Headaches can be dull and throbbing, sharp and pinpointed, and can last for a few minutes or a few days. There are two main types of headaches: tension and cluster headaches. Each may have its own causes and different symptoms.

Common Types of Headaches

There are different types of headaches. The most common ones are:

Tension-Type Headaches

These are the most common type among adults and teens. They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time. They usually have no other symptoms.


These intense headaches are often described as pounding, throbbing pain. Along with the pain, people have other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or belly pain.

Cluster Headaches

These headaches are the most severe. You could have intense burning or piercing pain behind or around one eye. It can be throbbing or constant.

Causes of Headaches

The exact cause of headaches isn’t clear, but certain things have been known to trigger them.

These include:

  • stress and anxiety
  • squinting
  • poor posture
  • tiredness
  • dehydration
  • missing meals
  • lack of physical activity
  • bright sunlight
  • noise
  • certain smells

Tension-type headaches are known as primary headaches, which means they’re not caused by an underlying condition.

Treatments of Headaches

Tension-type headaches aren’t life threatening and are usually relieved by painkillers or lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle changes

Relaxation techniques can often help with stress-related headaches.

This may include:

  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Exercise


Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to help relieve pain. Aspirin may also sometimes be recommended.