A headache is a common symptom that involves pain in one or more areas of the head or face. Over 45 million people are affected by headaches each year and many of them include chronic headaches that last for weeks or months with no relief.
Migraine headaches can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days. Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms known as an aura, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling.
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that has a characteristic grouping of attacks. Cluster headaches occur up to 8 times per day during a cluster period, which may last 2 weeks to 3 months or longer. The headaches may disappear completely (go into remission) for months or years, only to recur at a later date. A cluster headache typically wakes a person from sleep 1 to 2 hours after going to bed. A cluster headache has no structural cause, and the biochemical cause is unknown. However the headaches occur with the trigeminal nerve pattern. They are typically on one side of the face, behind an eye that may radiate to other parts of the face usually described as a piercing or ice pick type of pain.
Tension headaches are generally a diffuse mild to moderate pain in the head that is often described as a tight band around the head. A tension headache is the most common type of headache, yet its causes are not well understood. The most common theories support a heightened sensitivity to pain and possibly heightened sensitivity to stress. Stress is the most commonly reported trigger for tension headaches.