HEADACHE DISEASE

More than just a common occurrence

There are over 150 different headache types. Migraine disease or cluster headache may not be what you’re experiencing. Learn about symptoms, treatment options and more.

Headache Types You Should Know About

The following is a sampling of the more than 150 headache types. You can see our full glossary of terms here

1

Post Traumatic Headache

OVERVIEW: This is localized or generalized pain. It can mimic migraine or tension-type headache symptoms. It usually occurs on a daily basis. Headaches are frequently resistant to treatment. Pain can occur after relatively minor traumas; however, the cause of the pain is often difficult to diagnose. 

TREATMENT: Use of anti-inflammatory drugs, propranolol or biofeedback

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

   
3

Hemicrania Continua

OVERVIEW: Hemicrania means one side of the head, and continua means continuous. As the name implies, hemicrania continua is a one-sided headache that is daily and continuous. It’s a primary headache disorder, which means nothing else causes it. A similar but separate disorder, paroxysmal hemicrania, also includes a one-sided headache; however, this disorder causes five or more attacks of severe pain that last up to 30 minutes a day. People with paroxysmal hemicrania usually have no pain between these attacks. Those with hemicrania continua always have some level of pain. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two disorders. The main difference is the duration of pain. Hemicrania continua needs to be present for at least three months before doctors can confirm a diagnosis.

 

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

5

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

OVERVIEW: This is a condition that occurs when pressure inside the skull increases for no obvious reason. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is most common in obese women of childbearing age. The symptoms mimic a brain tumor; however, no tumor is present. They may include headache behind the eyes, ringing in the ears in time with the heartbeat, and brief episodes of blindness.

TREATMENT: The first drug is usually a type of diuretic that may reduce the production of spinal fluid. Surgery may relieve pressure. Weight loss can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of complications related to obesity.

 

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

 
7

SUNCT \ SUNA

OVERVIEW: SUNCT is Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform with Conjunctival injection and Tearing. SUNA is Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform with cranial Autonomic symptoms. They include attacks of moderate or severe, strictly unilateral, head pain. The pain lasts seconds to minutes, occurring at least once a day and usually associated with prominent lacrimation and redness of the ipsilateral eye.

 

Learn more about this headache type from MigraineDisease.org

 
2

New Daily Persistent Headache

OVERVIEW: This is best described as the rapid development (less than three days) of unrelenting headache. Typically, it presents in a person with no past history of headache. It does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension-type headache. It begins as a new headache. This may be the result of a viral infection. 

TREATMENT: It can resolve on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory. This does not respond to traditional options; however, anti-seizure medications, such as Topamax or Neurontine, can be used.

 

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

 
4

Tension-type Headache

OVERVIEW: This headache type is a dull, non-throbbing pain. It is frequently bilateral, associated with tightness of scalp or neck. The degree of severity remains constant. These headaches are often caused by emotional stress and depression.

TREATMENT: Rest; avoidance of stress; relaxation techniques; aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium; combinations of analgesics with caffeine; ice packs; muscle relaxants; antidepressants if appropriate; biofeedback; psychotherapy; temporary use of stronger prescription analgesics.

 

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

   
6

Trigeminal Neuralgia

SYMPTOMS: This headache shows up as short, jab-like pain in trigger areas found in the face around the mouth or jaw. Its frequency and longevity of pain varies. It is a relatively rare disease of the neural impulses and is more common in women after age 55. The cause is unknown. There is pain from chewing, cold air, touching the face. If under age 55, it may result from neurological diseases, such as MS. 

TREATMENT: Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants, neurosurgery.

 

Learn more about headache types from the American Migraine Foundation

 
1

Post Traumatic Headache

OVERVIEW: Localized or generalized pain, can mimic migraine or tension-type headache symptoms. Headaches usually occur on a daily basis and are frequently resistant to treatment. Pain can occur after relatively minor traumas, but the cause of the pain is often difficult to diagnose. 

TREATMENT: Possible treatment by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, propranolol, or biofeedback 

Learn More from the American Migraine Foundation

   
2

New Daily Persistent Headache

OVERVIEW: Best described as the rapid development (less than three days) of unrelenting headache. Typically presents in a person with no past history of headache.Does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension-type headache. It begins as a new headache and may be the result of a viral infection. 

TREATMENT: Can resolve on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory. Does not respond to traditional options, but anti-seizure medications, Topamax, or Neurontine can be used. 

 

Learn More from the National Headache Foundation

 
3

Hemicrania Continua

OVERVIEW: Hemicrania means one side of the head, and continua means continuous. As the name implies, hemicrania continua is a one-sided headache that is daily and continuous. It’s a primary headache disorder, meaning nothing else causes it. A similar but separate disorder, paroxysmal hemicrania also includes a one-sided headache, but this disorder causes five or more attacks of severe pain lasting up to 30 minutes over the course of a day.  People with paroxysmal hemicrania usually have no pain between these attacks while those with hemicrania continua always have some level of pain. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two disorders, but the main difference is the duration of pain. Hemicrania continua needs to be present for at least three months before doctors can confirm a diagnosis.

 

Learn More from the American Migraine Foundation

4

Tension-type Headache

OVERVIEW: Dull, non-throbbing pain, frequently bilateral, associated with tightness of scalp or neck. Degree of severity remains constant. These headaches are often caused by emotional stress and depression. 

TREATMENT: Rest; aspirin; acetaminophen; ibuprofen; naproxen sodium; combinations of analgesics with caffeine; ice packs; muscle relaxants; antidepressants, if appropriate; biofeedback; psychotherapy; temporary use of stronger prescription analgesics, if necessary. Avoidance of stress; use of biofeedback; relaxation techniques; or antidepressant medication 

 

Learn More from the National Headache Foundation

   
5

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

OVERVIEW: A condition that occurs when pressure inside the skull increases for no obvious reason.Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is most common in obese women of childbearing age.Symptoms mimic a brain tumor, but no tumor is present. They may include headache behind the eyes, ringing in the ears in time with the heartbeat, and brief episodes of blindness.The first drug usually tried is a type of diuretic that may reduce the production of spinal fluid. Surgery may relieve pressure. 

TREATMENT: The first drug usually tried is a type of diuretic that may reduce the production of spinal fluid. Surgery may relieve pressure. Weight loss can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of complications related to obesity.

 

Learn More from the American Migraine Foundation

 
6

Trigeminal Neuralgia

SYMPTOMS: Short, jab like pain in trigger areas found in the face around the mouth or jaw; frequency and longevity of pain varies. It is a relatively rare disease of the neural impulses and is more common in women after age 55. The cause is unknown. There is pain from chewing, cold air, touching the face. If under age 55, may result from neurological diseases, such as MS. 

TREATMENT: Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants, neurosurgery 

 

Learn More from the American Migraine Foundation

 
7

SUNCT \ SUNA

OVERVIEW: SUNCT and SUNA are acronyms for Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform with Conjunctival injection and Tearing and Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform with cranial Autonomic symptoms. Attacks of moderate or severe, strictly unilateral head pain lasting seconds to minutes, occurring at least once a day and usually associated with prominent lacrimation and redness of the ipsilateral eye.

 

Learn More from MigraineDisease.org

 

Change language. Reduce stigma.

The language used by medical experts, the media, the public, and stakeholders of this community can greatly impact how people living with headache diseases are perceived and treated. This, in turn, affects the resources society makes available to support the community’s pain and disability.

LEARN HOW TO TALK ABOUT HEADACHE 

Can children have headache disease?

Are you concerned your child might have a headache disease? Learn about the symptoms of migraine and headache diseases in children, how to spot them, and other tips to help you and your child.

LEARN MORE AT MIGRAINE AT SCHOOL