Migraine and Headache Symptoms

Intense Head Pain, Nausea, and Other Symptoms

Headaches can be classified into 3 main categories: cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines. Each of these types of headaches has different symptoms.

Cluster Headache Symptoms
Cluster headaches typically happen suddenly and start off as severe headaches. These headaches may occur daily for weeks or months, and they usually occur around the same time of the day.

Some common cluster headache symptoms:

  • a sweaty, flushed face
  • drooping eyelid(s)
  • excruciating eye pain but can radiate to other areas of the face: the head, neck, and shoulders
  • extreme tearing of the eyes
  • red eye(s) or swelling under or around the eye on the same side as your head pain
  • one-sided head pain—often burning or sharp
  • runny or stuffy nose on the same side as your head pain

Tension Headache Symptoms
For many people, tension headaches can occur daily. Head pain associated with these headaches may last for a half an hour to up to a week. Tension headaches often get worse with stress, bright lights, and/or noise. With this type of headache, you'll often see people trying to relieve their pain by massaging their temples or another part of their head.

Common tension headache symptoms include:

  • a feeling of tightness or pressure on your forehead or the sides and/or back of your head
  • all over head pain (not just one-sided)
  • dull, aching (but not throbbing) head pain
  • may feel for more pain at your scalp, temples, neck, and shoulders

Migraine Symptoms
Migraines can be dull or extremely severe. They can also happen on a regular basis, and they may last up to 3 days. They're often triggered by something, such as hormonal changes or too much caffeine. With migraines, you might feel pain behind your eye or in the back of your head and neck.

There are 2 main types of migraines: migraine with aura and migraine without aura (formerly known as classical migraine).

Main migraine symptoms are:

  • a stiff and/or tender neck
  • an aura (This usually happens about 10 to 15 minutes before the migraine occurs. With auras, you may experience temporary blind spots, blurred vision, and eye pain, and you may see flashing lights or colored lines that look like zigzags.)
  • extreme fatigue
  • feeling cold or sweaty
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • pain that's worse on one side of your head
  • problems concentrating and trouble speaking
  • sensitivity to light, sound, and/or strong odors
  • throbbing, pulsating, or intense pressure of the head

Not everyone with migraines and headaches will experience the same symptoms, but if you have symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor about treatments for migraines and headaches.

Regardless of your migraine and/or headache symptoms, there is a wide variety of treatments available. Your doctor will work with you to choose the right treatments for your migraines and/or headaches.

Updated on: 11/19/15
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Migraine and Headache Causes