Identifying and Treating The Different Types Of Headaches

Are you aware of the kind of headaches you have? For most people, every headache is just a headache. But it’s not supposed to be treated like that. There are several kinds of headaches with their causes, symptoms, and treatments. It is thus, important that you know the type of your headache to get the right treatment.

There are more than a hundred types of headaches, and they can either be primary or secondary headaches. Primary headaches are those that are more common and frequent. Secondary headaches are usually the side effects of any substance or health condition. Here, we will be discussing the common types of primary headaches in detail.

1. Migraine Headaches

Migraine causes a throbbing pain at one side of your head. These headaches are intense enough to disable and put you to bed. This usually results in nausea and vomiting even when the pain is mild. TV, movement, sound, and bright lights can worsen the pain. Migraines often attack once or twice a month and last for 3-4 days.

The exact causes of migraines aren’t known. However, it mostly affects certain families. Also, people with pre-existing conditions like epilepsy and depression are more prone to it. The most common triggers include stress and anxiety, hormonal changes, dehydration, sleep disorders, skipped meals, bright light, and loud noise.

Migraine warns its victims with visionary and sensory aura. These may include blurred vision, seeing flickering lights, spots, and zigzag lines, muscle weakness, numbness, speaking issues, and pins and needles.

OTC painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin can ease the pain, and you can prevent migraine attacks by resting in a dark and quiet place, keeping a cold cloth or ice pack on the forehead, and drinking lots of water. Doctors can even prescribe antiemetic drugs to avoid nausea and vomiting. Another type of drug for more difficult-to-treat conditions is Triptan.

2. Tension Headaches

Tension headaches result in mild pain across the forehead. These can be exhaustive and annoying and may stay for several days. However, it doesn’t affect your sleep and work. Physical activities also don’t affect the headache, but it does get worse as the day passes.

Tension headaches are triggered by muscle tightening over the scalp and behind the neck. Stress, tiredness, and cramped sleep positions can elevate the issue. Too much alcohol or caffeine, lack of water, prolonged hunger can also initiate tension headache.

A soft but constant pain on both sides of the head could mean tension headaches. Other symptoms include pressure behind the eyes, sensitivity to light, and tenderness in shoulders, head, neck, and face.

To get rid of the pain, you can get one of the OTC painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Also, a few lifestyle changes can let you prevent the headache. Get enough sleep and avoid loud noise and low light reading. You should also drink a lot of water and cut down on alcohol and caffeine.

3. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are very severe. These headaches attack in clusters daily for several days or weeks. After that, the pain disappears for several months. These headaches are more common in male smokers and are profoundly disabling. Cluster headaches are popularly known as suicide headaches as well.

The exact cause of cluster headaches is unclear. However, male smokers are more prone to the condition. Also, the consumption of alcohol during attacks may worsen the issue.

Cluster headaches are severe and one-sided pains. Common symptoms include intense burning or stabbing pain around one eye. Other symptoms may include watery eye, blocked or runny nose, swollen eyelids, restlessness, irritation, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Treatments for cluster headaches intend to reduce the rigor and frequency of pain. Common treatments include topiramate, sumatriptan, verapamil, steroids, melatonin, oxygen therapy, lithium, etc. Severe cases may even need to be treated with surgery.

The good news is that you can easily manage these headaches. Taking OTC painkillers can be quite helpful. However, in the case of very severe, recurrent, and continuous pain, seeing a doctor is highly advisable.