How To Determine Headache Type

By Annette GallagherMarch 7, 2016August 10th, 2021No Comments

There are many reasons that people suffer from headaches. In most cases, a headache is caused by stress or some other external factor, and passes quickly with very little treatment needed. However, people who suffer from extreme headache pain like migraines, or continuous and repeated headaches, may need specialized treatment and diagnoses to determine the root causes of their headaches.


One of the first items that should be discussed when determining the type of headache the patient is dealing with are whether or not the headaches are chronic or episodic. For the purposes of expert diagnosis, we at Miami Headache Institute consider fifteen or more headaches in a single month to be a chronic condition. Those who have less frequent, but still regular headaches, are considered to be suffering from episodic headaches. One of the most common diagnoses we make is for Chronic Daily Headaches that occur nearly every day and are extremely common in females.


The next qualifying factor during diagnosis will be the intensity of the headaches that are occurring. Since headaches and migraines affect people differently, there are a wide range of symptoms that can be associated with the experience. On the lighter side, a dull throbbing sensation behind the eyes is fairly minor, while more extreme cases cause vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and loss of balance. Both Cluster headaches and Migraines share a very high-intensity pain level, while Tension headaches tend to be more mellow and dull. Identifying the symptoms that a patient deals with during their headaches can help narrow down the causes and determine the best possible treatment options.


Lastly, certain types of triggers have their own classifications for headaches. For instance, Tension headaches are characterized by intense stress and tight muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. Some cases of chronic headaches may be triggered by regular use of prescription drugs or exposure to certain sounds or lighting environments.

Increasingly common these days are Chronic Daily Headaches caused by eye strain from computer screens. Our doctors will typically try to identify triggers by asking about when the headaches started, if they have suddenly become more or less frequent, and if there is any family history of headaches.


All of the above criteria are used to identify the type of headache from which you are suffering. These are usually enough to identify primary headache disorders that are caused by surface level external factors, or those disorders that can be treated with a simple change of diet or daily routines.

Unfortunately, a second class of headaches exists which may be caused by more extreme underlying health problems. At Miami Headache Institute, we are able to use neuroimaging to look deeper into the causes of ongoing headaches if treatment of primary level disorders does not relieve symptoms.

Our skilled team, including neurologist Dr. Payman Sadeghi, is trained to identify possible tumors, aneurisms, inflammation, sinus problems and other health issues that could be manifesting themselves in the form of headaches.


At National Headache Institute, our doctors and staff are prepared to help any patient reduce the frequency, duration and symptoms of regular headaches. Our specialists will take a detailed look at the causes and effects of headaches to determine a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

For more information about help for your Chronic Daily Headaches, Migraines, or any other headache pain, please contact National Headache Institute today for a consultation.