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Headaches : Types, Symptoms, Treatment 

Thinking Man on Couch

Headache is a common condition that involves pain or discomfort in the head, face, or neck. There are many types and causes of headaches, and they can vary in how often they occur and how severe they are. Some headaches are primary, meaning they are not caused by another medical condition. Other headaches are secondary, meaning they are a symptom of an underlying condition or a result of certain factors.

Types of headache 

Headaches are mainly of two types 

  1.  Primary (then headache itself is a disease ) 

  2.  Secondary (Caused by some other diseases like trauma, infection)

Primary Headaches are more common 

Common  Primary headaches 

Suffering from Headaches 

Three types of Primary Headaches are more common and disabling daily life. 

They are - 

  1. Tension type headache 

  2. Migraine 

  3. Cluster headache  

Symptoms and treatment options for Migraine, Tension type Headache and Cluster Headache



Symptoms of Migraine 

Migraine headache usually starts from one side of head then it may sometimes involve the whole head.

Occurs commonly in women,

Pain is usually throbbing or pulsating in nature. Sometimes it may be associated with typical aura.  Avoidance from light and sound is usually observed. Usually associated with  nausea and vomiting.  Pain attacks may lasts for 72 hours. Pain intensity is usually moderate to severe.

Treatment for Migraine 

Initial Management - 

To  prevent migraine attacks  medicines. like  Flunarizine , Propranolol, Divalproex sodium , Topiramate  are used as per the requirements and associated conditions of the patient. 

The following drugs are used to abort / stop the attacks - 

Pparacetamol, Ergotamine , Sumatriptan  ​depending on need and physical condition of the patient . 

When Migraine is not relieving with medicines the following treatment is done - 

Botox injection for resistant chronic migraine. 

tension type headache


Symptoms of Tension Type Headache 

Tension type headache usually starts as a pressured or band like sensation around head. 

The pain usually do not increases on day to day daily activities.  Pain may last 30 minutes to 7 days.

The pain may be aggravated by stress , sleep disturbance or fatigue . 

Tension type headache is the most common primary headache . 

Treatment for Tension Type Headache  

Most of the times it responds with common analgesics like common pain killers like aspirin and paracetamol. 

In come resistant and non remitting cases preventing medications like low dose anti depressants and anxiolytics are required 

When Tension Type Headache is not relieving with medicines the following treatment is done - 

Occipital Nerve Blocks 

cluster headache


Symptoms of Cluster Headache

Cluster headache unlike other headaches is more common in males . It is associated with severe one sided pain in head or behind one eye. The pain is very severe intensity, and may be associated with redness of eyes, nasal stuffiness, excessive sweating, or  puffiness  in one side of face, There may be eyelid swelling and increased tearing . 

Treatment for Cluster Headache  

Treatment for abortion / stopping acute attacks 

Custer Headaches can be aborted by  oxygen inhalation, 100% oxygen 7 L / minute via a face mask , sumatriptan, sublingual

To prevent the attacks Verapamil or prednisone is used . 

When Cluster Headache is not relieving with medicines the following treatment is done

Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment of
the Ganglion Pterygopalatinum

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