What sort of Headache do I Have?


Headaches “the most common complaint of humanity”, affecting approximately two thirds of the population. Headache pain can range from slight discomfort to pain that is absolutely debilitating, lasting from minutes to days, even months to years. Approximately 70% of all headaches are musculoskeletal, other less common causes may be eye strain, sinusitis, dental or jaw problems, alcohol, medication, dehydration, illness and very rarely a serious medical condition.


Cervicogenic Headaches

These are the most common form of headaches. There are seven vertebrae within the cervical spine. The nerves among these vertebrae have strong associations with the main nerves in the head that are involved with pain. Cervicogenic headaches are associated with joint or muscular dysfunction, or inflammation within the cervical spine, as well as poor posture and/or degeneration of the neck.

These headaches may present as:

  • Pain & tension in the neck
  • Pain, ache and pressure in the forehead and back of the head
  • Tension in the temple and jaw area
  • Pain that is made worse with sustained and repeated postures (especially sitting) and movement of the neck
  • A headache with a feeling of light headedness or dizziness
  • Pain usually on the same side of the head as neck pain


Tension and Emotional Headaches

Tension Headaches are another common type of headache and are often caused by a bad night’s sleep, stress and emotional strain. Like cervical headaches, these headaches usually stem from increased muscle tension at the base of the skull or in the neck and shoulders. They cause aching, tightness, pressure, and pain around the forehead, temples, or back of the head and neck. These headaches generally last for 30 minutes to several hours or even days.

Migraine Headaches

Approximately one-third of people who have migraine headaches first began having them as teenagers. Migraines are painful, throbbing headaches that last from 4 to 72 hours. When you have a migraine, it may be so painful that you are not able to do your usual activities.

Migraine symptoms include:

  • Pulsatile/throbbing pain in the head
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbances (aura)



Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. The headaches appear suddenly and cause severe, debilitating pain on one side of the head. Scientists aren’t sure what causes the disorder. The tendency of cluster headaches to occur during the same time(s) from day to day, and more often at night than during the daylight hours, suggests they could be caused by irregularities in the body’s circadian rhythms, which are controlled by the brain and a family of hormones that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.


There are over 150 different types of headaches, so it is important to determine the nature and type of headache that you have.