible, completely avoid taking coffee. 
  • Reduce stress by doing yoga and meditation
  • Eat healthy foods and lose weight if necessary
  • Try relaxation therapy for stress control (avoid medications)
  • Get enough sleep (7-8 hours in a day)
  • Follow the instructions provided by your doctor
  • Talk to your doctor details about your headache and lifestyle

Chronic Migraine

Having a headache 15 or more days in a month while at least eight days the headache type is migraine and the duration of the occurrence of headache is at least for three months is defined as chronic migraine. 

Causes

  • Episodic headache progressed over time
  • Medication overuse
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Snoring or mouth breathing
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • History of trauma

Symptoms

  • Headache occurring 15 days in a month for at least three months while having migraine type of headache at least for 8 days in a month.
  • Moderate to severe headache
  • Headache increases during physical activity or movement
  • Throbbing pain
  • Hypersensitive in light and high volume sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
Symptoms of migraine headache infographics

Precipitating Factors

  • Taking excessive pain medications
  • Suffered from physical or mental trauma
  • Obesity

Treatment

Treatment procedure includes lifestyle modification, medications, etc. 

Lifestyle Modification
  • Losing weight
  • Starting exercise
  • Control stress by meditation or other ways without medication
  • Avoid skipping the meal and try to take the meal at a fixed time every day
  • Drink enough water
Traditional Treatment
  • Treating pain by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
  • Treating associated symptoms including nausea and vomiting
  • Using advanced treatment techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Prevention

The prevention technique of chronic migraine is known as a preventive treatment of chronic migraine. 

Preventive treatment consists of some prescription medications that may include;

  • Beta-blockers
  • Angiotensin blockers
  • Trycyclic antidepressants
  • Anti-convulsants
  • Flunarizine
  • Onabotulinum toxin A
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide

Cluster Headache

Cluster headache is considered the most painful headache. It occurs in cyclical patterns and is painful enough to awaken you from sleep at midnight. 

Cluster headache strikes at night
Cluster headache strikes at night

Causes

The exact cause of cluster headache is still a subject of study. However, according to some experts opinion, it occurs due to disturbance in the biological clock of a person. 

Symptoms

  • Excruciating pain in or around an eye
  • One-sided pain
  • Exessive tearing
  • Restlessness
  • Nose congestion
  • Flushing of the eye
  • Pain occurs mostly in the eye
  • It occurs every day for months to years
  • Facial sweating on the affected side
  • Pale skin
  • Dropping eyelid on the affected side

Risk Factors

  • Sex: Males are more affected than females. The ratio is about 4:1
  • Age: It occurs mostly in the age between 20 to 50 years
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Family history

Treatment

Over the counter, NSAIDs are not effective in case of cluster headaches. The primary treatment plans include;

  • Sumatriptan Injections: it is given twice a day. 
  • Intranasal application such as nasal spray
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Ergotamine
  • Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (advanced method)

Prevention

  • Avoiding triggering factors
  • Preventive medications such as steroids, ergotamine, calcium channel blockers, lithium

Depression Headache

Those suffering from headaches can experience a phase of depression, and at the same time, a depressed person can suffer from migraines or because of their depression. 

Causes

People suffering from chronic diseases are more likely to be depressed. 

Depression can lead to primary headaches such as migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. 

Secondary headaches can occur due to head injury. 

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of tension headache (dull headache like a band of rubber around the head)
  • Symptoms of migraine (throbbing headache including photosensitivity, nausea, and vomiting)
  • Symptoms of cluster headache (severe in one side of the head or face, appearing mostly at midnight)

Precipitating Factors

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Medication overuse
  • Dehydration

Treatment

Depression must be treated because it’s hard to treat headaches while someone is suffering from depression. 

Psychotherapy, counseling, meditation may help in some cases. 

Prevention

  • Trycyclic antidepressants
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)

Friends and family can play a vital role in taking someone out of stress and depression. 

 

Eyestrain Headache

Eyestrain headaches occur when your eyes are tired because of overuse. 

It happens when you try to focus on a bright or dim light for too long. Using a computer or phone for a long period can lead to eyestrain headaches. 

Causes

  • Prolonged use of digital screens such as computers, phones, etc. High brightness or low brightness, poor posture can lead to eyestrain headache rapidly. 
  • Prolonged focus on a single task such as a long drive, reading a book, working on a long project, etc. 
  • Vision impairment – myopia, hypermetropia, and other vision disturbance put pressure on your eyes.
  • Too bright or dim lights.

Symptoms

  • Sore eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Vision disturbance (temporary blurred vision)
  • Photosensitivity
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Sleepiness

Precipitating Factors

  • Muscle imbalance
  • Vision disturbance
  • Astigmatism

Treatment

  • Correction of the vision disturbance by spectacles
  • Giving eye some rest while working
  • Using artificial tears in case of dry eyes
  • Using NSAIDs for pain relieve

Prevention

  • Giving your eyes some rest every 20-30 minutes
  • Do not stare at something without blinking. Blinking helps to keep your eye moisture enough. 
  • Avoid too bright or too dim screens
  • Avoid looking at screens at night (or dark)
  • Avoid using prolong contact lenses
  • Avoid using the screen too close; keep a minimum distance of 25 inches. 

Exertional Headache

Exertional headaches occur during or after extreme physical activity or strenuous exercise such as running, jumping, tennis, swimming, weightlifting, football. 

Causes

The exact cause of exertional headache is still a matter of study. However, according to some studies, during exercise, the blood vessels inside our skull get dilated. 

Other causes may include;

  • Bleeding in any area of the brain
  • Abnormality of vessels inside the brain
  • Tumors
  • Obstruction
  • Sinusitis
  • Congenital anomaly of the head, neck, or other structures

Symptoms

Primary Headache
  • Throbbing headache
  • Headache occurs during or after strenuous exercise
  • Headache on both sides of the head
Secondary Headache
  • Symptoms of primary headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Rigidity of neck

Triggering Factors

  • Exercise on a hot day
  • Exercise at a high altitude
  • Family history of migraine 

Treatment

  • The treatment plan depends on the cause. 
  • Multiple tests may be given to diagnose the cause exactly. Any rupture, bleeding, or abnormality in the blood vessels must be treated surgically. 
  • Indomethacin, propranolol may be prescribed by the doctor.

Prevention

  • Avoid strenuous exercise in a day, especially outside
  • Drink enough water
  • If you are prone to exertional headache, then avoid risk factors
  • If any specific activity triggers your headache, avoid it
  • Drink saline if you sweat a lot

Fasting Headache

While you are fasting because of your busy work schedule or you don’t care about taking a meal at a time, you may experience a little mild headache. 

Causes

There are multiple causes of fasting headaches. 

  • Hypoglycemia: During the fasting period, our blood glucose level decreases. Glucose is the fuel that is used by our body organs for functioning. 
  • Caffeine withdrawal symptoms
  • Dehydration (also known as thirst headache)
  • Stress

Symptoms

  • Headache in the frontal head
  • Mild to moderate intensity
  • Headache occurs during several hours of fasting
  • The headache goes away within 72 hours of eating and drinking enough water

Triggering Factors

  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Hot temperature

Treatment

  • Liquid foods and fruit juice
  • IV glucose
  • Fructose containing foods and drinks
  • Oral saline

Prevention

  • Drink enough water
  • Eat more frequently in less quantity
  • Take enough glucose and salt
  • Consume enough vitamins
  • Drink less caffeine

Fever Headache

Headache is quite a common symptom associated with fever. Fever can give you mild to moderate headaches. 

Causes

  • Allergies
  • Cold and flu
  • Covid-19
  • Bacterial infections
  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Meningitis
  • Heatstroke
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Medications
  • Vaccinations
  • Cancers

Symptoms

Generalized pain in the head is associated with headaches. 

Precipitating Factors

Mainly infections trigger the headache. 

Treatments

  • Over the counter pain medications for pain relief
  • Antibiotics for infections 
  • Some specific medicines for flu control
  • If the headache and fever are from covid-19, then the course of treatment is provided from covid protocol. 

Prevention

  • Maintain a hygienic lifestyle
  • Inhale fresh air
  • Avoid living in congested areas
  • Drink enough water

Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis is characterized by the inflammation of the lining of the artery. Usually, it affects the arteries of your head. 

It’s also known as temporal arteritis. 

Causes

Giant cell arteritis causes inflammation of the lining of the arteries, eventually causes swelling of the blood vessels. 

The swelling narrows the blood vessels and therefore reduces the oxygen and nutrients supply. 

Any large or medium-sized artery can be affected, but mostly the arteries of the temples are affected. That’s why it’s also called temporal arteritis. 

Symptoms

  • Severe and persistent head pain in the temporal area
  • Tenderness of the scalp
  • Jaw pain when you are chewing 
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Vision disturbance
  • Sudden loss of one eye vision

Risk Factors

  • Age: the giant cell arteritis occurs mainly only in adults and mostly between 70 to 80 years. 
  • Sex: Women are more likely to be affected by giant cell arteritis than men. 
  • Race: White people are more affected by giant cell arteritis. 
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica: Those who are suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica are more prone to giant cell arteritis. 

Positive family history

Treatment

The primary treatment of giant cell arteritis is a high-dose corticosteroid drug. It is used immediately to prevent vision loss. 

The doctor may provide this drug even before confirmatory diagnosis by biopsy. 

Gradually the doctor will lower the dose, and you’ll start to feel better. 

The doctor may also prescribe immune-suppressive drugs. 

Prevention

There is not enough data available about the prevention of giant cell arteritis. 

 

Hangover Headache

Headache is a common symptom that arises the next morning of a hangover or the night of hangover. 

Causes

Excessive drinking is the principal cause of hangover headaches. This is because alcohol causes dilation and irritation of the blood vessels of the brain, heading to the brain or surrounding brain. 

Symptoms

  • Migraine like headache characterized by throbbing pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • It usually occurs on both sides

Precipitating Factors

  • Alcohol
  • Not enough sleeping
  • Smoking
  • Drugs

Treatment

  • Vitamin B6
  • Over the counter NSAIDs (pain medications)
  • Drinks containing glucose and fructose
  • Eating fruits
  • Prescription drug N-acetyl-cysteine

Prevention

  • Do not drink excess alcohol
  • Avoid drugs
  • Avoid concentrated alcohol mixtures
  • Make sure you eat something 

Headache Attributed To Infection

Headache is a common symptom of infections. It can occur by multiple mechanisms, and various reasons can co-exist in a single person. 

Causes

  • Infections can cause damage to the blood vessels and other intracranial structures
  • Infections can irritate the nerves and stimulate the pain center.

Symptoms

  • Diffuse headache
  • Moderate to severe intensity headache
  • Fever
  • Signs of infection may present
  • Irritation
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Pain all over the head and face sometimes

Precipitating Factors

  • Infections
  • Existing medical conditions
  • Immunosuppressive diseases
  • Unhygienic lifestyle

Treatment

  • Pain medications such as aspirin
  • Antibiotics for treating infections

Prevention

There is not enough data available about the prevention of giant cell arteritis. 

 

Hemiplegic Migraine

Hemiplegic migraine is a rare condition where the person experiences migraine and weakness in one side of the body (hemiplegia).

Causes

The cause of hemiplegic migraines is mainly genetic. 

Familial Hemiplegic Migraine

Abnormal variation of three genes is responsible for familial hemiplegic migraines. 

  • Variations in the CACNA1A gene are responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine type 1.
  • Variations in the ATP1A2 gene are responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine type 2.
  • Variations in the SCN1A gene are responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine type 3.
Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine

This type of hemiplegic migraine inherited from the parents or some individuals may show de novo variations in one of the three genes. 

Symptoms

  • Stroke like symptoms
  • Severe throbbing pain
  • Pain is often in one side of the head
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis in one side of the body
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Slurring of speech
  • Blurring of vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Auras
  • Photosensitivity
  • Sound and smell sensitivity

Triggering Factors

  • Certain foods
  • Certain colors
  • Bright light
  • High pitch sound
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Stress
  • Head trauma

Treatment

The course of treatment for hemiplegic migraine may include;

  • Modification of food to avoid triggers
  • Regular exercise
  • Having enough sleep
  • Magnesium. Topiramate, valproic acid supplements
  • The doctor may prescribe calcium channel blockers
  • Triptans to prevent severe complications

The treatment would be provided in the hospital for monitoring. 

 

Hunger Headache

Hunger headache occurs when you have not eaten enough and often strikes before mealtime while you experience stomach rumble. 

Causes

Hunger headache occurs due to glucose and water deficiency mainly. The causes of hunger headache may include;

  • Dehydration stimulates the pain centers.
  • Low caffeine intake: It occurs when you are used to taking 3 to 4 cups of coffee every day and suddenly missed to take any. 
  • Meal skipping: Our brain cannot work without glucose. Constant glucose supply is necessary for functioning. If you skip a meal, there is not enough glucose in the body to work perfectly. 

Symptoms

The symptoms of hunger headache are quite similar to tension headache. 

  • Dull pain
  • Feeling like a tight band around your head
  • Feeling pressure in forehead and side of your head
  • Stiffness in neck and shoulder
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling cold
  • Shakiness

Precipitating Factors

  • Strenuous diet
  • Skipping meal
  • Low calorie and low carbohydrate diet

Treatment

  • Taking enough food containing protein and carbohydrates
  • IV glucose
  • Fruits
  • Enough water

Prevention

  • Do not skip meals
  • Drink enough water
  • Maintain balanced diet
  • Eat frequently in low quantity

Hypertension Headache

Hypertension headache associated with high blood pressure. It occurs with the most intensity in the morning and gradually diminishes throughout the day. 

Causes

Hypertension headache mostly occurs in severe hypertension while the systolic pressure is over 200 and the diastolic is over 110. 

Symptoms

  • Feeling like a hairband wrapped around the head
  • Pain is severe in the morning
  • Pain is very low or not present in the evening

Precipitating Factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Tension
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Treatment

  • Treating the high blood pressure with proper medications
  • Over the counter pain medications for headache
  • Reducing caffeine intake
  • Anti-stress treatment

Prevention

  • Maintain an ideal blood pressure level
  • Regular exercise
  • Meditation and yoga may help you to relieve stress
  • Drink enough water
  • Have enough sleep
  • Gradually reduce caffeine intake

Menstrual Headache

The menstrual headache usually occurs before or during the menstrual period of a woman. However, it can occur every month. 

menstrual headache can occurs in every month

Causes

The main reason behind menstrual headaches is the variation of estrogen level in ovulation time.  

Symptoms

  • Migraine like symptoms
  • Mild to severe intensity
  • A cold or warm feeling
  • Photosensitivity
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Pallor (pale color skin)
  • Nausea and vomiting

Triggering Factors

  • Strong smell
  • Too bright light or too high volume
  • Exercise or physical activity
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Treatment

  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, fenoprofen, etc. (NSAID treatment should start two or three days before the period starts)
  • Triptans such as almotriptans, eletriptan etc. 
  • Other medications may include beta-blockers, ergotamines, etc. 

Note: Consult with your doctor, and do not try any medication without consulting a doctor.

Prevention

  • Biofeedback
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • NSAIDs

Migraine with Aura

Migraine with aura is also known as classical migraine that occurs simultaneously or after some time of a sensory disturbance. 

The sensory disturbance may include; 

  • Bright light
  • High volume sound
  • Strong smell etc. 

Causes

A migraine with aura is caused by an electrical or chemical wave that moves across your brain. 

The symptoms of migraine are depended on which pathway the electrical or chemical wave passes through. 

Symptoms

  • Slurring of speech
  • Blurring of vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in any part of the body
  • Blind spots

These signs usually diminish within 30 minutes and replace by a severe headache. 

Precipitating Factors

  • Genetic component
  • Certain foods
  • Menopausal or hormonal pills
  • Hunger and thirst
  • High or different altitude
  • Weather
  • Bright light
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Treatment

The Earliest Onset of Symptoms
  • Treatment using biofeedback
  • Ergotamine and dihydroergotamine
When Pain Has Begun
  • Ice packs
  • Isometheptene
  • Caffeine
  • NSAIDs (pain medications)
  • Ergotamine
  • DHE injection or nasal spray
  • Steroids

Prevention

  • Treatment with biofeedback
  • Beta-blockers such as propranolol
  • Anti-convulsants such as divalproex sodium
  • Calcium blockers 
  • NSAIDs
  • CGRP monoclonal antibodies

Migraine without Aura

People who experience migraine without aura do not get warning visual or other signs before the headache starts. 

Causes

There is multiple evidence about the cause behind migraines without aura. The causes may include;

  • Dilation of blood vessels of the brain
  • Release of certain substances such as CGRP – calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • Alteration of estrogen during menstruation

Symptoms

  • Pain in one side of the head
  • Throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Photosensitivity
  • High sound intolerance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain and full-body discomfort

Precipitating Factors

  • Genetic component
  • Certain foods
  • Menopausal or hormonal pills
  • Hunger and thirst
  • High or different altitude
  • Weather
  • Bright light
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Treatment

  • CGRP inhibitors such as eptinezumab (CGRP inhibitors works for migraine prevention as well as acute migraine)
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen
  • Triptans such as sumatriptans
  • Anti-emetics
  • Dihydroergotamines
  • Dexamethasone
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs
  • Anti-convulsants

Prevention

  • Treatment with biofeedback
  • Beta-blockers such as propranolol
  • Anti-convulsants such as divalproex sodium
  • Calcium blockers 
  • NSAIDs
  • CGRP monoclonal antibodies

New Daily Persistent Headache

A new daily persistent headache starts suddenly without any warning and continuous for more than three months. 

Causes

  • Meningitis (infection of the brain)
  • Head injury
  • Blood clots

Symptoms

  • It occurs suddenly in a person and gradually increases the intensity
  • There is no history of past headache
  • Headache may present on both sides of the head
  • It may be similar to tension headache or migraine

Precipitating Factors

Certain infections affect the brain and other sensory and motor centers. 

Treatment

A new daily persistent headache itself may be cured after few months. The course of treatment may include;

  • Antiseizure or anti-convulsant drugs such as gabapentin, topiramate, etc. 
  • Muscle relaxant drugs such as tizanidine.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, etc. 
  • Trycyclic antidepressants.
  • Triptans such as sumatriptans.
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Prevention

  • Antiseizure or anticonvulsant medications
  • Topamax
  • Neurontine

Post-Traumatic Headache

When a headache occurs within seven days of a head injury, then it’s called a post-traumatic headache. 

Causes

A post-traumatic headache usually develops because of muscle tensed up during an injury. Your blood vessel may constrict due to the injury and fails to supply enough blood to your head. 

Symptoms

  • Pulsing or throbbing headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble in concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Photosensitivity
  • Mood swing
  • Depression

Precipitating Factors

It occurs due to minor trauma, but the diagnosis is often difficult. 

Treatment

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen.
  • Pain medications acetaminophen. 
  • Triptans such as sumatriptans. 

Symptomatic treatment may include;

  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Nerve stimulation

Prevention

Take enough precautions to avoid injury and trauma. 

 

Sinus Headache

Sinus is air-filled space underneath your forehead, cheekbones, and behind the nose. 

Sometimes they got infected and filled with infectious fluid. As a result, the channel that drains those sinuses get blocked. This condition causes pain that feels like a headache. 

Causes

  • Infections
  • Nasal polyps
  • Anatomical deformities
  • Congenital anomaly

Symptoms

  • Headache that mimics migraine and cluster headache
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling fullness of ears
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the face

Triggering Factors

Sinus headache is a consequence of sinusitis. Certain allergens can cause sinusitis. 

Seasonal allergies such as rhinitis, hay fever can often play a role. 

Prevention

There is no specific prevention for sinusitis or sinus headache. However, a hygienic lifestyle, breathing in fresh air may help. 

 

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Headache  

The temporomandibular joint is a complicated joint that can cause headaches. The TMJ headache often radiates to the neck also. 

Causes

There isn’t enough data for the exact cause of the TMJ headache. Some muscles and tendons run along with the joint. They can cause pain. 

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge type of joint and sliding movements are required for jaw movement. Because of this complex structure, it can cause headaches and also some other symptoms. 

Symptoms

TMJ headache shows some associated symptoms along with headache. 

  • Tight facial and jaw muscles
  • Facial pain (jaw pain)
  • A clicking sound while opening or closing the jaw
  • Jaw movement restricted
  • There’s a change in your biting

Precipitating Factors

  • Poor bite
  • Chewing hard foods
  • Stress
  • Jaw clenching

Treatment

Lifestyle Changes
  • Avoid hard foods
  • Reduce stress and stay relaxed
  • Avoid uneven jaw movements
Doctor Prescribed Treatment
  • OTC pain medications
  • Stabilization splint
  • Treatment for teeth grinding
Surgical Treatment

The malocclusion may need to be surgically treated if the condition is severe. 

Prevention

Lifestyle and food habit changes may help. 

 

Tension Headache

Tension headache is one of the most common types of headache. It occurs behind your eyes, head, and neck. 

You may experience a tight band wrapped around your head. 

Causes

Tension headache is caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck region. 

The cause of muscle contractions may include;

  • Stress
  • Certain foods
  • Certain activities

Symptoms

  • Dull head pain
  • Pressure around head and forehead
  • Tenderness in the forehead and scalp
  • Non-throbbing pain
  • Bilateral pain
  • The intensity of pain remains constant

Triggering Factors

  • Alcohol consuming
  • Dry eyes
  • Eyes overuse
  • Smoking
  • Fatigues
  • Cold or flu
  • Sinusitis
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Poor posture
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Skipping meals

Treatment

Over-the-counter pain medications may lead to medication overuse headache. So, the doctor may prescribe;

  • Indomethacin
  • Naproxen
  • Ketorolac
  • Acetaminophen

If pain medication fails to relieve the headache, muscle relaxants may be prescribed. 

For stress management, the doctor may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). 

The doctor may also recommend;

  • Stress management sessions 
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy 
  • Acupuncture

Prevention

  • Stress control
  • Balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Yoga 
  • Avoiding depression

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which provides sensory supply from the face to the brain.

If you have trigeminal neuralgia, then slight stimulation to your face may arise severe pain. 

Trigeminal neuralgia is also known as tic douloureux. 

Causes

The artery and veins running along with the trigeminal nerve put pressure on the nerve and cause trigeminal neuralgia. 

It can also occur due to brain lesions and other abnormalities. 

Symptoms

  • Severe shooting or jabbing pain appears that feels like an electric shock
  • Pain is episodic
  • The pain is triggered by touching the face, chewing, brushing, etc. 
  • The episode of pain lasts from seconds to minutes
  • Several pain attacks may occur in a week or month
  • Pain in the areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve such as cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, etc. 
  • Pain is unilateral
  • Pain becomes severe and intense over time.

Triggering Factors

  • Touching the face
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Shaving
  • Putting makeup
  • Wind blow
  • Smiling
  • Brushing
  • Washing face

Treatment

  • Anti-convulsants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Surgical treatment

Prevention

There is not enough data for the specific prevention of trigeminal neuralgia. 

 

Thunderclap Headache

Thunderclap headaches appear suddenly with severe intensity like a thunderclap. 

This type of pain reaches to highest intensity within a minute and lasts for 5 minutes or more. 

Causes

Some of the thunderclap headaches are not serious. On the other hand, other thunderclap headaches are caused by some internal conditions. 

thunderclap headache can occur due to serious underlying conditions
thunderclap headache can occur due to serious underlying conditions

The causes of thunderclap headaches may include;

  • Ruptured blood vessels in the brain
  • Intracranial hemorrhage (stoke)
  • Brain aneurysms
  • Head injury that causes the brain to bleed
  • Inflammation of vessels (vasculitis)
  • Meningitis and other brain infections
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms

  • Sudden unbearable pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Slurring of speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Vision disturbance
  • Confusion
  • Sensational change

Precipitating Factors

Either the headaches are benign or caused by serious underlying conditions. 

Treatment

You should seek emergency health care if you experience a thunderclap headache. It’s urgent to diagnosis if the headache is benign or there is an internal condition. 

If the doctor finds there is not any internal condition, he may prescribe you some pain medications. 

If there is any vascular condition present, it will be treated surgically. 

Prevention

None. 

 

Tumor Headache

Tumor headaches are not that common. It occurs when there is a tumor in the brain, which puts pressure on accompanying blood vessels and nerves. 

The compressed vessels cannot provide enough blood to the brain, and the compressed nerve stimulates the brain pain center and causes headaches. 

Causes

There are multiple causes of brain tumors. Most brain tumors are transmitted to the brain from other parts of the body. These tumors are known as metastatic tumors. 

Symptoms

  • Pain the progressively intensifies
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Visual disturbance
  • Personality changes
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Pain changes as you change your position
  • Seizure
  • Pain lasts for days to weeks to months.

Triggering Factors

  • Infections
  • Intracranial hemorrhages

Treatment

  • Surgical Treatment
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy

Prevention

None

 

Takeaway

A headache chart contains a brief description of all types of headaches. Therefore, we included a description of every type of headache in the headache chart. 

Read the symptoms and possible causes and talk to your doctor. Do not try any medication all by yourself without consulting a doctor. 

Even taking over-the-counter pain medications can worsen the symptoms. 

 

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