All headaches are not created equal. To best determine the treatment for any ailment you must know exactly what you are dealing with. Headaches are a common ailment and we all suffer from different types at different times. Hopefully, knowing the facts about headaches will help us to develop a game plan on how we can do battle with them whenever they occur.
Types Of Headaches
Tension: These are the most common type of headache and you will notice what feels like a constant pressure pain at the temples or at the back of the head or neck. These types of headaches can be brought on by many different factors such as stress, fatigue, poor diet, and many other physical and mental problems. Problems with chronic tension headaches generally begin between the ages of 20-40 and seem to be more common in females.
Sinus: These headaches are caused by an inflammation of the sinus and the symptoms are usually at their worst in the morning due to the mucous collecting and draining all night. The symptoms are similar to a tension headache with a throbbing pain in the front of your head and face, but the pain becomes worse with sudden movements of the head and bending forward. The headaches usually start when you have a cold or when you experience sudden temperature changes like going out in the cold from a warm house.
Some other symptoms that may be associated to a sinus headache include; a general sense of not feeling well, fatigue, yellow or green discharge from the nose (we call it snot where I’m from), mild fever, and red or swollen nasal passages. There are several ways to help improve symptoms such as; a saline nasal spray, breathing in steam or using a humidifier.
Cluster: The cluster headache is one that recurs over a period of several weeks and the pain is usually limited to one side of the head. They will sometimes occur with intense pain in the middle of the night. These attacks occur quickly and without warning and are characterized by a sharp and burning pain. They are called cluster headaches because the attacks are frequent and come in periods that may last weeks or months followed by periods of remission where no attacks will occur for months or even years.
Migraine: It is estimated that almost 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Woman are likely to suffer at three times the ratio to men and one of the major causes might be the fact that they run in the family. Migraines are most prevalent and usually begin in the 20-40 years of age range. If you suffer from migraines then you already know that they are so debilitating that you cannot function normally and your life is on hold until they end. Most migraines last for a few hours but in some cases they can go for days. These headaches can occur a couple of times per month or in more extreme cases every couple of days.
Migraines are a different and more severe pain than tension headaches and are usually felt as throbbing on one side of the head. There can also be intense pain behind the eyes and/or throbbing pain at the back of the neck. Feeling nauseous and vomiting may also occur. Some people will experience aura during a migraine which is a visual symptom such as flickering lights, lines or spots. Aura can occur prior to a headache, during or not at all. Sometimes just the aura occurs and there is no accompanying headache.
There are many things that can trigger migraines with food and additives accounting for about 30% of the causes. Foods and additives that could be triggers include; caffeine, alcohol, chocolate MSG, food coloring, nitrates and nitrites, peanuts and many others. If you suffer from migraines be aware of your particular triggers and read labels and do your best to avoid them.
Rebound: The rebound headache is caused by the regular and long time use of medications to treat other types of headaches. It hardly seems fair, getting a new type of headache because you were treating another type of headache. Sometimes life doesn’t seem very fair, does it? These headaches often appear in the morning and can occur regularly, even daily. Accompanying symptoms may include irritability, memory problems, difficulty concentrating and restlessness. The rebound type headache will usually stop when you quit taking the medications.
Hormone: Most of the headaches that women experience are caused by hormones. The onslaught of migraine headaches usually occurs a few days prior to the beginning or the first couple of days of a woman’s period. These headaches are usually more severe in their symptoms than during other times of the month. Hormonal headaches are also triggered by the use of contraceptive pills, pregnancy and menopause. A doctor can prescribe anti-migraine medications that a woman can take around the time of her period. They will help to stop the headaches from developing.
Organic: The organic headache is caused by an abnormality in the brain or skull that is the result of a brain tumor. They are characterized by severe and intense pain that comes on all of the sudden. It is especially noticeable in those people that don’t often get headaches. A sudden lack of balance, seizures, confusion and difficulty speaking are red flags and you need to seek medical help immediately. Not being properly diagnosed in a timely fashion can lead to more serious health consequences.
A common theme and a trigger to symptoms of most ailments including headaches would seem to be lifestyle choices. It seems that a choice of a more wholesome diet and activities that reduce stress and fatigue such as exercise and meditation will go a long way in relieving and improving side effects and discomfort associated with these ailments.
We all get headaches from time to time and they are a very common ailment that can normally be avoided or treated naturally but there are definitely some headaches that require medical opinions and immediate attention.
In the following cases seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- If you have had a recent head impact or injury.
- If headache gets worse over time and over the counter medications are not working.
- If it wakes you from your sleep.
- If you experience dizziness, seizure, confusion, double vision, numbness or difficulty speaking.
You should always see your doctor if your headaches or any other ailments persist over a period of time or start to get worse.
Thanks for your time. Please leave comments and suggestions below.