Different Kinds Of Headaches

Different Kinds Of Headaches
Written by Nancy

Most of us have encountered one or the other form of a headache in our lives. Headaches are uncomfortable, throbbing sensations in the head that range from mild to severe. While mild headaches are somewhat bearable, severe headaches disrupt a person’s daily routine.

Here are a few common types of headaches encountered.

Cluster Headaches

Symptoms of cluster headaches include severe pain and burning behind one eye or on a particular side of the face. This is often accompanied by swelling, flushing, and redness. Patients may also experience eye tearing or nasal congestion on the affected side.

Cluster headaches often occur in a sequence, with every headache period lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. Most patients get between 1–4 headaches a day when a sequence of clusters occurs, with each headache following the previous one with short intervals. Often, these headaches can occur each day for several months for some patients.

While the cause of cluster headaches is unknown, doctors can effectively alleviate its symptoms by oxygen therapy or local anesthetics. Your doctor may also prescribe you corticosteroids, topiramate, calcium channel blockers or melatonin to relieve your pain for some time period.

Tension Headaches

Symptoms of tension headaches include a persistent dull pain all around the head. Often, this occurs with tenderness around the shoulders, neck, scalp, and forehead areas.

These are primarily triggered by tension or stress and can happen to anyone.

Simple over-the-counter pain medication can alleviate the symptoms of tension headaches. These include:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Naproxen

Sometimes, these OTC medications fail to provide relief in tension headaches. In this situation, your doctor will give you prescription medication including, meloxicam or indomethacin, etc. However, if your tension headache becomes chronic, your doctor will devise a different treatment plan to treat the underlying issue.


In 2010–2011, 8.3% of Canadians were diagnosed with migraine by a healthcare professional.

Migraine pains are characterized by intense throbbing deep inside the head. This pain can last for several days and significantly disrupts the patient’s daily routine. Migraines usually occur on one side of the head and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Patients experiencing migraines become sensitive to sound and light.


Migraine patients also complain of visual disturbances known as auras. Auras include:

  • Shimmering lights
  • Flashing lights
  • Stars
  • Blind spots
  • Zigzag lines

Auras may include difficulty speaking and tingling sensations in your arms or face.

Migraines can be a result of a genetic disposition or caused by certain environmental factors such as exposure to harmful chemicals, dehydration, sleep disruption, hormonal fluctuations, skipped meals, and more.

While OTC pain medications can be used for alleviating migraine symptoms, if the conditions become severe, your doctor might prescribe triptans. These are drugs that change the blood flow in the brain and reduce inflammation.

Are you dealing with one of these debilitating headaches? Head over to the Divergent Health in Calgary.

Their Chronic Pain Program and expert healthcare professionals will help you in the treatment of your headaches. Divergent Health is also a chiropractic specialist, sports injury clinic, and physiotherapy clinic in Calgary.

Contact them for further information.

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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