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The Connection Between Headache Location and Headache Type

When you first come into your family physician’s clinic regarding your headache attacks, you will be asked several questions related to the frequency, severity and duration of the pain experienced with your headaches. Your doctor will also ask specific questions about the headache location for a reason – the location of the headache can provide clues as to the type of headache experienced and, thus, appropriate treatment can be decided on.

Keep in mind that, at present, medical researchers have identified 150 diagnostic categories for headaches. The more pieces of information your doctor can get, the more accurate his diagnosis will be and the more effective your treatment will be, too.

Here are the most common types of headaches with the location of the pain experienced. Keep in mind that the pain can radiate such that your headache location can be in many places one after the other or at once.

  • Tension headache

This is characterized by a dull, diffuse and mild to moderate head pain with concentrations across the forehead or on the head’s sides and back. The pain is also described as a tight band around the forehead with or without tenderness on the neck, shoulders and scalp.

  • Migraine

This is one of the worst types of headache because it adversely and considerably affects the afflicted individual’s quality of life. A single attack can last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days, 1 to 4 times a month, and cause moderate to severe pulsating and/or throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. You can also suffer from nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision as well as lightheadedness and sensitivity to lights, sounds or smells.

  • Cluster headache

This is the least common type of headache but you will not want it because it is the worst by far. It is so named because each attack occurs in cyclical patterns – clusters – lasting anywhere from weeks to months! The headache location usually starts in or around one eye before radiating to the face, head, and neck as well as the shoulders with the pain described as a sharp, excruciating and burning pain. Think of a hot poker being placed on the eye or the eye being pulled out of its socket and that’s how painful a cluster headache can be.

  • Sinus headaches

This type of headache usually accompanies sinusitis. It is characterized by pain as well as a sensation of fullness and pressure in the brow, forehead and cheeks, said pain of which worsens when lying down or bending forward. The pain can also be accompanied by sore throat, fever and cough as well as an achy feeling in the upper teeth.

Whenever you are experiencing any of the abovementioned pain, you should take down notes on the headache location as well as the severity, frequency and duration. Help your doctor diagnose your condition and, thus, help yourself in the process.