Types of Headache

About 95% of headaches are primary headaches, meaning they’re not caused by an underlying medical condition. Other headaches, called secondary headaches, arise from medical disorders like swollen sinuses, head injury or tumors.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)1

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Back to: « Headache

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Certain types of headache run in families. Episodes of headache may ease or even disappear for a time and recur later in life. It's even possible to have more than one type of headache at the same time.

Headaches can range in frequency and severity of pain. Some individuals may experience headaches once or twice a year, while others may experience headaches more than 15 days a month.

Headaches are called chronic in nature when they occur more than 14 days a month. Some headaches may last for weeks at a time. Pain can range from mild to disabling and may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea or increased sensitivity to noise or light, depending on the type of headache.

Source: NINDS (NIH)2

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Headache Types and Their Treatment

The International Classification of Headache Disorders (www.ihs-classification.org/en/), published by the International Headache Society, is used to classify more than 150 types of primary and secondary headache disorders. The major types are discussed below.

Source: NINDS (NIH)3

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Primary Headache Disorders, including Migraine

Primary headaches occur independently and are not caused by another medical condition. It's uncertain what sets the process of a primary headache in motion. A cascade of events that affect blood vessels and nerves inside and outside the head sends pain signals to the brain. Brain chemicals and inflammatory molecules are involved in creating head pain, as are changes in nerve cell activity (called cortical spreading depression in the case of migraine headaches).

Primary headache disorders are divided into four main groups: migraine, tension-type headache, cluster headache and trigeminal autonomic cephalgias (a group of short-lasting but severe headaches), and a miscellaneous group.

Source: NINDS (NIH)4

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Headaches affect millions of Americans. The three most common types of chronic headache are migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches. Each comes with its own telltale brand of pain.

Source: NINDS (NIH)5

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There are four types of headache: vascular, muscle contraction (tension), traction, and inflammatory.

Vascular headaches include "cluster” headaches, which cause repeated episodes of intense pain, and headaches resulting from high blood pressure,and toxic headache produced by fever.

Muscle contraction headaches appear to involve the tightening or tensing of facial and neck muscles.

Traction and inflammatory headaches are symptoms of other disorders, ranging from stroke to sinus infection.

The most common type of primary headache (not caused by another medical condition) is migraine. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and, at times, disturbed vision. Women are more likely than men to have migraine headaches.

Source: NINDS (NIH)6

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Different types of headache include:

Source: New Zealand Health7

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Types may include:8 Types of Headache:


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Types of Headache may include:9 Types of Headache:

  • Slit Ventricle Syndrome

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Types of this condition include:10 Types of Headache:


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Types of this condition include:11

Types of Headache:


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Types of this condition may include:12 Types of headache:

Categories of Headache

Categories for Headache may include:13 Category of Headache:

  • Abnormality of nervous system physiology

Categories of Headache

Categories for Headache may include:14

Category of Headache:

Categories of Headache

Categories for Headache may include:15 Category of Headache:

Categories of Headache

Categories for Headache may include:16 Category of Headache:

Categories of Headache

Categories for this condition may include:17 Category of headache:



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References

  1. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2008/ June/ docs/ 01features_02.htm
  2. Source: NINDS (NIH): ninds.nih.gov/ disorders/ headache/ detail_headache.htm
  3. ibid.
  4. ibid.
  5. Source: NINDS (NIH): ninds.nih.gov/ disorders/ chronic_pain/ detail_chronic_pain.htm
  6. Source: NINDS (NIH): ninds.nih.gov/ disorders/ headache/ headache.htm
  7. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ headache
  8. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  9. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  10. Source: Monarch Initiative
  11. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  12. Source: SYMP Ontology
  13. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  14. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  15. Source: Monarch Initiative
  16. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  17. Source: SYMP Ontology

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.