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A headache is pain in the head or face that is often described as a pressure that’s throbbing, constant, sharp or dull. Headaches can differ greatly regarding pain type, severity, location and frequency. While most headaches are not dangerous, certain types can be a sign of a more serious condition.


  • Primary – Primary headaches are caused by dysfunction or over-activity of pain-sensitive features in the head and not by an underlying medical condition.
  • Secondary – Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying medical condition and are considered a symptom of that condition

Seek medical attention immediately if a severe headache is accompanied by:

  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Muscular weakness
  • Double vision
  • Change in level of consciousness.


  • Alcohol
  • Certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates (food-triggered headaches)
  • Consuming nicotine (nicotine headache)
  • Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Physical activity, such as exercise (exertion headaches)
  • Skipped meals (hunger headache)
  • Coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, straining (such as when having a bowel movement), or laughing or crying vigorously (primary cough headaches)
  • Dehydration
  • Sinus infection (sinus headache)
  • Medication overuse


Treatment is individualized depending on the headache type, headache frequency and underlying condition causing the headache. Mild to moderate headaches can be managed with over-the-counter medicines.

Locations Treating Headache