Have you been suffering from headaches? Do you sometimes feel like you have so much pain in your head that you might just faint? Do you get worried about your headaches a lot? Have you ever realised that the stress you are taking could be the very reason for your headache? Well, we are here to tell you that you do not have to worry too much. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms in the world today. That is why it is important to know about the various types of headaches and the reasons behind them. When you can recognise the kind of headache that you are having, it gives you a better chance at curing your headache. So here we give you the different kinds of headaches and the ways in which you can get rid of them.
Headaches can mainly be classified into two types- primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are those kinds of headaches which have no other secondary cause. While secondary headaches are those that are being triggered by some other kind of disease or condition. While primary headaches are the condition itself, secondary headaches are usually a symptom of another disease.
Types of primary headaches:
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Cluster headaches can present as severe pain which is often burning or piercing in type. The most common location being around or behind the eyes. Very often in this condition, the headache is usually on one side of the head. Other symptoms such as redness flushing sweating nasal congestion and eye tearing are also seen on the same side. If you are a male, you have a higher chance of developing this kind of headache. Cluster headaches usually occur in episodes and each episode can last from 15 minutes to almost 3 hours. In between these episodes, you might have noticed that you are completely symptom free.
In order to treat cluster headaches your doctor will most probably advise you to take drugs such as:
- Oxygen Therapy
In this case the primary aim of the treatment is to reduce the severity and the frequency of your headaches. We were also advise you to stop smoking and stop alcohol intake during these episodes.
Have you been noticing a dull, aching sensation all over your head every time you have a big test or an important interview coming up? Does your headache flare up every time you experience stress? If yes, you might be suffering from a tension headache. It usually lasts for a few hours.Sometimes you may also experience pain around your forehead, neck and shoulder region associated with the headache.
In order to relieve the pain, you can sometimes use over the counter drugs such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, it is always better to consult your doctor, especially if these medications are not providing much relief. As a preventative measure, you should work on relaxing yourself and organising life better. Drink adequate water, make sure you get adequate hours of sleep, meditate, do not stain your eyes, exercise! Put your health before everything else.
Have you noticed that your headache is often localised to one side and is preceded by aura symptoms including visual or sensory disturbances? If so, you may be suffering from migraine. While females have a higher probability of developing migraine, some men have it too. The pain is migraine is throbbing and excruciating. You may realise that your sensitivity to light, sound and smell drastically increases about 5-50 minutes before the onset of the headache. You might even see flashing lights, blind spots, zigzag lines and have difficulty in speaking. Attacks of migraines may even last upto 3 days and is often recurrent. Some people are stuck with this condition life long.
But do not worry. Taking better care of yourself and living a calmer lifestyle can help you prevent attacks of migraine. Even during he headache, you can ease your pain by drinking more water, placing an ice pack on your forehead and by resting in a quiet area. Painkillers such as aspiring or ibuprofen may also be used. Consult your doctor and use triptan group of drugs such as sumatriptan or rizatriptan. Drugs for migraine prevention include topiramate, amitriptyline and propranolol.
Also called the alarm clock headache, hypnic headache is a condition that wakes people up in the middle of the night. Although it is more common in the elderly population it can be seen in others as well. Associated symptoms can include nausea and an increased sensitivity to light or sound. The pain usually occurs in attacks and can last for up to 3 hours.
An easy remedy for this kind of headache is a intake of caffeine usually in the form of coffee or tablets.Other drugs which can be used are lithium, indomethacin and melatonin.
Now that you know about the main types of primary headaches, it is now time for you to learn about the secondary headaches.
Have you been partying till late night and consuming a lot of alcohol? Did you wake up with a throbbing headache the next morning? You guessed it! It is probably a hangover headache. This kind of headache is usually associated with nausea and increased sensitivity to light. The headache is usually felt on both sides of the head the head and might make you worry because it mimics migraine. However, drinking lots of water and eating sugary foods will often help relieve the pain. The headache in this case does not last more than 3 days. However, the next time you drink alcohol, make sure that you do not consume too much, especially on an empty stomach. Keeping yourself hydrated will also be a big benefit.
In women, headaches are usually correlated with their menstrual cycle. This is because headaches can be caused due to fluctuating hormone levels. Very often , menstral headaches can occur during your period comma or just before it. In some cases , it may occur 14 days before your period, during which time ovulation takes place. Oral contraceptives or pregnancy may also play a role. In order to treat such a headache hormonal therapy or NSAIDs may be used. If the headache is being caused by the contraceptive pills, your doctor may recommend using an alternative contraception plan.
Sinus headache is a type of headache that occurs as a result of inflammation of the sinuses. If you have had a recent infection or allergic reaction that has got sinusitis, this might be the reason for your headache. The ache is usually throbbing in type and can spread to the eyes, cheeks, teeth or jaws. Quite often, other symptoms such as mucus discharge, blocked nose, nausea and fever is also present. In order to treat this type of headache, first work up the cause. Is it due to an infection or due to an allergy? You can use nasal decongestant and antibiotics for the former and antihistamines or corticosteroids in case of the latter.
Head Injury Headaches
Sometimes, you might experience headaches immediately for soon after trauma or blows to the head. Although this might seem scary to you, it is often nothing to worry about. This is because your skull bone is very strong. Usually these kinds of headaches go away within a few hours and can be treated with painkillers. However if these kinds of headaches remain persistent, and are associated with symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, memory loss, unconsciousness or vision loss, you have to go see the doctor.
Headaches due to Excessive Caffeine Intake
In case of consumption of more than four cups for hundred milligrams of coffee, you might experience caffeine related headaches. Sometimes these aches can also occur as a result of caffeine withdrawal. In such cases, make sure that you decrease your intake of caffeine and you will see that the symptoms usually go away within one week after complete withdrawal.
Headaches due to Medication Overuse
Although we have told you about all the medications that you can use for headaches, it is not healthy to overuse them. Headaches can often arise due to excessive use of medications such as triptans, acetaminophens, aspirin, opioids amongst others. The only way to get rid of such kinds of headaches is to discontinue the usage of medications causing them. But please do consult your doctor before you stop these medications, so that your doctor can prescribe alternate medications. Typically, the headache will subside in about 10 days if you stop using the meditation. In order to prevent such headaches in the future make sure that you are not over using them and keep a record for the future about all the medications that cause you headache.
Exertion headaches can occur just after you have performed hardcore exercises or some strenuous physical activity. It has been hypothesised that exertion headaches take place because physical activity causes increased blood flow to the skill. The painis usually throbbing in type and seen on both sides of the head. It usually only lasts a few minutes or some hours and is nothing it worry about. However, if it keeps recurring, you should probably take an appointment with your doctor since it may indicate other grave conditions.