It can be hard for your doctor to tell whether you have migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, cluster headaches, or a combination of these types. The symptoms of these headaches are often the same, and no test can diagnose headaches.
Listing a few key features of your headaches may help your doctor find out what type of headache you have. This can help your doctor treat your headaches.
For example, you may think that your headaches are sinus headaches. But if they happen often and interfere with your daily life, they probably are migraines. A true sinus headache is caused by a sinus infection.
Common types of headache
Where the pain is
How bad the pain is
Things that make it worse
Usually on one side of your head with pressure behind one eye
Throbbing, pulsating headache that is moderate to severe
Pain gets worse with normal physical activity.
Nausea or vomiting
Feeling worse around light and noise
Runny or stuffy nose can occur along with other symptoms, such as diarrhea and fatigue.
May begin at night and wake you from sleep
Around your eyes, cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of the nose
Deep and constant headache pain
Leaning over, sudden movement, or exercising may make the headache worse.
Green or gray discharge from your nose that lasts more than 7 to 10 days
A runny or stuffy nose
A feeling of fullness in the ears, or plugged ears
Swelling or puffiness in the face
On both sides or all over your head
Deep, pressing, tightening headache that does not throb or pulse and is mild to moderate
Physical activity does not make headache worse.
No nausea or vomiting
May be worse around light or noise (but not both)
May last for minutes to several days
On one side of the face, head, or neck; does not switch sides
Piercing pain that gets very bad very fast, usually within 5 to 10 minutes
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine