Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Types of Headache

Topic Overview

It can be hard for your doctor to tell whether you have migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, cluster headaches, or a combination of these types. The symptoms of these headaches are often the same, and no test can diagnose headaches.

Listing a few key features of your headaches may help your doctor find out what type of headache you have. This can help your doctor treat your headaches.

For example, you may think that your headaches are sinus headaches. But if they happen often and interfere with your daily life, they probably are migraines. A true sinus headache is caused by a sinus infection.

Common types of headache

Type

Where the pain is

How bad the pain is

Things that make it worse

Symptoms

Migraine

Usually on one side of your head with pressure behind one eye

Throbbing, pulsating headache that is moderate to severe

Pain gets worse with normal physical activity.

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling worse around light and noise
  • Runny or stuffy nose can occur along with other symptoms, such as diarrhea and fatigue.
  • May begin at night and wake you from sleep

Sinus

Around your eyes, cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of the nose

Deep and constant headache pain

Leaning over, sudden movement, or exercising may make the headache worse.

  • A fever
  • Green or gray discharge from your nose that lasts more than 7 to 10 days
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears, or plugged ears
  • Swelling or puffiness in the face

Tension

On both sides or all over your head

Deep, pressing, tightening headache that does not throb or pulse and is mild to moderate

Physical activity does not make headache worse.

  • No nausea or vomiting
  • May be worse around light or noise (but not both)
  • May last for minutes to several days

Cluster

On one side of the face, head, or neck; does not switch sides

Piercing pain that gets very bad very fast, usually within 5 to 10 minutes

Lying down makes it worse.

  • Watery eyes and small (constricted) pupils
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Droopy or swollen eyelids
  • Sweating on the forehead or face
  • May wake you at night.

Credits

Current as of: November 20, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

COVID-19 Update

Women’s Care is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updates from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control. 

If you are experiencing a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, any other COVID Coronavirus or flu symptoms, or had COVID exposure, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling our office at (913) 384-4990. We are accepting appointments, however we are currently not allowing guests with the exception of ONLY allowing ONE guest for patients’ new OB visit and ultrasound, 20 week anatomy ultrasound, and 3D ultrasound. Infants and children are not allowed into our office at this time. 

Here are a few additional resources as well: 

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control

We appreciate your patience during this time, look forward to continuing to serve our community!

site logo