Understanding the Different Types of Headaches

Understanding the Different Types of Headaches

With most people, a headache is easily fixed with a hot meal, a nap, or a simple painkiller. However, if your headaches are a daily occurrence or don’t respond to over-the-counter medications, it may be time to consult a specialist and discuss long-term solutions. 

At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, with multiple Maryland locations, our board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists help patients suffering from chronic headaches, migraine episodes, and other types of head pain.

Types of headaches 

There are many ways to break down the different types of headaches, but it’s easiest to sort them as either primary or secondary

Primary headaches

These are headaches caused by inflammation of the nerves, muscles, and tissue surrounding the brain. In these cases, the headache is the issue, not a symptom. Common primary headaches and migraines include: 

It can be difficult to treat primary headaches since they often have no single, discernible cause. With the help of a specialist, you can find a solution that works. 

Secondary headaches 

Headaches can also be symptoms of underlying problems, including serious ones like brain inflammation or an aneurysm. Most commonly, however, secondary headaches are caused by more mundane problems, such as: 

There are numerous other types of headaches, including ice pick headaches that hit as a sudden, stabbing pain; thunderclap headaches that literally feel like a storm in your head; and hemicrania continua, which causes constant pain on just one side of the head and face. 

If you’re not sure what kind you’re experiencing, keep a log and make note of the areas that hurt the most, as well as your meals, sleep patterns, and weather at the time of your headache. This information can help during your diagnosis. 

Treatment options for headaches 

Leading up to your diagnosis, your only options for pain relief might be over-the-counter painkillers, such as NSAIDs. These aren’t recommended for long-term use and can cause things like stomach ulcers over time. 

A formal diagnosis and treatment plan can help you find relief without risking your general health. Using a range of tests and evaluations, our team can help determine what’s causing your headaches and how to approach them. 


To learn more about the different types of headaches and begin diagnosing what’s causing yours, schedule a consultation with the specialists at CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center. Call the location closest to you or request an appointment online today.

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