How many types of headaches are there and what remedies are there to relieve them?

How many types of headaches are there and what remedies are there to relieve them?


Women usually suffer more headaches than men due to changes in their hormonal levels, usually related to the menstrual cycle.

For many it is a real torture, as if someone was playing an aggressive tennis match inside our head.

The headaches occur, generally, for two main reasons, explained to the BBC Dr. Anne MacGregor, an expert in migraines.

“Most of the time they are due to the tension accumulated in the muscles around the head, others are due to changes in the chemistry of the brain that it decodes as pain.”

This chemical activity in the brain causes some people to feel a very intense and deep pain, which usually triggers in the dreaded migraines.

Therefore, according to what motivates them, and the pain they feel, there are different types of headaches. And in some cases, different remedies for each of them.



They are the most common and usually feel a constant pain on both sides of the head , as if we had an elastic band too tight around it. They usually last 30 minutes and several hours, although exceptionally they can last several days.

Young man with hands on the head.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption When the headache is produced by the tension of the muscles around the head, the pain is usually felt on both sides of the head.


The triggers are usually related to dehydration , stress, poor posture, lack of sleep, muscle tension in the face and an irregular meal schedule.

Changes in lifestyle should help reduce its duration and frequency: a good pattern of sleep and meals and drink plenty of water.

In clusters or buds

It is a rare type of headache extraordinarily painful. They are so named because the pain appears in outbreaks or attacks grouped during a continuous time that can last up to three months.

Usually appear at a certain time of year, almost always the same, and then there is a period of remission where there are no crises.

X-ray image of the skeleton showing pain in the skull.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Attacks or outbreaks can sometimes occur at the same time of year and even every day at the same times.


Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are not usually helpful in these cases, but your doctor may recommend stronger and more specific treatments.


Migraines are less common than tension headaches, but very painful and capable of interfering in the daily activities of people who suffer them.

Sometimes they cause nausea, vomiting and a strong sensitivity to light and noise.

Man in the bed covered in the quilt.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Who suffers from migraines may be unable to perform their daily activities and sometimes have to spend days in bed.


It is normal to last a couple of hours, but sometimes it can last for several days.

To relieve them (or avoid them) there are remedies that do not need a prescription, but if the pain is very persistent, you can go to your doctor to prescribe stronger medication.


Women suffer this type of pain that is usually due to changes in hormone levels and often go hand in hand with the menstrual cycle. Some contraceptive methods, like menopause or pregnancy usually bring headaches of this type.

Woman holding contraceptive pills table.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Some birth control pills can cause headaches as a side effect.


Reducing stress levels, having a regular sleep pattern and not skipping any food can help reduce this type of pain.


Some headaches are the result of a particular medication, one of its side effects . Others are caused by an excessive use of analgesics.

The pain subsides a few weeks after you have finished taking the medicine that causes the pain.

General recommendations to avoid and relieve pain

But if you want to avoid any pain, the British public health service (NHS) recommends following these tips:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Get plenty of rest, especially if you feel sick or short of energy.
  • Avoid, as far as possible, stress situations.
  • Do sport, exercise has a beneficial effect on our general well-being.
  • Use analgesics if the pain persists or is very intense. The most common are paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Do not drink alcohol, it would make the symptoms worse.
  • Do not skip meals, it will affect insulin levels.
  • Do not force the view by spending too much time stuck to a screen.
  • And do not sleep too much, it could intensify the pain.

* Source: NHS

Man drinking bottles of water.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Staying hydrated can ward off the most common headaches for the population, tension headaches.
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