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Headaches: Types, Causes, Remedies

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 08, 2022

Headaches: Types, Causes, Remedies

Everyone has experienced a headache at one point in their lives. For the most part, dealing with headaches is relatively simple; you just need to lay down, or close your eyes for a bit and the headache goes away. But what should you do if the headache does not go away? Are there any types of headaches to worry about?

What are the types of headaches?

Headaches are categorized into two main types: primary and secondary.

Aside from these two main types, headaches also vary depending on what’s causing the headache, as well as where the pain is located. For the most part, headaches that are extremely painful, or headaches that don’t go away are the types of headaches to worry about.

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are headaches caused by overactivity in the brain, or problems with the muscles, nerves, or blood vessels of the neck. In some cases, primary headaches can also be hereditary. Primary headaches are usually not symptoms of an underlying disease.

Here are some types of primary headaches:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraine
  • Tension headaches

Some types of primary headaches can also sometimes be a symptom of an underlying disease, namely the following:

  • Cough headaches
  • Exercise headaches
  • Sex headaches
  • Chronic headaches that happen on a daily basis

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches on the other hand, are headaches that result from the symptom of a disease. Diseases that cause secondary headaches usually affect the nerves of the head. Some of these are the types of headaches to worry about, so it is important to pay attention to any pain you are feeling. Particularly, if it is intermittent and persistent even after taking medicine.

Here are some possible causes of secondary headaches:

  • Sinus infection
  • Arterial tears
  • Blood clots
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Brain tumor
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Toothache
  • Dehydration
  • Meningitis
  • Ear infections
  • Stroke
  • Panic attacks
  • Glaucoma

There is different manifestation of secondary headache, depending on what’s causing the headache. Some will experience longer, or more severe headache. Location of headache may vary. Visit and consult a doctor if you experience this.

What Causes These Headaches?

The short answer is that, for primary headaches, doctors do not usually know what the specific cause is. However, doctors can rule out the brain tissue and the skull, since these do not have any nerves that can cause pain.

What this means is that it is usually the nerves, blood vessels, or muscles in the head or even in the neck that might be causing the headache.

The causes of secondary headaches also vary depending on what illness is causing the headache. This is why it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a headache, since there are a lot of possible causes.

What Are the Types of Headaches to Worry About?

Headaches are a common occurrence and while some people experience it more often than others, it usually isn’t a cause for concern.

But there are certain types of headaches to worry about, and it is important to know what these are so that you can seek treatment immediately.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Your age is >50
  • Headaches that get worse when you move or cough
  • Headaches that wake you up when you’re asleep
  • Any type of headache that makes you unable to do your daily activities
  • Experiencing a headache after hitting your head
  • Headaches that keep getting worse
  • A severe headache that has never happened before
  • Sudden changes in personality or mood
  • Headaches that happen with fever, stiff neck, weakness, fatigue, numbness, difficulty speaking
  • Headaches with pain in your temples
  • Having a red eye along with a headache

If you experience any headaches similar to any mentioned above, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. It is always a good idea to listen to what your body tells you, especially when it comes to headaches.

Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies

While headaches are caused by different things, there are certain lifestyle changes and home remedies that can help lower the risk of having headaches in general. Here are some things that you can do:

  • Take a break every so often. Working too hard for extended periods of time can cause headaches, so it is important to take a break to clear your head.
  • Be sure to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Sleep lets your mind and your body rest, and gets you ready for the day ahead.
  • If you are constantly stressed, try and find time to relax and de-stress. Stress can put your body under a lot of strain, and it is not a good idea to always be stressed out.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Having a healthy diet leads to a healthy body, and can help lower the risk of conditions such as hypertension that can cause headaches.
  • Engage in daily exercise. Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day can help keep your body strong, and also regulates your bodily functions. However, if your headaches are triggered by exercise, it would be best to do it in moderation.
  • If you feel any strange symptoms or experience a sudden, severe headache, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Headaches that come suddenly are a genuine cause for concern, and it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about it to make sure that it is nothing to worry about.
  • If you are working in a dangerous environment, be sure to wear head protection such as a helmet. This is also true if you engage in sports such as rugby, or boxing.
  • Drinking tea can sometimes help manage the pain that headaches cause.

Key Takeaways

Everyone experiences headaches, and they can be frustrating to deal with especially if you don’t even know the cause. However it is important to not dismiss any strange symptoms, or severe headaches, since these can be a sign of an underlying condition.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you think that there’s something wrong. At the end of the day, it’s still better than just ignoring the symptoms only to find out later that you already have a serious health problem.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Dec 08, 2022

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