How to Treat Different Types of Headaches

There are different types of headaches, each with different causes and symptoms. Fortunately, most headaches disappear on their own even without the help of medications. Of course, it’s important to know what kind of headache you’re experiencing so you also know when to treat them at home and when to go to the doctor.

Note that there are two main types of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is not caused by a medical condition. Some examples of primary headaches include migraines and tension headaches. On the other hand, secondary headaches are related to medical conditions. For example, you may get a headache if you recently had a head injury. Once it’s healed, the accompanying headache will also go away.

With all that said, here are some of the most common types of headaches and how you can manage them:

Tension Headache

A tension headache is the most common type of headache, usually characterized by a dull or tight pain on the forehead and the back of the head. Sometimes, the pain also extends to the neck. Most cases of tension headaches are often mild to moderate and can be treated by over-the-counter pain relievers.

To make sure you’re always equipped to deal with tension headaches, keep your first aid kit stocked with OTC medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol. For ultimate convenience and guaranteed quality, you can buy online medicine from trusted drugstores.


A migraine usually manifests as an intense, throbbing headache on one side of the head. It’s a recurring condition, often lifetime, with flares that can last from anywhere between 2 to 3 hours to about 4 days. Some migraine sufferers may also experience nausea and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound along with the headache.

One of the best options to manage migraines is by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. The above-mentioned ibuprofen is a good example of this drug, as well as naproxen and acetaminophen. A cold compress may also help relieve the pain. You may also take medicines that manage other symptoms, especially if they’re quite severe.

If you’re experiencing light and sound sensitivity, try resting in a dark and quiet space. You may want to invest in thick blackout curtains for this purpose, as these window trimmings can also muffle sounds. Install them in your bedroom so you can relax completely.

However, if your migraine attack lasts for more than 4 days, it’s best to consult a doctor. There may be an underlying condition that needs treatment, or it may not actually be a migraine that you’re experiencing.

Cluster Headaches

A cluster headache is characterized by a burning or piercing pain in the eye sockets, around the eye, or behind the eye. It usually affects males more than females; it also happens suddenly, with bursts of intense pain that can fade within 15 minutes. However, some cluster headaches can last for hours. Another observation about cluster headaches is that they often start at the same time for the patient.

Some of the popular treatments for a cluster headache include oxygen therapy and melatonin. You may also be prescribed medications such as lithium, sumatriptan, or steroids, depending on the severity of the condition.

Sinus Headache

As its name implies, a sinus headache happens when you have sinusitis. It’s often described as a dull, throbbing pain that occurs around the eyes and spreads towards the forehead and cheeks. If you are experiencing these symptoms but you don’t have sinusitis, it may be a migraine or another condition.

That said, a sinus headache will disappear along with your sinusitis. Follow your doctor’s recommendations when it comes to medications and you’ll likely recover within a week or two. If the pain from the headache becomes unbearable, ask if you can take OTC pain relievers along with your sinusitis medicines. Nasal decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays may also help provide relief.

Hormone-Related Headaches

Women often experience headaches when they experience hormonal changes. For example, migraines may result from a change in the amount of estrogen in the body, usually around the menstruation or ovulation period. Hormonal changes may also occur during pregnancy, menopause, or if the woman is taking oral contraceptives.

Some hormone-related headaches may be mild and need no treatment. However, for moderate to severe cases, taking NSAIDs can relieve pain. Your doctor may also offer alternative contraception methods or hormonal therapy, especially if the headaches happen too frequently.

Most people will experience multiple headaches over their lifetime. While some headaches can result in minor discomfort, other cases may not be so benign. This is why you should be more mindful of your body. If the pain from your headache doesn’t subside after a few days and/or doesn’t respond to medication, consult your doctor right away. A proper diagnosis can help prevent a disease from worsening and even save your life.