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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Causes of Headache

Causes of Headache

Pain in any region of the head is termed as headache. Headaches may involve both sides of the head at the same time or it may be isolated to a certain location. It may radiate across the head and neck region also. Defining in terms of nature of pain headache may be a sharp pain, throbbing sensation or dull ache. Headaches appear gradually even suddenly the time the patient will suffer will vary from few minutes to several hours.


Headache is one of the most common patient complaints. Most of the headaches not due to some serious underlying disease but one should seek proper investigations and consultation if there is sudden, severe headache or along with headache there are symptoms such as dizziness, stiff neck or nausea.

Various causes of headaches are classified as -

Primary headaches

These are generally caused by over activity of pain sensation feature in brain. The causes of this type of headache are -

  • Migraine
  • Tension headache or Tension-type headache
  • Cluster headache
  • Hormone Headache
  • Rebound Headache
  • Sinus Headache


Of these types of primary headaches hormone headache, rebound headache and sinus headache are less common. There may be other symptoms which may be associated with these rare types of headaches which will vary from patient to patient. Other non common types of headaches are -

  • Chronic daily headaches
  • Cough headaches
  • Exercise headaches
  • Hypnic headaches
  • Sex headaches


The trigger for these types of headaches may include some common day to day thing like –

  • Alcohol overuses especially red wine
  • Changes in sleep pattern or lack of sleep
  • Poor posture while sitting or sleeping
  • Skipping of meals
  • Stress

Secondary headaches or Organic Headaches

It is due to some abnormality in the brain or skull or any other part of the body which will lead to the effect on the brain. Benign or malignant brain tumor, a brain aneurysm, hematoma, meningitis, brain abscess, brain infection, cerebral hemorrhage, or encephalitis etc can lead to headache. this type of headache will be quiet sharp in nature and will be associated with other symptoms of organic brain disorder like confusion, vomiting, seizures etc. The common organic causes include -

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