Common Causes of Headaches and Ways to Treat Your Pain

Rahul Sood, D.O.

If you live with chronic headaches, you’re not alone. Headache disorders top the list as one of the most common issues affecting people of all ages and walks of life. In fact, 50-75% of adults ages 18-65 have experienced at least one headache within the last year. But just because headache disorders are common, that doesn’t mean you have to live with them.

At Metro Pain Centers, our experienced team of specialists understands that persistent headache symptoms can impact every aspect of your life. Here’s what you should know about headaches so you can get your symptoms under control.

How headaches work

The first step to understanding your headache is realizing it may be more complex than you realize. That’s because headache pain develops because of the pain-sensitive nerves, brain chemicals, blood vessels, and muscles in your neck and head. Because each of these areas can trigger nerve activity in the specific area that sends pain signals to your brain, it can result in more than 150 different kinds of headaches. 

We organize all headaches into two distinct types: primary and secondary.

Primary headaches

Approximately 95% of headaches fall into this category. These headaches can have several triggers, but they’re not a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. The most common primary headaches include migraine, tension, and cluster headaches.

Secondary headaches

These types of headaches develop because of another condition, ranging from high blood pressure, panic disorders, and head injuries to sinusitis, gout, and osteoarthritis. 

While most headaches fall into one of these categories, some — like occipital headaches — can be a primary or secondary headache. That’s because occipital headaches can occur because of chronic neck tension or pinched nerves, or they may have no known origin.

Common headache triggers

Since illness is only to blame for 5% of headaches, it’s critical to look at other causes when it comes to determining what’s behind your symptoms. When it comes to primary headaches, these factors typically include genetics, stress, and environment.


Unfortunately, some headache disorders can be hereditary, especially if you have migraines. Studies show 90% of kids and teens with migraines also have a family member with them. 


These types of triggers can be either physical or emotional and might include:

  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Engaging in intense exercise
  • Having fluctuating hormones
  • Skipping meals
  • Getting too little or too much sleep
  • Practicing poor posture
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Spending long periods in front of smartphones, computers, or tablets

You can also experience chronic headaches because of depression and anxiety.


Sometimes your environment is to blame for chronic headaches. Environmental triggers can vary from allergens, pollution, or secondhand smoke to weather changes and food additives. It’s also possible to develop headaches because of things like lights, noise, and strong fragrances.

Managing headache pain

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer if you have a headache disorder. Our team takes a comprehensive, whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating your unique condition that goes beyond masking your symptoms.

First, we work closely to identify the cause behind your symptoms. Based on that, we help create a personalized treatment strategy that might include:

  • Medications
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Nerve blocks, Botox®, or muscle injections
  • Stress-management techniques to relieve tension and promote relaxation
  • Physical therapy to improve your strength, posture, and flexibility

We also offer medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic headaches or migraines.

For more information on headache disorders and finding relief, contact one of our convenient locations throughout New Jersey and New York by calling or requesting an appointment online today.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

About Rahul Sood, D.O.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist and doctor of osteopathy, Rahul Sood, DO, is an integral part of the team at Metro Pain Centers. He is also a specialist in venous medicine with an extensive history and experience in treating lower extremity spider and varicose veins. He practices from the offices in Clifton, Middletown, Riverdale, Edison, and Jersey City, New Jersey; and Staten Island and Ardsley, New York.

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