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What Type of Headache Do I Have (And What Can I Do to Feel Better)?

  • Category: Symptoms
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Alex Murray
What Type of Headache Do I Have (And What Can I Do to Feel Better)?
While nearly everyone experiences headaches during their lifetime, understanding the cause of your aching head might not be straightforward. In fact, there are numerous different types of headaches, all with different kinds of symptoms. If you’re wondering how to treat headaches you get, you’ll need to first know what type you’re dealing with. Since 97% of 24 hour urgent care locations operate seven days a week, the staff there will likely be available to help you. While not all headaches will require a visit to a 24 hour urgent care location, some more severe instances (especially if they’re symptomatic of more serious illnesses) might warrant it. Consult this guide and if you’re ever in doubt, head to the 24 hour urgent care location close to you for diagnostic help.

Tension Headaches

In today’s world, tension headaches have become quite common. They’re usually brought on by stress, which is something most Americans are quite familiar with. You’ll usually feel a dull ache (rather than throbbing pain)all around your head. You may also feel tenderness in your neck, shoulders, or scalp.

Chronic tension headaches usually require prescription medications and/or a change in lifestyle to reduce stress, but a one-off tension headache may be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you take a non-caffeinated medicine, caffeine may help as well. However, caffeine consumption can trigger headaches in some people.


If you’ve never experienced a migraine before, you should consider yourself lucky. Migraine sufferers know that this is much more than just a simple headache. There are different types of migraines (some come with no headache at all!), but migraine headaches come with a deep kind of pain that can last for multiple days.

These throbbing aches often come with light and sound sensitivity, and many sufferers will become nauseated or will vomit. Nearly one-fifth of migraine sufferers also experience an aura before the headache sets in. This aura refers to visual disturbances like flashing or shimmering lights, stars, blind spots, or zig-zagging lines. Some people even experience tingling or have problems speaking. (Stokes can also come with some of these symptoms, so make sure to seek medical attention right away if you experience these.) Everyone experiences migraines differently, and each episode is usually different; however, they will usually place severe limits on what a sufferer can do during a day.

Dehydration, lack of food (or certain types of it), hormonal changes, chemical exposure, and sleep disruption can be triggers for many migraine sufferers. Those who know they suffer from frequent migraines can take preventative medications if they feel an aura coming on. Once migraine pain set in, sufferers may take over-the-counter medications like Excedrin Migraine or regular headache pain relievers. If these medications don’t work, your physician can prescribe triptans (which come in pill, injection, or nasal spray form) to decrease inflammation that may lead to migraine headaches.

Cluster Headaches

There is a type of headache that’s even more mysterious than migraines: clusters. Those who frequently wonder what to do about headaches that come at and last for specific times may be dealing with cluster headaches. This aches are severe and are often noted to be a piercing type of pain. They usually occur on one side of the fact at a time; in some cases, swelling, redness, and congestion may occur. Strangely, these headaches can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours but will arrive around the same time of day for a specific period of time (usually for a few months at a time). Many sufferers experience a few of these headaches in a row, but in between these cluster times, they won’t have any symptoms.

Spring and fall are common times of year when sufferers will experience headaches, and men are three times more likely to experience clusters. Unfortunately, doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes them, but many people find relief through oxygen therapy, local anesthetic, corticosteroids, melatonin, and calcium channel blockers.

These are by no means the only type of headaches out there. Sinus and allergy headaches, hormonal headaches, or headaches caused by too much caffeine (or lack thereof) are also common. No matter the cause or type, you can head to a 24 hour urgent care location for diagnosis and potential treatment.