Headaches come in various types but are often grouped into three major categories: tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Other types of headaches have undering organic causes, such as sinus congestion or infection.

Tension Headaches

Approximately 90% of all heads are tension headaches, characterized by a dull, steady pain, usually on both sides of the head. It may feel as though a band of pressure is tightening around the head, and the pain may extend to the neck and shoulders. Acute tension headaches may last from hours to days, while chronic tension headaches my occur almost every day for months or even years. Psychological stress, poor posture and immobility are the leading causes of tension headaches. There is no cure, but the pain can be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers and with therapies such as massage, relaxation, hot or cold showers and rest.

If your headaches are frequent, keep a diary with details about the events surrounding each one. Are your headaches associated with late nights, academic deadlines, or long periods spent sitting at a computer? If you can identify the stressors that are consistently associated with your headaches you can begin to gain more control over the situation. If you suffer persistent tension headaches, you should consult your physician.


Migraines typically progress through a series of stages lasting from several minutes to several days. They may produce a variety of symptoms, including throbbing pain that starts on one side of the head and may spread; heightened sensitivity to light; visual disturbances such as flashing lights; nausea; an fatigue. About 70% of migraine sufferers are women and migraine headaches may have a genetic component. Research suggests that people who get migraine symptoms. Potential triggers include menstruation, stress, fatigue, atmospheric changes, specific sounds or odors and certain foods. The frequency of attacks varies from a few in a lifetime to several per week.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are extremely severe headheads that cause intense pain in and around one eye. They usually occur in clusters of one to three headaches each day over a period of weeks or months, alternating with periods of remission in which no headaches occur. About 90% of people with cluster heads are male. There is no known cause of cure for cluster headaches, but a number of treatments are available. During cluster periods, refrain from smoking cigarettes an drinking alcohol because these activities can trigger attacks.