Oh my aching head! Nearly everyone has had a headache. The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don’t get enough sleep, miss meals or use alcohol.
Other common types of headaches include migraines, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. Most people can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax and taking pain relievers.
Headaches can have many causes, but serious causes of headaches are rare. Sometimes headaches warn of a more serious disorder. Let your health care provider know if you have sudden, severe headaches. Get medical help right away if you have a headache after a blow to your head, or if you have a headache along with a stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness or pain in the eye or ear.


  • Tension-type headaches
  • the pain is usually mild or moderate and is usually felt as a pressure (tightness) on both sides of the head,
  • the pain is constant and pressing (can be described as a tight band around the head) and can build gradually throughout the day,
  • the pain is not aggravated by routine physical activity,
    there may be a feeling of pressure behind the eyes and a tightening of the neck muscles,
  • the headache is not associated with nausea or vomiting or an unusual sensitivity to light or sound,
    mostly they last a few hours or so, and
  • the headache normally comes on during the day.
  • Cluster headaches
  • the pain is extremely severe but the attack is relatively short, lasting no more than an hour or two (often less than an hour),
  • the pain starts quickly, without warning, and is often described as excruciating,
    the pain always affects one side of the head, is centred around one eye, and generally affects the same side in subsequent attacks (although it does move to the opposite side in some people), and
    inflammation and watering from the eye, and a blocked nose on the affected side of the face are common.
  • The attacks of pain are clustered in groups (often 1 to 3 attacks per day, although there can be more) that usually last for a few weeks to a couple of months, and are usually followed by a pain-free gap for months or years (the average is one year). Although 10% of people have chronic cluster headaches where the attacks occur regularly without significant intervals without pain.
  • The headaches often occur at the same time each day during a cluster, with many people saying that they are being woken within around 2 hours of going to sleep, at the same time each night. Or they are woken early in the morning. However, they can also occur during the daytime.

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