Headache symptoms can vary widely depending on the type and the individual, with pain ranging from mild to severe.
Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache. They typically involve mild to moderate levels of pain, usually felt on both sides of the head (rather than being localized in one place). Tension headache symptoms often worsen during activities like walking, exercising, bending over, or climbing stairs. They are typically caused and accompanied by muscle tightness in the shoulders, neck, back, and jaw.
Cluster headaches are another type of primary headache, though symptoms are typically more severe than with tension headaches. The term “cluster” refers to the frequency of occurrence, with headaches tending to occur multiple times per day within a given period. Cluster headaches typically last anywhere from a few weeks to three months. They often involve intense, throbbing pain around and behind the eyes and can be accompanied by a stabbing or burning sensation. Cluster headaches are common during spring and fall.
Migraine is a brain disease that causes people to have persistent headaches often accompanied by heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. Migraine attacks typically involve moderate to severe pain and tend to last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. People who suffer from migraine often report experiencing a throbbing, pounding sensation. Unlike tension or cluster headaches, migraine headaches can also cause nausea, abdominal pain, and even vomiting.
Sinus headaches often involve pain in the cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of the nose. This common type of secondary headache results from sinus inflammation or infection. Pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, including facial swelling, stuffy nose, fever, or a feeling of fullness in the ears.