So Which Type of Headache Is It?

Headaches are not created equally. Do you know which type you usually get? We have answers.

Headaches come in different forms. Some people feel an uncomfortable throb, while others feel a dull ache, while others feel a constant, boring pain. Googling your symptoms might not provide any clarity. Is a tension headache the cause of your symptoms? Or is it perhaps a migraine? What about a cluster headache?

Depending on who you are, you could be more likely to experience one type over the other. Cluster headaches, for example, tend to affect men more than women. Migraines are the opposite: Women suffer from migraines more often than men. Tension headaches, meanwhile, don’t discriminate.

Luckily, there are some tell-tale clues that can help you figure it out, so we’ve developed this handy graphic to help you figure out which type(s) of headaches you or your loved one is dealing with:

A Handy Guide to Headaches

Science 37 continues to seek better options for headache relief through research. If you’d like to get involved, take a short survey and we’ll keep you posted about future opportunities to advance our understanding of migraines, cluster headaches, and other headache conditions.

Lawrence Lloyd has more than a decade of experience in health communication strategies, marketing, and content development in academic, Fortune 500, and start-up environments. Lawrence earned his MA in journalism from USC and his BA in communication from California State University, Los Angeles. He loves exploring the different ways that Science 37 can expand patient access to innovative therapies.


  1. I received a phone call re “cluster” headaches, I told about my last two headaches. One was a short intense pain on the right side of my head which started when i woke up. Almost all my headaches are on the right side. The other headache started on a Sunday evening and ended on a Thursday. That headache was cyclical, that is, the pain swelled, disappeared, returned in a different form. I was told I was not a good fit. Yet, Tonight I even have a different type of pain. it’s a band across the top of my head, and I’ve been pretty woozy.
    Almost more like a ‘hangover’ headache. And it seems like it is moving to the left temple. I have had headaches over the past 58 years, They have made me very sick. This is the second time in my life I have had such debilitating problems. I’ve had every headache you describe. and one which was diagnosed (by me) as a tic dolereaux. Crossing the street in Tulsa, the pain hit so hard so fact it literally knocked me down in the street. The headache did not leave for a couple of days, and the depression that followed was deep. TMI….Headaches are no longer tens but are at an 8 to a 9 level.
    I’d really like to have some research on my headaches.

  2. See the above post. After the statement “Yet, Tonight I even have a different type of pain. it’s a band across the top of my head, and I’ve been pretty woozy.”
    and head has gone from vise-like tightness to lightening jabs to sinus pain and back of neck/head ache. It seems like I am caught in a nasty cycle.

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