Headache is defined as pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. A painful sensation in any part of the head causes Headaches.
Sometimes it can be mild, but in many cases, it can cause severe pain that makes it difficult to concentrate.
Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck can play a role in primary headaches.
Some people may also carry genes that make them more likely to develop such headaches.
There is also an increased risk of depression in those with severe headaches.
In this article, we discuss the Underlying Causes of Headache, Headache Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments, and a few simple steps to get rid of them.
We also explore how these are identified, treated, and prevented.
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Causes of Headaches
Common causes of headaches include:
This can include infections, colds, and fevers. In some cases, headaches can result in more serious medical problems.
Emotional stress, depression, skipping meals, alcohol, changes in sleep patterns, and taking too much medication. It can also trigger a Headache.
Pollution, noise, lighting, and weather changes are other possible triggers.
Headaches, especially migraine headaches, tend to run in families. When both parents have a history of migraines, there is a 70% chance their child will also have them. If only one parent has a history of these headaches, the risk drops to 25%-50%.
Common Types of Headache
The most common types of headaches that cause people to seek medical care are Primary Headaches these are-
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache among adults and teens.
They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time. They usually have no other symptoms.
Some people say that a tension headache feels like a tight band around their forehead.
A tension headache normally is not severe enough to prevent you from doing everyday activities.
It usually lasts for 30 minutes to several hours, but can last for several days.
The fastest way to ease a tension headache:
- Apply a heating pad or ice pack to your head for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.
- Take a hot bath or shower to Relax Tense Muscles.
- Improve your posture.
- Take frequent computer breaks to prevent Eye Strain.
These headaches are the most severe. You could have intense burning or piercing pain behind or around one eye. It can be throbbing or constant.
The pain can be so bad that most people with cluster headaches can’t sit still.
Cluster headaches are a series of relatively short but very painful headaches every day for weeks or months at a time.
You tend to get them at the same time each year, such as in the spring or fall. Because of this, people often mistake cluster headaches for symptoms of allergies or work stress.
Causes of cluster headaches seem to be related to the sudden release of histamine or serotonin in the body.
Alcohol use or smoking Cigarettes may trigger cluster headaches.
- Briefly inhaling pure oxygen through a mask provides dramatic relief for most who use it. …
- The injectable form of Sumatriptan (Imitrex), which is commonly used to treat migraines, is also an effective treatment for acute cluster headache.
Migraine headaches are sometimes preceded by warning symptoms.
Triggers include hormonal changes, certain food, and drink, stress, and exercise.
Migraine headaches are often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually happen one to four times a month.
Nausea and sensitivity to light and sound are also common symptoms.
Migraine headaches are worsened by physical activity or physical movement.
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve signals, chemicals, and blood vessels in the brain.
Daily headaches refer to headaches of almost any type that occur frequently, generally at least 15 days per month for six months or more.
This type of migraine is diagnosed as there are short-lasting and long-lasting chronic daily headaches. Long-lasting headaches last more than four hours.
The types of primary Headache Syndromes that present as a chronic daily headache, the common causes of chronic daily headaches are chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache, and Hemicranias continua.
Best Treatment for Chronic Headache is:
Antidepressants– Tricyclic antidepressants — such as Nortriptyline (Pamelor) — can be used to treat chronic headaches
Beta-blockers– These drugs, commonly used to treat high blood pressure, are also a mainstay for preventing episodic migraines. …
Post-traumatic headache (PTH) is defined by the International Headache Society as a headache developing within seven days of the injury or after regaining consciousness.
Posttraumatic stress headaches usually start 2-3 days after a head injury.
- A dull ache that gets worse from time to time
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Tiring quickly
Antidepressants, blood pressure pills, and anti-seizure medication are commonly used preventive drugs for post-traumatic headaches. As with other headache conditions, we also recommend non-drug treatments.
Headaches may last for a few months. But if it doesn’t get better within a couple of weeks, call your doctor.
Sinus headaches are headaches that may feel like an infection in the sinuses (Sinusitis). You may feel pressure around your eyes.
With sinus headaches, you feel a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or on the bridge of your nose.
They happen when cavities in your head, called sinuses, get inflamed. The pain usually comes along with other sinus symptoms.
The common cold is most often to blame. Seasonal allergies trigger mucus production. Too much mucus gives germs an opportunity to grow. As germs build up, they irritate the sinuses.
In response, sinus tissue swells, blocking the passage of mucus. Swollen, irritated sinuses filled with liquid that make your face feel tender and achy are the common causes of sinus headaches.
Other symptoms of sinus headaches:
- Stuffy nose.
- Thick, colored mucus discharge from the nose.
- Feeling of fullness in the ears.
- Swollen or puffy face.
Less Common Headaches
A few headache patterns also are generally considered types of primary headaches but are less common. These headaches have distinct features, such as an unusual duration or pain associated with a certain activity.
A few less common Headaches are:
When you’re active, the muscles in your head, neck, and scalp need more blood. Your blood vessels swell to supply them.
The result is a pulsing pain on both sides of your head that can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 48 hours. It usually hits while you’re active or just afterward, whether the activity is Exercise or Sex.
Sometimes when you exercise or exert yourself physically, the muscles of the head, neck, and scalp need more blood to circulate. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to a condition called exertional headaches.
Primary exercise headaches typically last between five minutes and 48 hours, while secondary exercise headaches usually last at least a day and sometimes linger for several days or longer
The best exercise which can give some relief in headache are Biking, Swimming, and Walking are great ways to fit in aerobic exercise and help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and headaches.
Many women experience headaches caused by changes in their hormones.
You can get headaches from shifting hormone levels during your periods, pregnancy, and menopause.
A headache can be triggered any time there is a fluctuation in Estrogen levels, including when there is a dip in estrogen levels around the time of your menstrual cycle.
Women may also experience more headaches around the start of Menopause and when they undergo a Hysterectomy.
This type of headache usually goes away within 3 days, but then will return during the estrogen-free week of the next cycle.
You might also hear these called medication overuse headaches.
If you use a prescription or over-the-counter pain reliever more than two or three times a week, or more than 10 days a month, you’re setting yourself up for more pain.
When the meds wear off, the pain comes back and you have to take more to stop it.
Symptoms of Rebound headaches can cause a dull, persistent, tension-type headache that happens either daily or nearly every day.
The pain is usually worse in the morning.
These symptoms generally last from two to 10 days, but they can persist for several weeks. Your doctor may prescribe various treatments to help alleviate headache pain.
Some Rare Headaches
Ice Pick Headache:
Ice pick headaches are painful, severe headaches that come on suddenly.
They’re often described as feeling like a stabbing blow, or a series of stabs, from an ice pick.
Ice pick headaches are estimated to occur in about 2% of the population but are more common in people who have migraine or cluster headaches.
These short, stabbing, intense headaches usually only last a few seconds. They might happen a few times a day at most. If you have one, see the doctor.
Indomethacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that is successful in treating ice pick headaches.
Other drug options include Gabapentin and Melatonin also gives u relief from these types of headaches…
A spinal headache is a very intense headache. It occurs when Cerebrospinal fluid leaks out of the Meninges these leakages reduce the amount of fluid around the brain and cause a spinal headache.
If you get a headache after you have a spinal tap u can talk to your doctor. Your doctor might call it a puncture headache because these procedures involve piercing the membrane that surrounds your Spinal Cord.
If spinal fluid leaks through the puncture site, it can cause a headache.
For treatment for spinal headaches, your doctor may recommend getting bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids, consuming Caffeine, and taking oral pain relievers.
If your headache hasn’t improved within 24 hours, your doctor might suggest an Epidural Blood Patch.
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To diagnose the cause of headaches and to rule out underlying medical conditions, physicians obtain a patient history and conduct a careful Neurological Examination.
The first step is to talk to your doctor about your headaches. They’ll give you a physical exam and ask you about the symptoms you have and how often they happen.
It’s important to be as complete as possible with these descriptions. Give your doctor a list of things that cause your headaches, things that make them worse, and what helps you feel better.
You can track details in a Headache Diary to help your doctor diagnose your problem. But sometimes, doctors suggest a CT scan or MRI look for problems inside your brain that might cause your headaches.
Your doctor may recommend different types of treatment to try. The type of headache treatment you need will depend on a lot of things, including the type of headache you get, how often, and its cause.
Your doctor will make a treatment plan to meet your specific needs once you start a treatment program, keep track of how well it’s working.
A headache diary can help you note any patterns or changes in how you feel.
And it’s important to stick to healthy habits that will keep you feeling good, like regular exercise, enough sleep, and a Healthy Diet.
Remedies that may reduce headache pain include Aspirin, Paracetamol, and Ibuprofen. Resting in a darkened room may also help.
There are several natural and home remedies that people can try to get rid of a headache without using medication.
It is essential not to ignore a persistent headache. An ongoing symptom may be a sign of an underlying issue.
People may want to discuss a persistent or particularly severe headache along with other symptoms with a doctor to find and resolve a problem.
Hope you find this article helpful enough to give a sufficient amount of information about different types of Headaches, causes, and Treatments.
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