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Types of Headaches

Types of Headaches

22 May 2015 | Stories

It's important to figure out what type of headache is causing your pain. If you know your headache type, you can treat it correctly. 

Here are some tips that will put a name to your pain.

Tension Headaches

This is the most common type of headache which usually feels like a constant aching or pressure around the head especially at the temples or back of the head and neck. Not as severe as migraine, they won’t cause nausea or vomiting and rarely halt daily activities.

Over-the-counter treatments such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen are usually sufficient to treat them.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. They appear suddenly and are characterized by severe, debilitating pain on one side of the head and are often accompanied by a watery eye and nasal congestion or a runny nose on the same side of the face. More common happen in men than women.

During an attack, people often feel restless and unable to get comfortable: they are unlikely to lie down, as someone with a migraine might.

Sinus Headaches

When sinus becomes inflamed, often due to an infection, it can cause pain. It usually comes with a fever and can be diagnosed by symptoms or the presence of pus viewed through fiber-optic scope.

Sinus infections often resolve with time or antibiotics, if necessary, and shouldn't cause nausea or light sensitivity, which are migraine symptoms

Rebound Headaches

Overuse of painkiller for headaches can, ironically, lead to rebound headaches.

Culprits include over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) as well as prescription drugs.

One theory is that too much medication can cause the brain to shift into an excited state, triggering more headaches. Another is that rebound headaches are a symptom of withdrawal as the level of medicine drops in the bloodstream

Migraine Headaches

Migraines are severe headaches that are three times as common in women as men. Migraines can run in families and are diagnosed using certain criteria.

  • At least five previous episodes of headaches lasting between 4–72 hours
  • At least two out of these four: one-sided pain, throbbing pain, moderate-to-severe pain, and pain that interfere with, are worsened by, or prohibit routine activity
  • At least one associated feature: nausea and/or vomiting, or, if those are not present, then sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine may be foreshadowed by aura, such as visual distortions or hand numbness. (About 15% to 20% of people with migraines experience these.)