Headache is a very common condition that leads to pain in the head and scalp and causes discomfort. It can be mild, but, sometimes, severe cases make it difficult to concentrate on studies and work affecting the individual’s day to day activities adversely. Whether you are suffering from the tightness of tension headache, sinus inflammation, or throbbing agony of migraines, when headache pain attacks, you want to get rid of it and never want it back. Most headaches can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. But, sometimes, it’s effective and necessary to figure out the reasons that cause the headache to treat the root cause, rather than just having painkillers to calm it for a few hours that may reoccur. A headache, which is painful and reoccurs repeatedly, can lead to disruption of the normal life.
Having painkillers for headaches can cause various other problems in the long run and that can be hazardous to life and cause various side-effects. Just having painkillers is potentially not the actual treatment for headaches. It is just a palliative mode of treatment. The patients need to understand that having painkillers, in the long run, can affect the quality of life adversely. Many people experience headaches as part of their life. 50% of adults experience pain in the head at least once a month. Let’s learn more about it.
Causes of a Headache:
Here are some common causes of a headache that you should be aware of.
- A lack of sleep or a change in the pattern of sleep
- Skipping meals
- Poor posture
- Glare: Brightness from computer screen or sunlight
- Noise: loud noise or repetitive sounds
- Physical activity may lead to exertional headaches
- Hormonal imbalance
- Food sensitivity: For instance, sensitivity to caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and cheese.
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20 Types Of Headaches
Here are various types of headaches. Let’s have a look at them.
- Tension headache: Tension headaches mainly occur due to stress that results due to the tension which persists due to daily activities. Chronic daily headache is the typical feature of the tension headaches due to the stress of tension as the name suggests. Mild to moderate headache occurs across the forehead or back of the head, and its main cause is stress. Dull constant pain in the forehead across the head may occur due to dehydration, a lack of sleep, loud noise, skipped meals, and eye strain.
- Sinusitis headache: Inflammation of sinuses with a recurrent runny nose may lead to this type of headache. It is mild to moderate headache at the bridge of the nose or the cheeks with the nasal congestion or post-nasal drip.
- Cold headache: Frequent cold and cough may lead to a headache, which is characterized by a blocked stuffy nose with a difficulty in breathing. Infectious air bone diseases might lead to fever, which can cause body pains and headaches.
- Migraine headaches: In migraine headaches, the pain is localized to the temple, eye, and back of the head with a characteristic one-sided headache which is difficult to deal with. The pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and visual disturbance with sensitivity to light and noise.
- Gastric headache: Acidity along with gas or flatulence is one of the major causes of headaches which will lead to indigestion affecting the productivity of life. Taking care of your diet in such a case is essential.
- Cluster headache: Cluster headaches are severe recurrent headaches that last up to 15 minutes to 3 hours and occur, more commonly, during the day with several episodic attacks.
- Exertional headache: Physical exercises, such as running, jumping, weight lifting, and bouts of coughing, cause an exertional headache. These headaches are short-lived and may last for two days. Moderation is the key to exercise to regulate this type of headaches.
- Hypnic headache or alarm clock headaches: This type of headache is usually seen in elderly patients above the age of 50 with excessive throbbing pain in the head at night. The pain is so severe that they wake up in the middle of the night and hence called an alarm clock headache.
- Caffeine related headaches: Heavy coffee consumption of more than 4 cups a day can lead to problems of headache. Sudden withdrawal may cause a headache which can last for 2 weeks as you stop coffee abruptly.
- Fasting headache: Mild to moderate type of pulsating headache which is more common when one skips a meal or has irregular eating patterns. Symptoms strike before a meal time with hunger headaches that are prevalent when you skip a meal with low blood sugar and muscle tension.
- Head injury headache: Headaches due to traumatic injury might lead to chronic and severe pain in the head. An MRI scan would give the perfect reason for such a traumatic injury resulting due to the impact of the blow on the head.
- Menstrual headache: It’s a migraine type of headache that occurs before, during, or after the period of menstruation or at the mid-cycle which is the time of ovulation. The main precipitating factor is the change in the estrogen levels which may be the main cause of headaches. Headache is also observed during menopausal syndrome, where the hormonal levels fluctuate leading to hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause.
- Hangover headache: Consuming a lot of alcohol can lead to hangover headaches. Symptoms vanish in 72 hours but it is prominently associated with nausea and vomiting resulting due to excessive drinking with the pain in both the temples that get aggravated by the slightest movement.
- Cervicogenic headache: Cervical spondylosis headache may occur due to degenerative changes in the spine and formation of bony spurs which may lead to compression of the nerve causing pain in the nape of the neck along with vertigo and headache.
- Tic douloureux headache/Trigeminal neuralgia headache: Trigeminal neuralgia headache is a jab-like headache that is triggered mainly due to facial pain. In this condition, the trigeminal nerve is involved causing electric current-like pain which is radiating to the cheek and mandibular joint.
- Headaches due to medication: A headache may be a warning signal to increase in the blood pressure. Some medications that treat illness of the patient might cause a headache. Such a patient suffering from cardiovascular problems may have a headache due to nitroglycerine which is essential for cardiac patients.
- Brain infection headache: This type of headache includes encephalitis or meningitis. Any kind of inflammation or infection affecting the brain with high fever causing headaches should be treated with a conventional line of treatment.
- Hemicrania continua: This type of headache persistently occurs on one side only. It is more of a unilateral headache either left or right.
- Dental headaches: Structural problems with bones, face, and teeth cause dental headaches. Radiating pain of the face along the tempo mandibular joint should be taken care, as it can be a dental pain which causes severe headache.
- New Daily Persistent Headache NDPH: This is more of a chronic headache. It is an unremitting headache (in three days after its onset). It is a daily occurring, rapidly developing, and unrelenting headache with no history.
Sensitive Brain Cells:
Despite the common occurrence of headaches, scientists don’t usually understand what exactly causes headaches. But, one theory for migraine-affected people states that the brains of migraineurs are fundamentally more sensitive than that of the normal people. When people get a migraine, over-excitable brain cells create an electric wave that spreads across the brain. This electric wave causes the release of prostaglandins and serotonin that dilates the blood vessels and causes the killer headache.
You should be concerned about a headache when it’s persistent or chronic and several episodes of the headaches affect you. You should get medical help right away when there is dizziness or a sense of loss of balance with vomiting and vertigo or when you can’t move your body. You need to see a doctor immediately if any of these signs occur or if you have the following symptoms.
- A high temperature or fever
- Confusion or drowsiness
- Unsteadiness while walking
- Blurred vision
- Stiff neck
- A head injury like a concussion
- Wakes up because of headache
- Several episodes of a painful headache
- Headache with vomiting
- Headache that disrupts home school and social life and work
- A chronic headache that doesn’t get better with treatment
Everybody is different. Listen to your body. It’s smarter than you think. Knowing what works for you can help in avoiding headaches in the future. Experiment and observe what works best & effective for you. Rebound headaches are those headaches that occur after the patient stop taking the medications, which they used to take to earlier to treat the headache, like some painkiller. Such a headache creates a vicious cycle that is very difficult for the patient to break and get rid of the pain in the head. Firstly, understanding the cause and the type of headache is essential to treat and follow various steps of prevention with care. Opt for homeopathy which has a classical approach for every kind of headache to treat it accurately by addressing the root cause, instead of having painkillers..