Eyecatcher For adolescents

What kinds of headaches are there?

Girl with headaches

There are over 200 kinds of headaches, but only two of them are really common in adolescence: tension headaches and migraines.

Tension-type headaches

Headaches can easily occur after a long school day with annoying teachers or classmates and a lot of homework. We call this type of headache a tension-type headache. It is very common. Almost everyone has had a tension-type headache. They are typically connected with stress and tension, also partly with tenseness of the muscles in the neck or shoulders.


Another common type of headache is the migraine. Migraine patients complain of very bad headaches with nausea, vomiting and light and noise sensitivity that occur in regular intervals of sometimes every other day or sometimes only twice a year. The pain increases with movement. Migraines occur in attacks, beginning suddenly and lasting several hours or occasionally even as long as two days. Afterwards the patients are completely pain-free again.

These two types of headache are by far the most common causes of headache in adolescents. Doctors call these types of headaches “primary headaches”. This means that their cause cannot be found by medical investigation. Even an MRT of the head, by which an exact picture of the brain is taken, will be inconclusive.

With “secondary headaches” there is a clear cause, for example, an injury or inflammation. More common causes of this type of headache are influenza or a concussion, for example.

Taking pain medication too often can also cause headaches.

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