Types of headaches

There are over 150 different types of headaches and they are often very difficult to differentiate. Different types of headaches have different symptoms, they happen for different reasons and they need different treatments.

When we successfully determine exactly what type of headache we are dealing with, then we can successfully treat them. 

Some of the most common types of headaches are: 

  • Tension headaches - we'll talk more about them in the next section
  • Migraines - they are often described as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually occur 1 to 4 times a month. In addition to pain, there are other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.
  • Cluster headache - these are the most intense types of headaches in which intense burning or stabbing pain occurs around one eye. The pain can be so severe that most people with cluster headaches cannot sit still while the headaches persist. It also often awakens the patient at night. They usually occur in groups 1 to 3 times a day for a period of 2 weeks to 3 months. 
  • Sinus headache - with sinus headaches, you will feel a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, in the forehead area, and on the tip of the nose. They occur in parallel with sinus inflammation. The pain usually comes with symptoms such as a runny nose, fullness in the ears, fever, and swollen face. 
  • Post-traumatic headaches - they usually start 2 to 3 days after a head injury, and their symptoms are dull pain that gets worse from time to time, dizziness, confusion, problems with concentration, memory problems, extreme fatigue, and irritability. These types of headaches can last up to several months.
Types of headaches
Tension headache

Tension headache

Tension headache is one of the most common types of headaches that we often encounter in our clinic and which we successfully treat for our patients.

Tension headaches are manifested as dull pain, tightness, and pressure in the forehead, temple, and at the back of the head and neck. These types of headaches are often caused by a sedentary lifestyle and stress at work. 

2 types of tension headaches: 

  1. Episodic tension headaches - occur less than 15 days per month 
  2. Chronic tension headaches - occur more than 15 days per month 


The primary cause of tension headaches are extremely tense muscles of the cervical spine and suboccipital muscles. 

80% of people in the world will have a tension headache at some point in their lives. 

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Diagnosis of tension headaches

The diagnosis of tension headaches is made primarily on the basis of a clinical examination by a doctor, physiotherapist, or another medical professional. 

A medical professional will ask you questions such as:

  • Where exactly does your head hurt? 
  • How does the pain feel?
  • When do you have headaches?
  • How long do they last?
  • Do you have headaches in your daily life?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping from headaches?
  • Are you under a lot of stress?
  • Have you had a head injury?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your personality or behavior?
Other tests may also be performed to rule out the existence of other medical problems, which are: 
  • blood tests 
  • CT 
  • X-ray
  • magnetic resonance imaging 
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Tension headache therapy

The goals of physical therapy in tension headaches are:

  • reduce / eliminate pain in the head, suboccipital area, and cervical spine
  • increase mobility of the cervical spine 
  • release the muscles of the suboccipital area and neck muscles 
  • increase the strength of the neck muscles 
  • establish optimal circulation flow in the neck and head area
Types of therapies we use and their effects: 
  • dry needling - quickly and effectively releases the muscles of the suboccipital area and cervical spine muscles, and consequently reduces pain and tension in the neck and head
  • chiropractic (manipulation) - we establish the optimal range of motion of the cervical spine and consequently release the neck and suboccipital muscles that cause headache 
  • mobility exercises - increase flexibility and mobility in the cervical spine and help us retain and enhance the effects of other therapies
  • strength exercises - establish the optimal strength of the cervical spine muscles so that the problem does not come back again 

Frequently asked questions about headaches:

The best way to find out what type of headache you have is to visit a medical professional who specializes in the aforementioned problem. 

In our clinic, we have solved a large number of tension-type headaches for our patients and you can contact us for examination and therapy.

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer: If you are disciplined with the therapies and exercises that the medical professional instructs you to do, tension headaches therapy is very effective and long-term solved. 

As a rule, no type of therapy we do for headaches in our clinic is painful. 

Dry needling can be moderately unpleasant but not painful. All other treatments are painless. 

Feel free to attach the report of a specialist doctor