What you should know about different types of headaches

Contributed by: Nancy Dixit


Do you struggle with a sore head?

Let’s start with what exactly a headache is and how it develops.

This article explores some common types of headaches along with their causes.

What is a headache?

Headaches can sometimes be difficult to describe, but some common symptoms include throbbing, pressing, constant, unrelenting or intermittent.

The location may be in one part of the face or skull or may involve the entire head.

Headaches can occur spontaneously or be associated with activity or exercise. It may have an acute onset or may be chronic in nature with or without episodes of increasing severity.

Most people recover well from a headache within 24 hours.

There are two main categories of headaches:

Primary headachee

This type of headache is the condition itself. It is not triggered by anything else like allergies or dehydration.

Secondary headache

These headaches are a sign of something else going on in your body. Pain can be relieved by treating the underlying cause.

For example, high blood pressureHormonal changes, or withdrawal from caffeine can all trigger secondary headaches.

There are different types of headaches and diagnosing the specific cause of your headache can help you get the right treatment.

Thinking headache

This is the most common type of headache. Tension headaches usually start at the back of the head and are sometimes accompanied by pain in the forehead, temples, or back of the neck.

Some people describe tension headaches as feeling like they have a rubber band around their head or a pressing pain on either side of the head.

Tension can cause headaches stress, eye strain, fatigue, poor posture or anxiety. This pain can last from 30 minutes to seven days.

Sinus headache

Sinus headaches are caused by pressure building up in the sinuses, often during or after a cold. Headaches are usually caused by sinuses inflammation Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis), which can be caused by an infection or allergic reaction.

You will feel deep and persistent pain in your cheekbones, forehead or the bridge of your nose.

This pain is usually stronger when you move your head suddenly and there is toothache or jaw pain while eating.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are described as primary headaches, which arise from impaired nerve function.

Although there is no known trigger for cluster headaches, Alcohol consumption can attack

Cluster headaches usually come and go. You can have a few bouts a year or twice a year or one every two years.

Surprisingly cluster headaches are more common in spring and fall.

It is characterized by severe, debilitating pain on the right or left side of the head and is often accompanied by a watery, stuffy nose, or a runny nose on the same side of the mouth.

Headache rebound

Rebound headaches are caused by the overuse of painkillers for headaches or the inappropriate use of any other prescription medication.

Another cause of rebound headaches can be the withdrawal effect of any drug as its levels fall into the bloodstream.

It is characterized by symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, irritability, depression or sleep problems.

Migraine pain

Migraine is often underdiagnosed and untreated. Migraine headaches are not the same for everyone and symptoms can vary from person to person.

It affects the whole body and can cause many symptoms, including feeling sick, vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound or smell.

Migraine headache criteria:

  • At least five previous episodes of similar headaches.
  • Headaches that last between four hours and 72 hours.
  • Having at least one associated feature: nausea and/or vomiting, or, if these are not present, sensitivity to light and sound

Some of the triggers for migraines may include emotional or physical stress, certain foods, changes in sleep patterns, missing meals, hormonal changes, and environmental factors such as loud noises and bright lights.

Did you know that migraine headaches are three times more common in women than men, although they can affect anyone?

Caffeine headache

If you are a coffee lover and suddenly stop consuming caffeine, it can cause caffeine headache as a caffeine withdrawal effect and is characterized by a throbbing headache.

According to research, a caffeine headache can start about 12 hours after your last cup of coffee and last anywhere from two to nine days.

If you’re suffering from a caffeine withdrawal headache, over-the-counter pain relievers can help and try to keep yourself hydrated. This will help reduce caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Exertion headache

Strenuous physical exercise along with running, jumping, weight lifting, sexual intercourse, etc. are some of the triggers that can cause exertional headaches. They are more common in hot climates and at high altitudes.

Note: If you develop headaches during exercise, it’s important to see a healthcare provider to rule out other causes.

Exertion headaches are usually very short-lived but can sometimes last up to 2 days.

Did you know that people with a family history of migraines are more likely to get exertional headaches?

Orgasm headache

An orgasm headache is a type of primary headache that occurs during sexual activity. A tension headache can be caused by rapid dilation of blood vessels in the brain.

It occurs when a person’s blood pressure rises before and during orgasm.

You may notice a dull ache in the head and neck that builds up as sexual excitement builds.

If you experience these types of headaches during sex, you should talk to a doctor for an evaluation. The doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers.

Menstrual headache

In women, hormonal headaches often occur during periods due to hormonal fluctuations.

Hormonal imbalances can result from hormone-related headaches from oral contraceptives, menopause, or pregnancy.

Even changes in estrogen levels can cause migraines around menstruation.

Menstrual headaches often occur two days before or three days after the period or during ovulation.

Symptoms of this type of headache are similar to migraine without aura, but they can last longer.

Last thought

Headaches are the worst but the only real way to get rid of the pain is to know what kind of headache you are dealing with.

Headache symptoms can help you and your healthcare provider determine what type of headache you are experiencing.

Advice- Avoid unnecessary painkillers without consulting a general practitioner until the root cause of the headache is diagnosed.

There is a family history of headaches, especially migraines. In fact, children whose parents have migraines are four times more likely to develop them as well.

In such a situation, you can run genetic testing To determine if you have certain genes that may put you at risk for migraines.

As an add-on, make it a habit to take preventive health check-ups as they can help you gain complete insight into your health.

This will help you take action to promote your overall well-being.

Book a full physical health exam today!

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