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Headache – Classification, Types, Causes, Home Remedies

Headache - Classification, Types

What is a Headache?

Headache or head pain is an ache in the head. It is a very common health problem, and most people have had a headache at least once in their lifetime. While they may seem very simple and routine, they are more complex than people realize. Headaches can occur due to different reasons, and each of them can have varied presentations.

Classification of Headaches

There are different classes of headaches, based on their origin and cause. These can be broadly classified into – Primary and Secondary.

1. Primary Headaches

These headaches occur due to lifestyle factors. In these cases, the headache is itself the concern and not a symptom of an underlying disease. These headaches can be severe but never a cause of concern. Types of primary headaches include:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Tension headache
  • Hypnic headache
  • Migraine headache
  • Sinus headache

2. Secondary Headaches

As the name suggests, these headaches occur secondary to another condition that tends to trigger sensitive areas to pain and result in an ache in the head. Since these headaches are indicators of underlying conditions, they are far more serious than primary headaches. Common causes of secondary headaches are:

What are the Types of Headache?

The types of headaches can vary depending upon the cause. However, the 4 common signs of headache include:

  • They affect one or both sides of the head
  • They tend to arise at a central point and then radiate
  • They may either come gradually or suddenly
  • Headaches can be sharp and throbbing or dull and gnawing in nature

While many headaches last for a few hours, some can last for many days.

Headache - Causes, Home Remedies

What Causes Headaches?

Primary and secondary headaches arise due to different reasons. The cause of headaches determines its type.

1. Primary Headache

The 4 common causes of headaches are –

  • Over activity of specific areas of the brain such as excessive viewing of a screen, excessive talking or focused writing
  • Variations in blood pressure
  • Over activity of nervous tissues
  • Excessive secretion of chemicals in the brain

2. Secondary Headache

Since these headaches arise from underlying conditions, the most common causes of this type of headache are :

How Are Headaches Treated?

The basic headache treatment includes pain relief medications.

Some common headache relief treatment includes:

  • NSAIDs and OTC pain relief medications
  • Prescription-based pain relief medications
  • Medications used for migraines that are preventive in nature
  • Treatment of the underlying condition causing the headache

While primary headaches respond to OTC pain relief medications, headache solutions for secondary cases require a cause-based treatment approach.

What Home Remedies Can You Use to Relieve Headaches?

Taking too many pain relief medications is not recommended. There are many home remedies for headaches that can be used for headache treatment at home. While some are instant home remedies for headaches, others can provide relief starting from a few minutes to hours.

Some home remedies that you can implement:

  • Use a hot/cold pack but never apply it directly to the skin
  • Avoid stressors that trigger headaches
  • Eat at regular times and avoid skipping meals if that triggers your headache
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  • Get fresh air in between your working hours to freshen up your mind

Home remedies for migraines include self-care and prescribed medications by the doctor.


Headaches are common and can occur due to myriad causes. While primary headaches may not require medical attention, secondary headaches are far more serious and need an appropriate diagnosis to detect the underlying cause. If you are suffering from frequent headaches or recurrent ones even after taking medications, visit your healthcare provider. If the doctor advises you to undergo tests for diagnosing the cause of your headache, contact SRL Diagnostics for high-quality imaging tests and the most accurate blood tests. Book a test now.

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