Headaches are extremely common in the UK community. Most people will self manage the occasional headache, some may self-medicate with OTC medication, however a small proportion will present at the pharmacist or General Practice. 

Headache types (discussed in more detail further into the module)

Primary headaches

Tension-type (sometimes called “ordinary”) headache

  • Migraine (plus sub types)
  • Cluster headaches (plus other, more rare, trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias)
  • Other primary headache disorders (e.g. cold stimulus headache)

Secondary headaches

  • Psychiatric disorder headache
  • Medication overuse headache
  • Medication withdrawal headache (including alcohol withdrawal headache)
  • Head or neck trauma headache
  • Vascular disorder headache (e.g. SAH or GCA)
  • Intracranial headache (Space occupying lesion, idiopathic intracranial hypertension)
  • Headache caused by infection (either intracranial or systemic infection)
  • Headache caused by hypertension
  • Headache caused by e.g. sinuses, OA neck, glaucoma etc.


Trigeminal neuralgias

Central or primary facial pain

Although the module will go on to discuss many of these in detail, The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition (Beta version) describes each of these and the sub-groups therein in great detail. The group developing the guidelines do not recommend the resource be used to learn all the different sub-groups but rather as reference material, should there be diagnostic difficulty.


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience, please accept these so we can deliver a more reliable service.

Manage preferences