What are the Common Causes of Headache?

Headache is a common medical issue we experience; regardless of gender or age, we will encounter it at some point in our lives.


Headache is a common medical issue we experience; regardless of gender or age, we will encounter it at some point in our lives. Causes may vary from stress, fatigue, etc. Headache may also be a symptom or sign for another disorder or disease, like depression or high blood pressure.

The headache may occur in any area of the head. It may occur on one side or in multiple areas of the head. It may appear from mild to a searing pain that may last from a few hours to days. We may also encounter headaches that develop gradually in some symptoms.

Most common headaches aren’t serious and non-threatening and may only be the result of stress or pressures from our daily activities. Its treatment can be as simple as relaxation; focusing your mind on calmer thoughts and engaging in a relaxing activity.

If the headaches persist and other symptoms start to appear, contact your doctor immediately. The headaches may be a cause of a more serious and even life-threatening medical condition.


When determining the cause of headache, it is classified into two groups:

Primary Headaches

It means that this type of headache is not caused by other symptoms. It is the result of tensions in the structures in your head that is pain-sensitive. The tensions are likely triggered by an external stimulus, for example, pressures or stress from daily tasks.

Neurotransmissions in your brain, blood vessels or nerves, and muscle tissues in the head and neck area are factors that cause primary headaches. In some cases, primary headaches can also be hereditary that affects the frequency of headaches in some people.

Lifestyle is a contributor to headache; stress at home or pressures at work causes tensions in your head but this type of headache very manageable. Other factors are lack of sleep or change in sleep patterns, skipping meals, alcohol, posture, and processed foods high in nitrate.

Common types of primary headaches include:


it may last for a few hours, days, or even appear as episodes—where symptom unexpectedly reappears. According to studies made by the National Neuroscience Institute, this symptom is more common to women than to men. And it’s even more frequent during menstrual periods.

Migraine symptoms:

  • Nause
  • Pulsating pain in any area of the head
  • Irritability especially to noise, certain smell, and lights
  • Headache may be concentrated on particular or multiple areas of the head.
  • Discomfort resuming daily tasks

Cluster Headache

A rare type of headache, only 0.1 percent of cases in the United States and this type of headache appears to be more common to men than women and affecting males in their 20s.

Cluster headache symptoms:

  • Pain is usually concentrated on a particular area near the eye; causing redness and teary eyes.
  • Headache episodes may even occur in the middle of the night when the person is fast asleep.

Tension Headache

The most common type of headache that may have occurred often during our lifetime; this type of headache is non-threatening and is caused by ordinary pressures from our daily lives. Studies show that ninety percent of adults worldwide are affected by this type of headache and interestingly, studies also show that it is more common to women than men and among people in high stressed environments.

Tension headache symptoms:

  • The pain is like a tight rubber band around your head. The pain is specifically distributed in the eyebrow area.
  • Pain is mild and may go away just by winding down.
  • May occur frequently especially if the individual is placed under constant stress and pressure.

There are types of headaches that are classified as primary though it may have underlying symptoms like:

  • Chronic headaches that occur frequently.
  • Unusual headaches triggered by coughing and during exercising.
  • Unusual headaches triggered by sexual intercourse, especially during orgasms.

Secondary Headaches

It means the cause of the headache was induced by another disorder or disease. In other words, the effect of headache is part of a symptom of a disorder or disease.

Secondary headaches can be differentiated from primary headaches by analyzing the characteristics of the headache, physical examinations, and other symptoms that are present at the same time. These tests will be used by your doctor to evaluate your condition and look for any signs of unidentified disease or disorder.


  • Visual problems
  • Speech difficulty
  • Stiffness in the neck area
  • The sudden occurrence of headaches, commonly known as the thunderclap headache.
  • Triggers headache during bowel movements or doing simple movements like bending down or chewing.
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

Some of the possible factors causing secondary headache may include:

  • Flu or fever
  • Panic attacks
  • Head trauma
  • Blood clots in the head
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • High blood pressure

An individual must seek medical support if the headache worsens and other symptoms start to appear. It may be a sign of a severe condition that needs immediate medical attention

Types of headaches

There are over a hundred kinds of headaches; some of these types were already mentioned earlier like migraine, tension, thunderclap, and cluster headache.

Listed below are some cases of headaches:

  • Sinus headaches. This happens when your sinuses get inflamed due to infections, commonly to allergic reactions. The tissues inside your sinuses swell and activating its defense mechanism which produces thick mucus; the mucus that blocks the airway passage and inflammation causes from mild to severe headaches concentrated in the forehead area near the nose.
    Other symptoms include fever, hearing problems, runny nose, and swelling in some parts of the face.
  • Posttraumatic headaches. This type of headache happen from a head trauma injury and will usually start three days after the head injury. The individual may experience fatigue, irritability, memory problems, vertigo, and feeling of lightheadedness.
  • Hormonal headaches. Usually it happens and common to women during menstrual cycles, menopause, and pregnancy.
  • Spinal headaches. Another term used for this type of headache is the post-dural-puncture headache. Patients who have undergone anesthetic injection in the spinal area are at risk of spinal headache. According to research, about 40% of patients experienced headaches after the anesthetic process in their spinal. It is caused by a complication in the insertion of the needle in the spinal causing fluids to leak from the punctured area.

Symptoms of spinal headache include severe headaches, dizziness, hearing problems, nausea, vision problems, and pain in the neck area.

If you’ve undergone anesthetic procedures in your spine and experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to remedy your condition.

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