When you have a bad headache you may not much care which of the different types of headaches it might be. It’s painful, and you want relief. It’s important however to know a little about a headache you experience, as that knowledge may help you better deal with it when it next strikes, reduce its frequency or severity, or simply prevent it from reoccurring at all.
- 1 Overview of The Different Types of Headaches
- 2 Primary Headaches
- 3 Secondary Headaches:
- 4 Other Headaches
Overview of The Different Types of Headaches
For many people, a headache is an infrequent annoyance that disappears after swallowing a few tablets. But for chronic headache sufferers, the effects can be far worse. The World Headache Alliance has fourteen different classifications of headaches, from tension headaches and Migraines to headaches caused by ocular diabetic neuropathy.
Three of the most common forms of chronic headaches are tension headaches, Migraines, and cluster headaches. The likelihood of being afflicted with different headache disorders seems to be gender-related, with women three times more likely to suffer from Migraines, and men four times more likely to get cluster headaches.
The most common type are tension headaches, these are caused by tensing of the muscles around the neck and upper chest due to stress or physical strain, these are characterized by a pain starting at the base of the neck and working up the scalp. Sinus headaches are generally a dull pain in and around the nose that is caused by congestion from a cold or flu, allergies; sinus headaches must be treated to prevent a more serious condition. The most painful types of headaches are vascular headaches. Vascular headaches are caused by blood sugar changes, high blood pressure, and include migraines, they are characterized by local and sharper pain that can be worsened by light, sound, and even smell and cause high sensitivity and pain that may result in fainting or vomiting.
Cluster headaches are often called “suicide” or “ice pick” headaches due to the excruciating stabbing pain in or near the eyes. This type of headache disorder is rare, with less than 0.5% of the general population affected. A migraine, in comparison, affects roughly 10% of the population, causing pain that can range from irritating to debilitating. Most headaches (over 66%) are tension-related headaches with over 60% of people suffering at least one tension headache each year. Tension-related headaches, unlike Migraines and cluster headaches, generally produce a steady ache rather than intense throbbing or shooting pains.
The most common treatments for headaches are analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. For more severe chronic headaches, however, a physician may prescribe antidepressants, muscle relaxers, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. With proper treatment, most headaches are gone within an hour or two, but in severe cases, the pain can last for days or even weeks without relief.
Headaches are generally classified as belonging to one of two types, primary headaches, and secondary headaches. At the risk of oversimplifying things, primary headaches have their roots in the head, and secondary headaches have their causes elsewhere. The person having the headache may not notice any difference between the two while a headache is in progress, but a primary headache is one that can be treated directly (whether the treatment leads to a cure or not), while a secondary headache requires treatment of the underlying cause in addition to treating the headache.
Primary headaches include the following:
– A migraine
Perhaps the most infamous form of head pain is a migraine. These vascular headaches are caused by an enlargement of blood vessels that triggers a release of chemicals from the nerve fibers around large arteries in the brain. These enlarged blood vessels stretch the nerve fibers, causing a release of chemicals. This chemical release further enlarges the arteries and causes further inflammation and pain.
Common Symptoms of Migraines:
- Often pounding, pulsating, or throbbing pain
- Pain can move from one side of the head to another
- Moderate to severe pain
- Recurrent headaches lasting between 4-72 hours
- Sensitive to light, odor, and noise
- Blurry vision
- Upset stomach, nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines (aura)
- A feeling of being extremely warm or cold
- Fever (in rare cases)
- Hyperactivity, depression, repetitive yawning, food cravings the day or two before (only for migraines with aura)
If you experience several of the symptoms, contact a doctor in your area to determine whether you have migraines and how to treat them.
“The International Classification of Headache Disorders.” Cephalalgia:An International Journal of Headache 24.1 (2004). Accessed September 28, 2011.
– Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are the most common form of headaches, affecting 30-78% of the general population according to various studies (1). Despite the prevalence of tension headaches, they are also the least studied form of headaches. Doctors still are unsure of the exact cause of tension headaches. Scientists previously thought these headaches were caused by muscle spasms in the neck, face, and head area but now experts are beginning think changes in brain chemicals may also be the culprit.
Most tension headaches are not serious and do not last longer than 30 minutes to 7 days. However, some people suffer from chronic tension headaches. If you’ve suffered from a tension headache for 15 days a month for 3 consecutive months, you may have chronic tension headaches. Consult a doctor in your area about diagnosis and treatment.
Common Symptoms of tension headaches include:
- A constant headache, not throbbing
- Sleep disturbances and difficulty going to sleep
- Aching in back of head and neck
- Constant fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle aches
- Mildly sensitive to light or noise
(1) “The International Classification of Headache Disorders.” Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache 24.1 (2004). Accessed September 28, 2011.
– Cluster Headaches
Though uncommon, cluster headaches are possibly the most severe forms of headaches. About 20% of people with cluster headaches suffer from chronic conditions.
If you’re experiencing several of the following symptoms, contact a doctor in your area to discuss diagnosis and treatment.
Common Symptoms of Cluster Headaches:
- Pain located behind one eye or in the eye region
- Burning or piercing pain
- Throbbing or constant pain
- Attacks lasting 15-180 minutes
- Attacks occur once to eight times a day
- Nasal congestion
- The desire to pace or move around during attack to cope with pain
“The International Classification of Headache Disorders.” Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache 24.1 (2004). Accessed September 28, 2011.
Secondary headaches result from other medical conditions like infections, trauma, tumor or head injury, so the list of possible causes is a long one. Probably the most common cause of a secondary headache is trauma, being hit in the head or neck. A headache often will accompany a concussion, or be experienced by someone who has suffered from whiplash. A secondary headache can also be one of the symptoms of the flu or pneumonia and even a bad cold. While a headache, in this case, may not last long and maybe a mild one, it is apt to return until the underlying condition has been treated and cured. That is the nature of a secondary headache.
Vascular problems sometimes manifest themselves as a secondary headache. The conditions that lead to angina will on occasion cause pain in the head as well as in the chest. Usually when an activity that is being undertaken when such pain occurs ceases, the pain, both in the chest and in the head goes away. Also, arteries or veins in the neck or head can become inflamed, triggering a secondary headache.
– Sinus Headaches
When the ducts in the back of the nose become inflamed, sinuses are less able to drain. This creates a build of pressure in the affected sinus and causes a build-up of pressure in the affected sinus as mucus and fluid increases. This causes swelling and inflammation in the sinus which triggers headaches. Sinus headaches are often associated with infection.
Common Symptoms of Sinus Headaches:
- Dull, the increasing sense of pressure
- Pain in the sides of the nose and the area underneath and above the eyes (where sinuses are located)
- Pain with changing the position of the head
- Tenderness to touch in areas of the sinus
Common Symptoms of Sinus Infections:
- Green or yellow mucus
- Fever, chills
- A sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
“Sinus Headaches: Symptoms and Treatment”. http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/sinus-headaches
– Cervicogenic Headaches
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by neck disorders and originate in the cervical spine (or the part of the spine connecting to your head.) Causes of cervicogenic headaches can range from an injury to the cervical spine like whiplash or an
illness like arthritis. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, consult a doctor about diagnosis and treatment.
– Hormonal Headaches:
Is a type of a headache that occurs in many women before or during menstruation. This Type of a headache is a nasty headache often a nagging form of a headache that is very annoying. Generally, it more severe than a tension headache.
The symptoms associated with hormonal headaches are:
- Pain on both sides of your head
- Dull and pressing pain
- Annoying nagging headache
- A headache is moderately intense to intense
- The pain varies in intensity during the day.
In addition to the above-mentioned characteristics, you can also suffer from the ‘normal’ menstrual complaints such as:
- Compulsive eating
- Tension, irritation
- Weight gain
- Swollen and/or painful breasts
- Skin rash (spots)
- Cramp in the abdomen
- Inflated, stuffed belly
- Pain in the back
- Changing Moods
– Rebound Headaches:
When you make use of medications for more than the recommended time and exceed instructions on the labels or the advice of your physician you may be at risk of a rebound headache which is more likely to happen if the medications used contain caffeine that is normally found in many drugs.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Headaches
Due to high pressure within the brain which may cause a severe headache
These are the common headache types that most persons will be affected by during their lifetime.
A stress Headache
A stress headache, which in turn are additionally referred to as stress or tension-type headaches, is considered a popular situation, which can affect anybody and frequently result from psychological or actual physical stress. Luckily, the signs of a stress headache are workable; but, headaches, which develop following a head injury, tend to be followed by blood loss from the head or perhaps feel similarly to the most horrible headache of your own life, which will require quick healthcare examination. Think about this important info extracted from the Mayo Center, the Nationwide Library of Medication as well as the United States College of Doctors regarding the signs of a stress headache.
Individuals with stress headaches might have ache almost all over the head, instead than trouble, which is localized to a specific area on the head. The pain might extend towards the region of the temples as well as forehead, down to finally the ears as well as down the back of the neck. Individuals with stress headaches might recognize the feeling of pain as enduring her or his head in a vice holder.
Stress might result in individuals to have a hassle of dropping or keeping asleep. Getting comfortable whilst relaxing might be annoying whenever the whole head is throbbing with distress. Individuals who suffer from stress headaches might also wake up within the night time as an outcome of the problem.
Muscle pains might develop in the top body in individuals with stress headaches. Individuals might notice tight muscle tissue in their muscles as well as upper back and also might feel as if they have knots in most of their muscle tissue. Individuals with stress headaches might unintentionally tighten the neck muscles or perhaps the muscles of the main jaws, which in turn can potentially lead to neck and also jaw problem.
Individuals with stress headaches might be delicate to changes in the weather conditions or perhaps indoor temperature for the purpose of the length of a headache. Many of those who are considered subjected to colorful lighting or alternatively high sunshine might have an issue adjusting their eyes whilst they have a headache. Individuals with stress headaches might also turn out to be more sensitive to or perhaps have reduced tolerance for loud sounds.
Individuals with stress headaches might lose their urge for food for the length of a headache, which in turn can be many days. s, which are caused by feeling nervous, or staying a long time in a baking room might be followed by sickness, although regurgitation is uncommon. Individuals with stress headaches might find that obtaining a Lite meal of boring dishes can help to settle the tummy as well as can deter blood refined sugar from falling too Low, which in turn can worsen head pain.
Types of Headaches Chart Conclusion:
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