Check out this helpful guide to help decode your headache and it’s possible causes.

Tension headaches

These are the most common types of headaches and can be characterized by a constant ache or feeling of pressure in your head-especially around the temple or back of the head and neck. This pain isn’t as intense or severe as a migraine, and can usually be treated with common pain killers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You’ll probably get these most commonly when you’re stressed out as experts believe they are caused by a contraction of neck and scalp muscles. Avoiding stress as much as possible, and making sure you’re taking time to relax and decompress can help avoid these types of headaches.

Cluster headaches

This type is more common in men than women, and the cause is still unknown. The pain is focused primarily just to one side of the head and has been described as one of the most painful types of headaches. They tend to last over a period of several weeks and can happen a few times a day, but often at the same time of day. An episode of cluster headaches typically only lasts 30 minutes to an hour in length, and ends rather abruptly. See your doctor if you believe you have cluster headaches, and they may prescribe you oxygen therapy, nasal spray or a daily medication to prevent future attacks.


These monstrosities aren’t like other headaches. Everyone has different triggers that can range from food to hormones to changes in the weather systems. The intense pain is usually accompanied by a mixture of nausea and light, sound and smell sensitivity. Those who experience migraines are often out for at least one day dealing with the pain. Some experience issues with their sight leading up to a migraine which can act as a warning sign. Migraines are also genetic, so if you have family members who suffer from them, you likely will too. If they’re something you experience often and they take you out of your daily activities, you should definitely speak to your doctor about causes and treatment options. If your triggers are something that you can avoid (culprits are often things like aspartame, MSG, cured meats and food dyes), then that can help limit the number or severity of your migraines.

Sinus headaches

It’s usually easy to predict when you’ll get this kind of pain, because they accompany colds and sinus infections. The pain and pressure sits in and around the cheeks and forehead. As long as you know for sure that it’s not a migraine, a decongestant (and lots of rest and fluids) should help clear you up.