By Mayo Clinic Staff
Your headache symptoms can help your doctor determine the cause and the appropriate treatment. Most headaches aren’t the result of a serious illness, but some may result from a life-threatening condition requiring emergency care.
Headaches are generally classified by cause:
A primary headache is caused by problems with or overactivity of pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease. Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside your skull, or muscles of your head and neck — or some combination of these factors — may play a role in primary headaches. Some people may carry genes that make them more likely to develop such headaches.
The most common primary headaches are:
Migraine (with and without aura)
Tension headache (medically known as tension-type headache)
Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC), including cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania