A primary headache is caused by dysfunction or overactivity of pain-sensitive features in the head, and isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease. Chemical activity in the brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside the skull, or muscles of the 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:
- Cluster headache
- Migraine (with and without aura)
- Tension headache (medically known as tension-type headache)
- Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC), including cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania
This condition is a neurological problem that results in periodic episodes of intense pain. Cluster headaches are one of the most painful types of headaches. They often strike in cyclical patterns. The person will have frequent bouts of cluster headaches, and then the headaches will stop completely for a period of time.
Causes of Primary Headaches:
- Some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including:
- Alcohol, particularly red wine
- Certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates
- Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
- Poor posture
- Skipped meals