Cause of a headache based on location of pain.

Location is a good starting point, however more detail is needed to truly assess what kind of headache it is, e.g. migraines, cluster or tension headaches. Here is a general outline.

Migraines

  • Classical Type (Has AURA) or Common (No AURA)
  • Can last from 4 – 72 hours
  • Triggered by Light, Sound or Smells
  • Throbbing
  • Moderate to SEVERE
  • Always Unilateral, if it presents on both sides of the head, its typically not considered a migraine

Cluster

  • Unilateral
  • Generally occurs in Periorbital to Temporal Regions
  • Associated with tearing, red eyes and stuffy nose
  • Shorter duration (15 mins – 4 hours)
  • Can be triggered by sleep changes or barometric changes
  • Occur many times a day → hence called Cluster Headaches

Tension Headaches

  • Can last from 30 minutes – 7 days
  • No pulsations
  • Bilateral
  • Mild analgesics generally provide relief in these headaches
  • Aren’t associated with light, sound or smells

That its not just location but the presentation of the headache that helps to classify what kind of headache it is.

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