The Complete Headache Guide: All You Need To Know

by Jyotsana Rao

When your life becomes extremely busy and stressful, headaches become a very normal part of your daily routine. While most types of headache disappear on their own after some time, a few vanish only after you pop a painkiller.

Before we look further into the different types of headaches, let us first understand what causes a headache.

What Causes A Headache?


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A headache occurs when there is a mix of signals between the brain, blood vessels, and the nearby nerves. It can be triggered by a number of factors, but the most common cause is stress or prolonged tension. Other causes of headaches include illness (such as cold, sinus blockage, etc.) and your surrounding environment, for e.g., some people are allergic to the smoke of cigarettes or certain perfumes, and if they stay in such atmosphere for long, they become a victim of headache.

Types Of Headache

There are around 150 types of headaches in all, but the most common types of headache are as follows:

1. Migraines

Migraines, accompanied by pounding or throbbing pain, usually last anywhere between 3 hours to 5-6 days. Other symptoms that accompany a migraine are nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, and sensitivity to light. The patient suffering from a migraine often starts looking pale, gets a fever, and also has blurry vision.

2. Tension Headaches

Tension headaches, also known as stress headaches, are one of the most common types of headache amongst teenagers and adults. If you are suffering from tension headache, you will experience a mild to moderate pain that will come and go over time.

3. Sinus Headaches

If you are suffering from a sinus headache, then, along with a headache, you will also experience pain in the bridge of your nose and the cheekbones. The pain comes along with several sinus symptoms, including a runny nose, swollen face, etc. Even dental cavities can lead to sinus headaches.

4. Cluster Headaches

A cluster headache is an intense type of headache where you feel a burning pain or sensation of throbbing behind the eyes. It is severe, and makes you completely helpless because neither can you ignore it nor can you do anything about it. This type of headache is known as the cluster headache because it tends to happen over a period of several weeks. It might recur twice or thrice a day.

5. Chronic Progressive Headaches

Chronic progressive headaches are also called inflammatory headaches. They are caused as a result of an illness or disease related to the brain or skull.

6. Mixed Headache Syndrome

Mixed headache syndrome, also known as transformed migraines, is a mixture of a tension headache and a migraine. This type of headache is common in both kids and adults.

7. Acute Headache

Acute headaches usually occur suddenly and go away in some time. There is no known symptom for this type of headache. It is mainly caused due to respiratory infections.

8. Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are nothing but chronic headaches that are caused by overuse of medication. So, it is recommended not to take painkillers frequently as it can put you at risk of a rebound headache.

9. Dental Headaches

Few dental-related conditions, such as bruxism, trigger dental headaches. Other factors that can cause a dental headache are poor posture, stress, or arthritis.

How To Treat Headaches?


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It is very important to get the treatment done before the situation becomes worse. And, the first step of treatment includes talking to your doctor and explaining to him/her exactly what is happening to you. Only then can the doctor start the treatment. It is important to share each and every detail of your headache, and how often it happens before they start with a physical examination. Also, share the details of your lifestyle so that the doctor can figure out the possible causes of the headache, what factors are contributing to making the situation worse and what will make you feel better. This will help them in diagnosing your condition in a better way and provide appropriate treatment.

Most people do not need any special tests as they suffer from tension or an acute headache. But, a few doctors suggest you undergo an MRI test or a CT scan to check if there is anything wrong with your brain that is leading to those dreaded headaches. Depending on those tests, your doctor will prescribe medicines. The treatment depends on a number of factors, like what type of headache you have or how often you suffer from it. There are some cases where the patients don’t even need any medication. Only counseling or stress management lessons are enough. It is up to your doctor to decide the best course of treatment for you.

But, if the situation worsens or there is no improvement even after the treatment, it is recommended to consult a Headache Specialist.

This is all about headaches. We hope you found this information useful. If you have any doubts or queries, you can post them in the comments section below.

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