Common Types of Headaches—and How to Treat Them


It ought to be known that a headache is not just a headache. So, the next time your head is throbbing try and locate the source of the pain and which exact area of the head is the pain cantered at. This article is meant to shed more light on the different kinds of headaches you may be experiencing and how best to deal with the pain.

If the pain is centred only on a single side of your head (either the right or the left) and it feels like it’s pulsating or throbbing, it’s possibly a migraine. Migraines can be caused by more than a few reasons, but one thing is for sure, they are extremely rough to get through. Dr Raissa Villanueva, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center agrees with this and adds, “This pain typically is severe and affects your functioning.” Migraines are also accompanied by other debilitating symptoms such as sound and light sensitivity. Your best bet in treating this kind of head ache is getting enough rest as advised by Dr Villanueva. However, if the migraines occur frequently and affect your daily functioning, its best to seek more professional help from your doctor who may investigate a better preventative Rx.

Tension headaches are felt like a squeezing pressure or aching pain that wraps around your head. This kind of headache will make you want to check into your daily habits that can help relieve the pain. Dr Villanueva adds that, “Patients often say it’s like having a vice around their head.” Over the counter prescriptions from your doctor usually do the trick for this kind of headache. For even more effective response try taking medication containing a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. This combo has been found to give an individual in pain relief two hours later compared to taking placebo alone or an acetaminophen. This is as per research in The Journal of Headache and Pain that came to the conclusion that caffeine helps make the active ingredients more potent.

Sinus headaches are characterised by feelings of pressure in your eyes and cheeks. Sinus headaches are actually pretty rare and most often are confused to migraines, which are a more common cause of facial pain, as advised by Dr Villanueva. However, if you have clear symptoms of sinuses such as lack of smell and aching teeth, your doctor will need to prescribe antibiotics to fight off the viral/bacterial infection or prescribe other nasal decongestant drugs or antihistamines.

Thunderclap headaches are usually a sign of something much more serious. This kind of a headache feels like a lightning strike inside your head and may last for at least five minutes. The cause of this intense headaches may not be known to you according to the American Migraine Foundation. Thunder clap headaches should be an alarm signal to go and visit your doctor or rush to the hospital immediately. This kind of headache can be as a result of life-threatening conditions such as a brain aneurysm, a brain haemorrhage or a stroke. Get checked out as soon as you can.

A cluster headache gives a feel like something is poking you (hard!) behind nasal cavity and the eye. Dr Villanueva adds that, “These are also called suicide headaches because the pain is very, very severe.” Men are more often affected by cluster headaches compared to women. This kind of headache is linked with other symptoms such as tearing and redness in the eyes, running nose or droopiness of eyelids. Cluster headaches also arouse feelings of agitation making you want to get up and pace. Regrettably, many people suffer through cluster headaches without getting diagnosed for years, as Dr Villanueva notes. It’s vital to get the right diagnosis because this kind of headache is treated differently than migraines that also hit on a one particular side. Treating cluster headaches may require high-flow oxygen treatment that id directed by your medical doctor.

Although they involve the sinuses, Allergy-induced headaches are mainly seasonal, and come together alongside other symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. IDing the problem correctly is important and should be a diagnosis from a qualifies medic. Allergy headaches can be relieved by simply avoiding allergy triggers, by taking over the counter or prescribed antihistamines/decongestants as advised by Dr Villanueva.


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