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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Types of Headache
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It can be hard for your doctor to tell whether you have migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, cluster headaches, or a combination of these types. The symptoms of these headaches are often the same, and no test can diagnose headaches.
Listing a few key features of your headaches may help your doctor find out what type of headache you have. This can help your doctor treat your headaches.
For example, you may think that your headaches are sinus headaches. But if they happen often and interfere with your daily life, they probably are migraines. A true sinus headache is caused by a sinus infection.
Where the pain is
How bad the pain is
Things that make it worse
Usually on one side of your head with pressure behind one eye
Throbbing, pulsating headache that is moderate to severe
Pain gets worse with normal physical activity.
Around your eyes, cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of the nose
Deep and constant headache pain
Leaning over, sudden movement, or exercising may make the headache worse.
On both sides or all over your head
Deep, pressing, tightening headache that does not throb or pulse and is mild to moderate
Physical activity does not make headache worse.
On one side of the face, head, or neck; does not switch sides
Piercing pain that gets very bad very fast, usually within 5 to 10 minutes
Lying down makes it worse.
Current as of:
April 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: April 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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