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Are you a sufferer of headaches? Most people have had a headache at least once during their lives. If you only have an occasional headache, you may not realize that there are people who suffer severely from headache disorders. An interesting research article on headache prevalence was recently published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. The researchers found that headache disorders are one of the most prevalent and debilitating conditions worldwide. About 52% of people all over the world have had a headache disorder in the past year and about 15.8% of people have a headache on any given day1.

Primary Headache vs. Secondary Headache

Headaches are categorized as primary or secondary. A primary headache is a headache that is not caused by other underlying issues, it is the primary problem. A secondary headache is caused by another issue such as an injury or dehydration.

Causes of Headaches

There can be various and multiple factors that are causing your headaches. If you suffer from frequent or severe headaches you should see a healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment. Some of the various causes of headaches include:

  • Another medical condition
  • Medication
  • Dehydration
  • Environment
  • Stress
  • Diet

Types of Headaches

There are several different types of headache disorders and the severity will vary for each person. Seeing a neurologist or a healthcare provider who specializes in headaches is helpful to determine what type of headaches you are having.

Migraine Headache

A migraine is a type of headache that causes other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sound sensitivity, and / or light sensitivity in addition to the pain from the headache.

Cluster Headache

A cluster headache is always associated with one side of the head and / or face. They usually last from 20 minutes to 2 hours but can reoccur several times. The severity of the headaches tends to be very high and they cause a lot of pain.

Tension Headache

These are the most common type of headaches and usually are caused by tight muscles and / or stress. Tension headaches cause mild to moderate pain and do not cause other symptoms such as nausea.

Key Takeaways

Although headaches are common, if you are suffering from headaches often, then you should see your healthcare provider for further evaluation. They will be able to do some testing or refer you to a specialist. Sometimes headaches can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you are experiencing a severe headache or the “worst headache ever” you should seek emergency medical care immediately because it could be a sign of a stroke.


  1. Stovner, L. J., Hagen, K., Linde, M., & Steiner, T. J. (2022, April 12). The global prevalence of headache: An update, with analysis of the influences of methodological factors on prevalence estimates – the journal of Headache and pain. BioMed Central. Retrieved May 13, 2022
  2. Headache. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2022
  3. Headache. Stanford Health Care (SHC) – Stanford Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2022