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Practically everyone has had a headache at one point in their life. Headaches can range in severity from a minor annoyance to completely debilitating. But what causes it and how to treat it are dependent on the type of headache. Some are chronic, and some are brought on by heat, stress, seasonal allergies, and other environmental factors. Here are the 5 different types of headaches and how to identify them.


Migraines are one of the more severe types of headache. They can last for hours or even days, causing the patient a tremendous amount of discomfort. Migraines are often accompanied by increased sensitivity to stimuli such as light, sound, or smell, which may then lead to nausea and vomiting.

Migraine victims report a throbbing pain that affects one or both sides of the head. Warning signs of an attack include erratic mood swings, stiffness of the neck, and an aura. An aura can come in many forms, all of which stem from the nervous system: pins and needles, bright spots or shapes, loss of feeling, etc.

Sinus Headache

A sinus headache is concentrated in the cavities behind your eyes, nose, and forehead. Symptoms include pain and pressure from within your sinuses, aching in the roof of your mouth, and fatigue. Migraine symptoms are often confused with sinusitis. True sinusitis does not lead to nausea or vomiting as migraines do.

Tension Headache

A tension headache is almost exactly like it sounds: patients report the sensation of a tight band around their head. While this pain is concentrated in the front, sides, and back of the head, patients may also feel tenderness in the shoulders, neck, and scalp. Like the sinus headache, tension does not usually evoke nausea and vomiting, again differentiating it from a migraine.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches (so called because they occur in regular cycles or “clusters”) affect the areas behind and around the eye. While sinus headaches can also occur in this cavity, cluster headaches are typically one-sided. Symptoms include redness and tearing of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, and swelling around the affected area.

Mixed Migraine

Mixed migraine headaches are a hybrid tension and migraine. Patients display symptoms common to both at the same time, and it is generally thought that the onset of one leads to the other. Symptoms include light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, muscle tenderness, and numbness of face or limbs.

Try Chiropractic First!

Headaches have a variety of symptoms and triggers. But expensive medication doesn’t have to be your first treatment option. Sometimes headaches are the result of a pinched nerve, courtesy of a subluxation spine. If you suffer from frequent or intense headaches, make an appointment with DiBella Chiropractic!

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