Headache symptoms, overviews, and treatment information

Headaches are among the most common of all neurological disorders, experienced in one way or another by nearly everyone. There is a wide variety of types of headaches, some of which are common and helped by simple treatment strategies, while others can be extremely debilitating. Headaches that initially seem manageable can become more frequent and more difficult to treat over time, requiring a physician to evaluate the clinical characteristics of the headache syndrome. Painful headache, persistent headache, or any headache with symptoms that make daily activities hard to perform need investigation and possibly specific treatment that can be prescribed only by a physician.

The links to the information below offer you an opportunity to learn about some of the common types of headaches – such as migraine headache, with our without aura; sinus headache; and tension headache – as well as some of the other disorders that are less common and involve severe or troublesome symptoms – such as cluster headache. Each section offers a description of the headache, who it tends to affect, what you may try to relieve symptoms yourself, what some of the common headache causes are, when you should notify your doctor, and what therapies your doctor might prescribe. You may find your headaches resemble those described below, and the information might prepare you for what to expect at a doctor’s visit, or it might help you learn a little more about a headache you have been diagnosed with. While the headache information included here is not a substitute for the judgment and expertise of a doctor, it might give you an idea of when to involve a professional and how one might approach a particular headache disorder.

Immediately seek medical attention if you or someone you are caring for experiences any of the following:

  • Stiff neck and a high fever associated with headache
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache
  • Loss of motor function, the ability to think clearly, or convulsions associated with headache
  • Head injury
  • Increased intensity and/or frequency of headaches