Headaches are one of the most common health complaints in the UK. Usually they aren’t serious and can be treated quite easily. However there are other types of headaches that can cause problems. Read on to find out about tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches.

Tension Headaches

This is most common everyday headache that people get. Tension headaches feel like constant aches that can affect your head and neck. You can also feel a pressure behind your eyes. These types of headaches can be caused by stress and anxiety, or by physical tension such as poor posture. You might be surprised at some of the things that cause headaches. Find out more about these on NHS Choices. You can also get headaches if you usually drink lots of caffeine and suddenly stop drinking it.

If you get a tension headache then taking pain killers or trying relaxation techniques can help. You could lie down and breathe deeply, do yoga stretches or massage your neck and shoulders.

If you spend a lot of time staring at a TV or computer screen then this can strain your eyes and cause a headache. Try to rest your eyes by looking away from the screen every 20 minutes.


Migraine headaches are less common than tension headaches. The pain is more sever and is felt at the front or on one side of the head. People may also feel sick and find that looking at the light hurts their eyes. 

There are two types of migraine- migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Aura is essentially a warning that you’re about to get a migraine. You can get visual problems, stiffness in your neck/shoulders, problems with co-ordination and difficulty sleeping. 

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are a rare type of headaches that are much more painful than tension headaches or migraines. People who suffer from cluster headaches usually get them one to three times a day for a few weeks or months. The pain can last between 15 minutes to 3 hours.

People with cluster headaches need specialist treatment. It’s not life threatening but it does cause a lot of pain.

When to get help

It’s not that nice having a headache, but it normally passes in a few hours. It’s unusual for a headache to be a sign of something more serious. If you feel ill between headaches or your headaches are preventing you from getting on with school or other activities then you should see your GP.