The classification of the types of headaches and the distinctive symptoms of each type


Each of these pains, regardless of the nature and characteristics of the manifestation, has a negative impact on human activity.


Pains differ in origin, location, nature, duration, distribution. These characteristics make it possible to clearly describe them, make a diagnosis and, if there are also results from objective research, determine how to treat the corresponding pathology.


Speaking about the types of pain in the head, it should be noted that they are primary and secondary. Primary occur by themselves, they are not caused by another disease. Secondary ones appear as a consequence of other diseases, such as hypertension.


Headache is divided into zones of the head, depending on the location of the lesion. So, they talk about pain in the forehead, temples, crown, neck. If the tissue edema or hematoma is localized in the frontal part, the pain will be concentrated here.

The pain can manifest itself only on one side. This is characteristic of the initial stages of , with injuries, vascular lesions, and neuralgia.

With the development of the disease, with multiple brain lesions, painful sensations spread all over the head. Clearly describe the localization becomes impossible. Such manifestations are characteristic of the advanced stage of osteochondrosis, hypertension, tension pain, and migraine.


In the description of pain, there are such characteristics as:

  • compressive;
  • pressing;
  • throbbing;
  • non-pulsating;
  • cutting;
  • acute;
  • stupid.


Pain is described as mild, moderate, severe. Light usually does not create much discomfort and does not cause physical reactions of the patient. Moderate can be tolerated without the use of painkillers and antispasmodics. It annoys, but the person most often continues to go to work, study. With severe pain, all activity is blocked. It is so intense and heavy that all thoughts are directed only at getting rid of it.

Sometimes in order to characterize the sensations, patients with chronic pathologies are asked to use a scale from 1 to 5 or up to 10. Each digital indicator corresponds to the strength of the pain. Cancer patients sometimes use a scale of drugs, each of which is used as a specific assessment of pain.


Soreness may be episodic, for example, with exertion and fatigue. It can be long, lasts several hours or days.

This character it acquires in the last stages of cancer. In this case, only for a while its intensity is lost.


From the point of view of distribution, they talk about paroxysmal pain, which occurs only for a few seconds or minutes, and is spreading, continuous. The paroxysmal nature is noted for neuralgia, cluster pain. Continuous – with meningitis.


An important characteristic is the trigger pain. Pay attention to when they arose. With an increase in intracranial pressure, malignant tumors, sinus, dropsy, the pain is most intense immediately after waking up or staying in a horizontal position for a long time.

When hypertension increases in a noisy environment, in the heat, in the afternoon. When neuralgia is exacerbated by exposure to trigger points.


An important role in the diagnosis of the symptoms accompanying pain. Usually note nausea, photosensitivity, intolerance to sounds, dizziness.

They talk about vomiting, convulsions, pressure surges, imbalance, numbness of part of the face, limbs. The combination of signs allows us to make a preliminary conclusion about the pathology and its causes.

The classification of the types of headaches and the distinctive symptoms of each type


The most complete classification of the types of headaches is represented by a special committee of the International Society, which includes scientists from various countries of the world. She described the types of painful sensations depending on the reasons for their origin, the characteristics of manifestation in children and adults, the consequences.

Primary pains

Headache of this type occurs by itself. It is not a symptom of any disease.

This group includes the following types of headache:

  1. Migraine. This pathology occurs mainly in women under 35 years of age. Soreness is one-sided, captures the frontal-temporal lobe. Perceived as pulsating, deep. It happens strong, medium, has the nature of attacks, which last up to three days. Accompanied by photophobia, nausea, the appearance of mist before , vomiting. Physical activity and emotions only strengthen it. Among the main causes of isolated violation of the synthesis and transmission of mediators, electrical activity, hormonal disruptions.
  2. Cluster pain It appears more often in men under the age of 40 years. It is described as one-sided, appearing around and inside the eye. Often transmitted to the temples and forehead. Appears in the form of an attack lasting from 15 minutes to several hours. Attacks are repeated with the same interval. The main cause is called vascular pathology. Characterized as sharp, boring, tearing. The pain associated with increased sweating, swelling of the eyes. It can be transmitted to the shoulders, ears. It is not affected by physical activity. About the chronic form they say, when painful sensations appear every day.
  3. Voltage. The pain resulting from fatigue, excessive tension, lack of sleep, manifests as squeezing. There is a feeling that they put a hoop on the head. It is found in the temples, the area of ​​the eyes, forehead, sometimes gives to the shoulders and neck. Lasts from 30 minutes to 7-8 days. In a mild form, it appears sporadically, disappears after a certain period of rest and . The appearance of a chronic form is indicated if the pain lasts more than 15 days a month. Often note sleep disorders, fatigue, feeling of a lump in the throat. Increases , depression.

Secondary pain

This group includes those types of headaches that appear and develop in humans due to certain diseases.

Pain due to head or neck injury is usually localized at the site of injury. Appear as a result of open fractures or concussion. They distinguish mild, moderate and severe. Mild pain disappears within a week. Heavy can be so strong that a person loses consciousness. Usually, after 3 months it passes completely, in rare cases it lasts for years and is a sign of post-traumatic syndrome. Immediately after the injury, it is described as acute, pressing, sometimes cutting, penetrating deep into. Increased after physical activity, cough, tension.

Headache can cause a variety of vascular diseases. These are arterial and intracranial hypertension, hypotension, temporal arteritis, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, hemorrhage. Pain, their intensity, localization – are different, as well as the accompanying symptoms. So, with an increase in intracranial pressure, severe squeezing pain is noted in the morning, after making a movement, sneezing. Her visual companions are considered an integral companion.

With temporal arthritis, arterial occurs. Acute, intense pain appears in the temples, gives to the neck, shoulders, tongue. Repeats the pulsation of the vessel. Strengthens when chewing. Accompanied by discomfort in the eyes, double vision, swelling of the temple. There is lethargy, anorexia.

At the beginning of the development of thrombosis, the head is filled with a weak local pain, accompanied by nausea. Gradually, it increases, becomes constant, spreads throughout the cavity of the head. Vomiting joins her. Pain is exacerbated by stress, coughing. Perhaps a violation of consciousness.

Tumors and abscesses lead to the pain of non-vascular genesis. These phenomena appear in any area of ​​the brain, causing its defeat. The cause of the abscess is often otitis, in connection with this pain is localized mainly in the neck. At a tumor those sites where the neoplasm was formed and grows are painful.

Pain is so strong that a person loses consciousness. There are painful squeezing type, vomiting, visual disturbances, temporary blindness, impaired coordination of movement. With the defeat of the frontal lobe there is a loss of motivation, self-control, speech disorders. In severe cases, there are convulsions, paresis.

To the secondary mind include headaches caused by food poisoning, heavy metal salts, overdose of drugs. They concentrate in the frontal area, but often capture the entire head region, mainly from two sides. Characterized as pulsating, dull, strong. Nausea, stool disorders. There is a weakness, poor health.

Infectious diseases of various etiologies lead to the appearance of local and diffuse pain. SARS at the initial stage often manifests itself as poisoning by toxins secreted by pathogenic microorganisms. With meningitis, bacteria infect the meninges, with encephalitis – the substance itself. If symptoms of a catarrhal disease pass quickly, then with an infection that causes inflammation in the brain structure, the pain increases, it becomes intolerable. It is permanent, described as shooting, drilling, pressing. Often so intense that it leads to loss of consciousness. May be accompanied by visual impairment, loss of consciousness, uncontrolled movements.

Soreness in the head causes disturbances of homeostasis. With anemia, it is dull, oppressive. Fully held in the prone position. Accompanied by dizziness, drowsiness, weakness. When polycythemia pain – throbbing, dull, tends to increase. There is a feeling of stupidity, tinnitus.

Often, pathologies associated with the structures of the head lead to the appearance of pain. These are tumors, fractures, osteomyelitis, glaucoma, and antritis. Pain is localized in different parts depending on the disease. With sinusitis – over the bridge of the nose, in the frontal lobe. When glaucoma – in the eye orbits, in the temples, forehead.

Depression, drug withdrawal syndrome, stress, chronic fatigue provoke a headache. A characteristic feature is the absence of organic lesions. Pain sensations are shingles, there is a feeling of compression. When depression is localized in the occipital region, in the case of chronic fatigue – mainly in the temples, but can fill the entire head. Strengthen in the afternoon. Accompanied by sleep disorders. With a strong mental tension and fatigue are pulsating.


The latter group is characterized by such varieties of pain, which are associated with inflammation, damage, squeezing of nerve processes. Regardless of which nerve is affected, the pain is acute, strong, superficial. It resembles a sharp backache. It is provoked by pressing or other effects on specific trigger points. Has paroxysmal character, the duration of which is not more than a few minutes.

Painful episodes are often repeated – up to a hundred times a day. They begin spontaneously, also suddenly disappear. During the attack there is increased sweating, trembling. At the end – numbness, feeling of running goosebumps, tingling.

One or another type of any headache may indicate the development of a particular pathology in the human body. Pain sensations are characterized by intensity, duration, localization, features of distribution. Treatment depends on their precise definition and correct diagnosis.

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