Headaches are a common cause of pain and discomfort. The term ‘headache’ covers any pain around the head, face or neck area. There are two main types of headache:

Primary headaches

Primary headaches are the most common. They include tension headaches, migraine and cluster headaches.

Primary headaches can be caused by a number of things including:

  • stress
  • eye strain or squinting
  • poor posture
  • dehydration
  • drinking too much alcohol or eating certain foods
  • lack of sleep
  • poor posture
  • skipping a meal
  • Sometimes there is no obvious cause

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches – which are caused by some underlying health condition. These include headaches caused by drinking too much alcohol or a head injury or concussion.

Headaches in women may be caused by hormones, and some women notice a link between headaches and their periods. Hormonal changes due to taking the Pill, menopause and pregnancy can also be triggers for headaches.

Some headaches can even occur as a side effect of medication, such as painkillers. People sometimes get headaches when they’re unwell. For example, you may get a headache when you have a cold, sinusitis, flu or an allergic reaction.

What can I do?

  • Lack of fluids can cause dehydration and is a common cause of headaches. Fluids are needed for the body to function correctly and may be lost through.
  • See your doctor if you are getting more headaches than usual, they are worse or don’t improve with over the counter medicines, or they are stopping you from working or sleeping.


Health Direct. (2018). Headaches. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/headaches