Headaches – Common Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

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Headaches are not a new term for many people. More often, many of us feel that 

Monday morning is a headache as there is a whole week of work ahead.

Young boys and girls have a real headache in keeping their hairstyle intact.

A headache is a common health condition that most people experience several times during their life. But do these scenarios describe headaches?

Basics of headache

Having a headache can be more complicated than most people can realise. For various reasons, different kinds of headaches can make a person exhibit various symptoms. The primary symptom of a headache is a pain in the forehead or face.

Unique headaches require unique treatments. Once a doctor identifies the type of headache a person has, they can suggest the necessary treatment to help prevent complications and manage side effects.


What are the common causes of headaches?

The pain we feel during a headache can arise as a result of chemical signals between the blood vessels, brain and nearby nerves. Nerves can send alerts to the brain causing headaches.

Some of the common causes of headaches are as follows.

Illness and injury

Illness includes cold, infections and fevers that are common with throat or ear infections.  Sometimes, headaches can result from such illness and injury that signify a more severe medical problem.


Headaches like migraines can run in families. Most people who have migraines will have other family members who get them.


Emotional stress or depression accompanying alcoholism, skipping meals and disturbed sleep cycle or medications can cause anxiety. Stress can cause headaches. It can also be a side-effect of back strain due to poor posture.

The environment

Environmental factors, including chemicals or perfumes or smell from an unknown source, secondhand smoke, allergens and foods causing pollution, can trigger headaches.

Healthcare professionals find it challenging to track the exact cause of migraines. In some instances, too much physical activity can also trigger migraine in grown-ups.

Some of the other triggers include

  • Changes in eating or sleeping pattern
  • Emotional stress
  • Back strain
  • Noise and weather changes.

What are the symptoms of a headache?

Headache and its symptoms can vary depending upon the cause.

Tension headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and can be

  • Continuous without throbbing
  • Mild or moderate
  • Bilateral
  • Responsive to over-the-counter medications
  • Worsened during regular activities like walking or bending.

Migraine headache

Migraine is also a common type of primary headache where the symptoms include

  • Severe or moderate pain
  • Vomiting or nauseating feeling
  • Probing or pounding pain
  • Sensitivity to light or odours.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are common clusters usually during the spring season. They occur multiple times a day and last for a few weeks or months. Cluster headaches can feel

  • Intense with a burning sensation
  • Painful behind the eyes in the eye region
  • Consistent or throbbing.

Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches result from a sinus infection caused by conversion or information in the sinus. The sinuses are open passageways behind the cheeks and the forehead.

Symptoms of sinus headache are as follows.

  • Bad taste
  • Pain in the cheekbones
  • Swelling in the face
  • Fever
  • Pain during head movement and
  • Mucus discharge.

Some of the headaches can make a person exhibit symptoms like overall body weakness, dizziness, loss of balance, numbness or a feeling of tingling paralysis, speech difficulties and mental confusion.

How is your headache diagnosed?

Only if the headaches get diagnosed correctly, a person can start with the right treatment plan for the symptoms and effectively manage them.

Consulting a doctor about the headaches is advised. A doctor or a healthcare provider will perform a physical examination and question the symptoms a person has and how often they appear.

After the examination, a doctor will identify a list of things that can cause headaches and worsen them. Based on the information a person gives, they can track down the root cause of the problem and formulate a treatment plan to manage the symptoms.

Typically, most people do not require a particular diagnostic test, but at times, a doctor can suggest a CT or MRI scan to look for problems inside the brain that can cause headaches.

A doctor can refer the patient to a headache specialist if the symptoms worsen over time and repeatedly occur after treatment.

headache diagnosis

Treatment of headaches

A doctor can formulate various treatments or refer a headache specialist to develop a personalised treatment plan.

The type of headache treatment a person receives largely depends upon the type of headache, frequency and cause.

Some people do not require medical help but manage the symptoms with home remedies or over-the-counter medications. However, others can visit a doctor for medication, electro-medical devices, counselling, stress management or biofeedback.

Once a person begins the treatment program, it is crucial to track how well or effectively it is working. Even though the treatment proves effective, a person should stay clear of what triggers headaches.

Avoiding particular food or smell, sticking to a healthy lifestyle, and feeling good can also play an essential role in treating headaches.

Regular follow-ups are essential to know when we progress in the treatment program. It is also important to squeeze in enough rest and eat healthily to avoid specific triggers of headaches.

Home remedies like massage and caffeine intake can reduce headaches. Sometimes people put a hot or cold compress on the head area and give themselves enough rest in a quiet place to counter headaches.

There is limited research supporting the treatment through home remedies for headaches.

Remembering that the key to preventing headaches is figuring out the triggers is important. The triggers vary from person to person.

To sum up

Headache is a common health condition many experiences several times in their lifetime. The main symptom of headache is a pain in the head or face that is continuous or throbbing.

Home remedies and treatments can help manage the symptoms of headaches.


Are headaches hereditary?

Headache is a medical condition that can run in families. Migraines are a type of headache that is commonly found to be hereditary.

Is it possible for one person to have several types of headaches?

Cluster headaches are a common type of headache that can come in a group or cluster.
Such headaches can cause a person to have several types of headaches and even occur several times a day.

What does a compression headache feel like?

A compression headache can cause intense pressure and pain across the forehead and the temples.

How do I relieve a headache?

Hydration restricting alcohol, enough rest avoiding various food, massage therapy, hot or cold application and fast relief can help a person cure headache.

What food helps with headaches?

Foods like bananas, watermelon, nuts seeds and some berries can help with a headache.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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