Headache is a common type of illness found in about 97% of the population with varying causes, symptoms, and kinds that differs from an individual. It is a type of pain felt in the head, also referred to as cephalalgia. The pain varies according to the type and can be excruciating or blunt.
About 80% of humans experience it during their existence on earth, including children, teenagers, and adults. There exist about 140 types of headaches with diverse symptoms. It interferes with our work, school, and home and reduces efficiency.
Different reasons are associated with headaches, but not all headaches have a known cause. It can be a mixture or interference of electrical signals in the brain, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. This is caused by the following factors:
- Underlying medical conditions contribute to headaches which are fever, sinus inflammation (sinusitis), sore throat, ear infection, stroke, brain tumor, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, arthritis, pregnancy, and migraine.
- Stress affects the body system and extends to all body parts with detrimental effects. It causes physiological changes that eventually lead to headaches. Effects of stress are disturbed sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, substance dependence, and poor posture.
- The environment is also a variable that causes headaches. Smells and smoke from household chemicals, industrial premises, tobacco, perfumes, allergens, and meals might provoke nerves in the head to send a distressing signal. Likewise, noises, lightning, and unfavorable weather can contribute to pain in the head.
- Most cases of headaches are often genetic. That is, it is transformable from parent to offspring. Parents with headaches have under a 60% chance of passing it on to their kids. It can run in the family.
- Brain chemicals.
It is usually found in teenagers and adults and is rampant with little or no symptoms but a moderate pain sensation in the head. It results from muscle contraction in the head, with the pain lasting only for a short period, usually related to stress. Medications are prescribed by doctors to treat it.
It is a painful type with a pulsating or throbbing feeling. Migraine headaches interrupt the nervous coordination and visual system. It jumps from one side of the head to the other and lasts for 4 to 72 hours and several episodic months with severe symptoms; dizziness, blurry vision, fever, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light and sound, loss of appetite, nausea, and head pain. Smells and noise are triggers for migraine headaches.
Sinus headaches are caused by sinus infections associated with the nasal cavities. It is often tagged with blockage in the nose; cold and fever are usually diagnosed as the causes of sinus headaches. Pain is often felt on the cheekbones, forehead, and cavities. The possible symptoms are fever, blocked ear, swollen face, and runny nose.
From the name, it occurs in groups with varieties of severe symptoms. Interestingly, it messes with the structure of the eyes leading to inflammation and pain. Common symptoms are red, waxy, and drooping eyes, disturbed sleeping pattern (insomnia), swollen eyelid, and runny nose, which last for about 30 minutes with reoccurring symptoms in a week. Men are more susceptible to cluster headaches than women.
Chronic headache proceeds over a long period and takes time before it heals. Pain lasts at least 4 hours and continues for 15 days to 4 months. According to the period, it is classified into four different types- chronic migraine, chronic tension, new daily persistent, and hemicrania continua.
This is associated with an injury suffered by the head; immediately or after a few days of the accident, which can be mild or severe. It is episodic and can persist for 7 to 12 months in an individual with symptoms.
Possible symptoms are lack of concentration, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, vertigo, seizures, vomiting, confusion, visual problems, and hearing defects. An untreated post-traumatic headache can develop into a chronic one.
It is linked to a lumbar puncture, responsible for low cerebrospinal fluid pressure getting to the brain. Most times, it causes leakage, which is accompanied by severe pain in the head. Also called a post-dural puncture headache. It lasts for 3 days in an individual with symptoms such as pain in the forehead, temples, and neck, nausea, tinnitus, eye problems, and hearing defects.
It is one of the most painful headaches, with a maximum pain intensity of high frequency within a few seconds, usually sudden. It does not exceed 1 minute. Thunderclap headaches are linked with underlying medical conditions such as meningitis, aneurysm, pituitary apoplexy, internal bleeding in the brain, inflamed blood vessels, stroke, reversible vasoconstriction syndrome RCVS, and brain injury.
There are other types caused by factors like medications, caffeine, and hormonal changes.
Otherwise known as rebound headache. It is often diagnosed in individuals that depend on drugs to treat pains; daily and frequent usage, especially with over-the-counter medications. Painkillers cause pain after their effects can be mild or severe pain. Opioids, acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and triptans (sumatriptan) cause pain in the head.
Just as you know that caffeine stimulates the nervous system. With a high consumption of caffeine daily increases, the chances of developing it; four cups of coffee daily is a lot of caffeine for a day.
This lasts for 24 hours for a start but extends to about 2 to 9 days. Withdrawal from caffeine can also cause pain due to changes in the brain chemistry; interrupted blood flow to the brain. Symptoms are tiredness, mood disorder, nausea, irritation, and confusion, which differ in individuals.
Also called a menstruation headache. The changes in estrogen levels are linked to migraine. It occurs before and after ovulation which differs in individuals. Other factors that trigger it are menopause, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, birth control pills, and excessive alcohol. The pain switches sides in the head, accompanied by nausea and oversensitivity to light.
TREATMENT FOR THE TYPES OF HEADACHE
A series of treatments are recommended by doctors to treat headaches, considering how often, the cause, and the severity. In addition, your doctor can refer you to a specialist.
Not all headaches can be treated with medical approaches, but you should figure out the trigger.
- Medications– Using pain relievers to treat headaches is effective but must be used moderately because it can lead to dependency, which causes migraine. It treats seizures, high blood pressure, and depression, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Stress management– stress is coupled with a lot of pain, and it disrupts the physiological state of the body. Find a way to cope with stress with techniques that ease tension. Techniques like breathing in and out, sleep, yoga, meditation, and mental images to get rid of stress. These methods help to keep your physical, mental, and emotional health in good condition.
- Bio Feedbacks from monitored body response to tensions. It detects deviations in your system from your breathing rate, body temperature, muscle tension, cognitive activities, and heart rate.
- Acupuncture. It works well with chronic headaches.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT is a treatment usually recommended for children and teenagers.
- Herbal and nutrition recommendations supply you with lacking nutrients in your system. For instance, vitamin D and magnesium promote nervous coordination.
EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PREVENT HEADACHE
- Regular exercise
- Sleep regularly under a dim light and quiet room.
- Limit your alcohol intake and quit smoking.
- Apply heat or cold to your head and neck.
In conclusion, headaches can be mild or severe, and it is important you see your doctor or health providers when you see possible signs and symptoms. Stay safe, stay healthy.
COMMON TYPES OF HEADACHE FAQs
What are the causes of headaches?
There are several causes associated with headaches, which are brought about by the sequences in the signal transmission of nerves in the head. They include stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, migraine, head injury, infections, colds, tobacco smoking, strong smells, allergens, and genetics.
What are the types of headaches?
There are several types of headaches with different symptoms and severity. They include tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, chronic headaches, sinus headaches, post-traumatic headaches, spinal headaches, thunderclap headaches, caffeine headaches, medication headaches, and hormone headaches.
Why do I experience headaches so often?
Headaches are usually triggered by something. It usually has a cause. Check for the causes of your headaches, which could be hereditary, underlying medical conditions, environmental factors like pollution, or stress.
Where are the usual locations for headaches and pain?
It comes with pains that are usually mild or excruciating. Some parts of the body indicate the types of headaches it is. They are the neck, arm, eyes, nasal cavities, forehead, and back of the head.
What are tension and cluster headaches?
Tension and cluster are different types of headaches with unlikely symptoms and severity. Tension headache has mild pain, common to adults and teenagers, and occurs for a short period. Cluster headaches have a group of symptoms that affect the eyes and last for hours to days.