Headache: All about its causes, types, symptoms, treatment

- Physiotherapist

What is Headache

Headache comes from a mixture of signals from your brain, blood vessels, and nearby nerves. Certain nerves in your blood vessels and head muscles send pain signals to your brain.

When we are suffering from a headache, nothing else feels good. Tension and Migraine type of Headache is the commonest among all kinds of Headache in the world population. 

Headaches have become a common company in our daily lives. This ‘headache’ is one of the main reasons a person’s performance and working hours are affected.

Causes of Headache

Pain along the head and neck is known as a headache. Inflammation and tension of the blood vessels around the brain and bone lining, nerve lining, muscles under the scalp, eyes, sinuses, ear and neck muscles, etc., are the main causes of headaches. 

There are about two hundred types of headaches in medical science. Each Headache has its specific cause. Many people have the misconception that Headache means hypertension or brain cancer. That is not true.

Migraine pain felt on one side of the head. Again tension-type pain is usually all over the head. Cluster headaches are inside the eyes, and sinus pain is on the side of the nose and inside the forehead.

Headache is a common ailment of all ages and is more common in women. Mainly headaches are of two types: primary and secondary headaches. There is no apparent cause for primary headache disorders. It is thought to be an interplay between genetic predisposition and environmental stimuli. The most common of these is Migraine.

Primary headaches:

  • Migraine
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Cluster headaches and other trigeminal neuralgia cephalalgias
  • Other primary headaches.

Secondary headaches:

  • Headaches are responsible for head and neck injuries.
  • Cranial or uterine vascular disorders cause headaches
  • Due to intracranial vascular disorder
  • Any infection causes a headache
  • Mental disorders cause headaches.

Several factors can trigger migraines and other types of headaches (for example, tension headaches). Here is a list of products and treatment problems that can cause headaches, including migraines. (This is not a complete list).

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Exposure to bright fluorescent light and flashing or strobe light
  • Smells like perfumes, collagen, industrial compounds
  • Sleep problems
  • Smoking
  • Head injury
  • Motion sickness
  • Experience rapid environmental change (e.g., heat to cold)
  • Allergies
  • Red wine
  • Caffeine
  • Nitrate-rich meat
  • Artificial sweetener

The triggers for migraines and other headaches are highly variable and unique to each individual.

Types & Symptoms of Headache

Tension-Type Headache 

Tension-Type Headache(TTH) is a very common headache that occurs all over the head and lasts all the time, even if it is not very intense. It was as if someone had tied the whole head tightly with a rope or a towel. This pain does not increase with movement. However, the pain is less in the morning and increases as the day progresses. Fatigue, exhaustion, sleep disturbances increase this pain.

1. There is pain all over the head. 

2. The pain feels like a strain or band.

3. The pain is not as severe as Migraine. The patient can do all kinds of activities with pain, but the pain cannot be felt during work, but the Headache comes back again after finishing the work.

4. Usually, there is no nausea or vomiting with the Headache. 

5. Tension headaches can last from a few hours to a few days. These headaches are related to anxiety, family or professional and emotional stress.

Migraine Headache

The second Headache is Migraine. Girls suffer more than boys. Unlike TTH, it does not chirp all the time but stops, and it gets more and more intense.

It seems as if someone is beating his head with a hammer after a while. The pain is exacerbated by light and physical exertion, so the patient loves to lie quietly in a dark room. Migraines may remain from a few hours to a few days. 

1. There is pain on either side of the head.

2. Headache can last from 4 hours to 72 hours. 

3. Pain is felt when a blood vessel (artery/vein) constricts/expands or throbs.

4. The pain is very intense, and only rest at this time.

5. Light or sound increases the intensity of pain. Before the onset of pain, the patient can see the arrival of Migraine by seeing the light dancing in front of the eyes, crooked lines, etc.

Cluster headache

Usually, this pain is along with the eyes. There is a fixed time, and several times a day. In cluster headaches, the eyes become red, watery eyes fall, and there is a slight disturbance in the eyesight. Day and night are followed by a certain time; that’s why it is called cluster headache.

1. Transients are repeated. 

2. The pain is extremely intense.

3. There is pain around the eyes or in the back.

4. The eyes become red and watery. The upper eyelids may fall off.

5. The pain occurs simultaneously every day or several times a day and lasts for several weeks. Then the pain goes away, and after a few months/years, the pain starts again.

Sinus Headache

There are small holes on both sides of the nose and in the bones of the forehead. These are called sinuses. It contains air, and this air balances the weight of the brain.

Inflammation of the lining of these sinuses inside the bones causes accumulation of air and cold, known as sinusitis pain called sinus headache. Sinusitis pain features cold, sneezing, and coughing.

  1. Pain on forehead, eyebrow.
  2. Nostrils feel blocked from breath in and out
  3. Throbbing type pain
  4. Pain increases while the head moves forward and downward.

Chronic daily Headache or Periodic Headache

Every day of the month, tingling type headaches are called chronic daily headaches.

Girls often have headaches due to hormonal differences in the body. This is called a hormonal Headache. This pain occurs due to a decrease in the hormone estrogen during or after menstruation. In addition, there are headaches during pregnancy and hormonal differences.

  1. Scalp feels painful to touch.
  2. Dull or throbbing type pain on the head region
  3. Feverish feel on forehead/ whole body.
  4. Hypersensitive to light causes increase of Headache

Sexual headaches

Husbands and wives may have headaches during or before intercourse. Its name is Sexual Headache. This type of pain is usually caused by increased blood pressure in the brain due to intense exertion. This pain is not very intense.

However, suppose there is a sudden onset of severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting. In that case, you must seek medical attention, as the pain is exacerbated due to vascular defects (aneurysms/malformations) and can often lead to stroke and death.

Although there is a rhythmic fall in the union of husband and wife without exorcism, there are many headaches. Usually, the pain is more in girls. This pain is not given much importance. 

  1. Dull-type pain in the head and neck region when sexual excitement arises at peak level.
  2. Throbbing pain while orgasming along with swelled up veins on forehead, especially men.

Mental stress-induced Headache

Headaches are a common disorder caused by stress. This pain is usually felt over the head, on the sides of the forehead, and below the neck. This type of Headache is felt due to more pressure on the muscles, more physical and mental exertion. It is possible to get rid of it by staying away from excessive stress and getting moderate rest.

  1. Hammers like feeling on head or neck region
  2. Neck and chest muscles become stiff and paining
  3. It feels pressure like band wrap on the head 
  4. Eye and eyebrows feel weighty and throbbing.

Headache associated with Maldigestive function

Headaches can also occur due to digestive disorders. This happens due to the effect of food taken many times. On the contrary, headaches are also felt due to hunger. Also, food allergies can cause headaches. If such symptoms occur frequently, you should modify your diet plan.

Caffeine induced Headache

Excessive tea or coffee drinking causes headaches as well as frequent refusal to drink tea or coffee.

Psychogenic Headache

Sometimes headaches occur for no apparent reason. Even if you are just upset, you have a headache. This is called psychogenic pain, and there are psychological causes for this psychological pain. This pain can never be cured without psychiatric counseling.

Migraine vs. Tension Headache


Migraine is a type of vascular Headache. Migraine headaches result in vasodilation (enlargement of blood vessels) and chemical secretions from the nerve fibers coiled around the blood vessels.

In a migraine attack, the temporal artery becomes enlarged. (Temporal artery is an artery located just below the skin of the temples. The chemicals in the outer part of the skull cause inflammation, pain and further increase the arteries. Increasing the arteries increases the pain.

Tension Headache

The incidence of tension headaches is about 90% of all headaches. Most people experience it at some point in their lives. These headaches are often associated with fatigue and stress and usually respond to common measures such as rest or over-the-counter medications. 

Sl.Comparable issuesMigraineTension Headache
1.Pain characteristicsIntense palpitation and throbbing  painIntense palpitation and throbbing  painPain like numbness and pressure in the head. It can also create a feeling of pressure, like the sensation caused by placing a tight band on the head or around the neck.
2.GenderWomen suffer three times more than that of Men.Young girls suffer more tension headaches than women because of the hormonal fluctuation rate.
3.Area of painDeep stabbing pain around the eyes.The pain is usually generalized, with more painful areas on the scalp, forehead, temples, or back of the neck. Usually bilateral.
4.Intensity of painModerate to severeLight to moderate
5.Duration of painLong; Headaches gradually peak in about 4-24 hoursThe pain develops slowly, fluctuates in intensity, and can last for several days
6.Triggering factorsBright lights, loud noises, changes in sleep patterns, exposure to smoking, avoiding food, etc.Stress
7.Vomiting tendencyPresentUsually not present

Diagnosis of headaches

Proper diagnosis is mandatory to get the right treatment for any headache, either primary or secondary Headache. A doctor will note down detailed history regarding the intensity of pain, duration, frequency of Headache to make a treatment plan for Headache, whether it is Migraine or another type of Headache.

History taking of Headache

  1. At what age do your headaches start
  2. Since when you are suffering from a headache
  3. How often you are bearing your head pain
  4. What factors trigger headaches ( certain situations, foods, or medications) 
  5. Any family history of headaches
  6. Do you feel more headaches while your school or work at the office
  7. Where the pain is located in the head and neck region
  8. How do you describe the nature of your pain
  9. How severe is the Headache? Scale is from 0 to 10 
  10. When Headache increases either day or night
  11. Is there any change in vision like a blind spot or bright light before the Headache starts
  12. What medications are you taking at present?
  13. Do you feel that Headache makes your appetite worse gradually and weight loss occurs?
  14. Is there any vomiting tendency during or after the Headache
  15. Do you get exercise regularly
  16. What kind of food do you take in meals
  17. Is there any known food allergy
  18. Have there any sleep disturbance
  19. Total sleeping duration at night
  20. Are you under stress in personal, family/social, or working environment 

Physical and Neurological examination of Headache

As the doctor has a detailed history, he will perform physical and neurological examination to identify the problems that make your Headache.

  • Blood pressure check
  • Any kind of Infection 
  • Nausea, vomiting 
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mental stress
  • Any fit or Seizures
  • Feel tired
  • Drowsy and reluctant 
  • Physical weakness
  • Sensation problems like touch, smell, sound
  • Verbal communication level
  • Coordination and balance 
  • Any Vision abnormalities like double vision, blind spots. 

Neurological tests have been performed to sort out any problem in the brain or nerve that causes Headache or Migraine. 

Physical and neurological tests can reveal any tumor, cancer, or neurological diseases causing your Headache or Migraine. In addition, the psychological performance examines the origin of the cause of Headache.

A radiological investigation like X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, and EEG can confirm Headache diagnosis further.

When Headache requires to See a doctor / Red flags

Headaches are a known health problem. A lot of times, we don’t care. Some headaches are a symptom of complex diseases. If left unmanaged, they can be left astray and lose the right path.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says almost half of the world’s elderly experience a headache once a year. There is no reason for a headache. More than 90% of benign headaches are not complicated or harmless.

Sufferings from headaches at some point are very common among us. Headaches can also be caused by dehydration, allergies or overwork, and excessive fatigue. No one bothers about it until they feel a headache.

Here are some common red flags or danger signs of headaches:

* Persistent, permanent headaches in people over fifty

* Sudden severe Headache (Patients may also say that their headaches are so severe that they appear to have been struck by lightning)

* Frequent more severe headaches than before

* Fever, rash, and stiff neck

* HIV or cancer patient new headache

* Headache in sneezing or coughing

* Hands or feet become immobile

* Severe Headache after head injury

* Any part of the body to become numb or weak

* Headaches as well as eye problems

* Contradictory speech or loss of consciousness

* Severe headaches in pregnant women

In many cases, head pain will resolve itself as the underlying problem improves if the pain persists or hampers performing your daily tasks.

Some underlying causes need to be treated before the symptoms stop appearing.

Treatment of Headache

Treatment of head pain will depend on the underlying cause. The most common treatment options include:

Over-the-counter medications

Aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce head pain until underlying problems are resolved. Decongestants can ease the symptoms of a sinus infection or runny nose.


When you have a history of migraines or any headache, your doctor may prescribe medication to ease the symptoms of this Headache.


For people with migraines, resting in a dark room with a cool compress can ease the Headache. 


The injectable drug sometimes provides relief to people who experience frequent head pain.

Alternative Therapy

  • Acupuncture is used to treat frequent and recurrent headaches.
  • Mobilization technique. This type of physical therapy can help relax muscles that have become stiff due to tension.
  • Physical therapy helps you cope with any physical trauma or injury that has led to forehead pain. They use Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation(TENS) for headaches which are FDA approved.
  • Surgery might require (rarely) to correct a problem such as an aneurysm that causes forehead pain.

Natural remedies for Headache 

If you suffer from a headache attack, you must first change your diet and get more rest. If you have chronic migraines, drink early compressed carrot, turtle, or spinach juice more often. You can mix carrot, dandelion, and spinach juice in a three to one ratio. This drink should be taken three times before meals.

If the Migraine starts because your brain has been active for a very long time, you can eat a whole herring. With frequent headaches, you can use different folk remedies. To get rid of the Headache, you need to pour it into a piece of egg and a glass. The top should be topped with high-quality milk, so drink the water by dipping in the resulting water. So you have to do it all day for a few days until you realize that you can get rid of the Headache.


Any tea plays a very beneficial role in case of Headache due to cold. Or, if there is chronic pain in the palate of the head, the help of an ice bag helps reduce the Headache. First, learn how to reduce headaches by using hot things.

What are things needed?


Tea leaves – like quantity

Sugar – 1 tsp

Water – 1 cup

How to use it?

Boil tea leaves sugar in water and makes hot tea.

Now try to eat it while it is still hot.

And try to take its hot steam through the nose.

It will give relief in case of Headache due to cold.


Ginger plays an important role in reducing headaches. 


Ginger – one to two inches

Water – one cup

How to use it?

Make ginger into small pieces and add to a cup of water.

Now boil the water for a few minutes.

Then turn off the stove.

Now put this mixture under the fan and let it cool down a bit.

Now drink it like tea in hot conditions.

It can be eaten twice daily in the morning and the afternoon. Ginger will ease headaches due to congestion of the head or blood clots in the head, or any other problem.

Mint leaves

Mint juice is one of the most popular home remedies for uncomfortable headaches. Menthol and mentioned ingredients in mint leaves play a major role in relieving headaches. It also creates a kind of relaxing situation in the body, which gives some relief from headaches.


Mint leaves – a handful.

How to use it?

Take a handful of mint leaves and soak them in water.

After that, take those mint leaves from the water.

Now pour the mixture directly on the forehead, where the tendency of pain is more.

You can also make mint leaf tea and eat it.

In this case, you can make tea with seven or eight mint leaves and half a teaspoon of honey in one cup of water.

It will also play an important role in reducing headaches.

Basil leaves

Many times headaches are seen as a result of a cold or cough for a long time. In this case, Tulsi plays an important role in reducing such headaches. The antibacterial properties of basil relieve headaches.


Basil leaf- five or six.

Water – one cup

How to use it?

Boil five or six basil leaves in a cup of water.

Keep boiling until the watercolor is light green.

Then cool down and drink this warm water.

Now you will see that it is slowly giving peace to the head, and if there is a problem with the cough, it will continue to come out.

Use it twice a day.

What will happen as a result?

If you have a cold and Headache, then Tulsi will help to reduce it. It will also help to expel the accumulated mucus as a liquid.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil works like magic in tension headaches.

Peppermint oil – three drops


Coconut oil or any other carrier oil – 2 tbsp

How to use it?

One to two tablespoons of any oil and add two to three drops of peppermint oil to it. In the beginning, your sensation might feel a little bit different. After a few minutes, it will certainly soothe your Headache for sure.

Prevention from Headache

There are some ways to prevent headaches by keeping you healthy.

1) Sleep: Sleep well for eight hours daily. Because if the body does not get proper sleep, then the body will not get the rest it needs. Only headaches, if the body does not sleep properly, will cause many diseases. You need to sleep well for at least 8 hours daily.

2) Oil massage: Two to three days a week, any oil mustard oil or coconut oil should be heated and massaged well on the head. Proper oil massage on the scalp increases blood circulation to the scalp and creates a comfortable situation. So to reduce headaches, you must massage the oil on the head three days a week.

3) Drink enough: Drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. Wake up in the morning on an empty stomach, drink plenty of water before meals and 30 minutes after meals. When the body drinks enough water, the body can receive adequate oxygen. As a result, oxygen reaches different parts of the body properly.

4) Rest: You need to rest at least 8 hours daily or take a short break between work. If you are constantly working in front of the computer, then go for a walk from time to time. Have a cup of coffee or go outside and take a deep breath. Constant work can cause headaches. So walk for two minutes every forty-five minutes without working continuously, drink water.

5) Eye power test: Those who wear glasses should go to the doctor once every three months or six months to check the power of the eye. Because many times if the power of the eyes increases or decreases, if you wear the same glasses continuously, the problem of Headache may occur.

6) Listen to music: If you get a headache while doing monotonous work, listen to a light song with headphones or run a box in the room. Listening to songs will change the mindset, and the brain will also get temporary relief. As a result, the Headache will continue to decrease.

7) Yoga Exercise: Get up in the morning at least five days a week and do any yoga exercise for twenty to thirty minutes or walk for 15 minutes if possible. Suppose you can do yoga exercises in the morning. In that case, you can stay disease-free and increase blood circulation, which keeps the body healthy and disease-free. 

8) Reduce tension: Stress causes headaches. To get rid of headaches, first of all, you have to reduce tension and any anxiety. Must have peace of mind. So stay away from tension.

9) Stay away from the sun: Do not go out in the sun. Because of the heat of the sun and those who have migraine problems can get headaches or problems like dizziness. So it is better not to go out in the sun too much.

10) Avoid strong odors: Avoid perfumes, incense sticks, or any strong odors because all these smells can cause headaches. So before using perfume, make sure that it has a light scent.

Headache is a disease that keeps our whole body busy. So from today’s report, you already know how to solve headaches at home or what methods to use to stay away from headaches. So adhere to these from today, then the Headache will stay away from you. However, in case of excess, it is better to seek the help of a doctor. Therefore, if the Headache does not go unnoticed and reaches an exaggerated stage, you must consult a doctor. 

FAQs on Headache (Frequently Ask Questions)

1. What is the best medicine for headaches?

General pain-relieving drugs such as Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Naproxen are the first-line treatments to reduce headaches.

2. What does a Covid headache feel like?

Due to Covid-19, your Headache feels intense and pulsing like a sensation. The pain intensity occurs moderately to severely around the head and lasts three to five days.

3. What should we do during a headache?

You can take a rest in the dark or low lightroom. Drink lukewarm green tea with ginger added to it. Take a gentle oil massage on your head and take paracetamol to reduce the intensity of the Headache. If anything above isn’t able to stop your Headache, immediately consult with your family physician.

4. What foods could cause headaches?

Certain foods can cause headaches, such as excessive caffeine, alcohol, chocolates, artificial sweetener, and allergic foods.

5. How do I know if my Headache is serious?

Serious signs of Headache if you have:

  1. The onset of sudden, moderate pain on your head is like a thunderclap headache.
  2. Headache and neck become stiff.
  3. High-grade fever where body temperature is more than a hundred four degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Severe Vomiting tendency and frequent vomiting.
  5. Nasal bleeding and feeling drowsy.
  6. Less consciousness.
Dr. Abid Kabir
Dr. Abid Kabirhttps://healthuan.com
Mohammad Abid Kabir is a licensed Physical Therapist in Bangladesh. He has vast clinical experience in treating critical patients on Orthopedic, Neurological, Geriatric, Pediatric, and Sports injuries. He is also a Public Health specialist with an emphasis on Disability issues and healthcare management. His post-graduate thesis was a KAP study on “Disability. “ Recently, he involves in Respiratory rehabilitation for Post-Covid-19 patients. He has been consulting on Medical, Health & Fitness issues for 14 years. Being passionate about Professional Blogging, Content Writing, and SEO works, he has been consulting for around ten years on Global media and the International market places.


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