Pulsating headaches are associated with migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches, explains the Miami Headache Institute. The most common causes of these headaches are depression, anxiety, head injury, lack of sleep and caffeine withdrawal, according to MedlinePlus.
A throbbing or pounding sensation characterizes a pulsating headache, and it can force the individual to stop everything he is doing, states WebMD. Other causes of pulsating headaches include fatigue, emotional stress and holding the head and neck in an abnormal position. Some of these headaches also have dietary triggers, such as alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, aged cheese and nitrates. In rare cases, the underlying cause of a pulsating headache is a tumor, a blood clot or a stroke, according to Harvard Health Publications.