Types of Headaches

When you get a headache, most people think that their brains must be hurting, but this is not really true. Despite its ability to interpret sensory signals from all parts of the body, the brain itself can not feel any pain. Rather when your head hurts, it is the structures surrounding the brain that are in pain such as the nerves, tissues in the neck and head area, and cells.

Pain in the head can be put into 2 major groups i.e. the primary and secondary headaches. This implies that they are categorized according to what is known to cause them or in some cases what is not known. Primary headaches are the ones that are not a symptom of any other disease and they are the final problem in themselves. Secondary headaches are the ones that are symptomatic of something else that maybe wrong with the body.

Types of primary headaches

  1. Cluster headaches, starting between the ages of 20-40, while the rarest, are also the most severe. They are characterized by extreme pain concentrated in the region of the eyes, usually on one side. Just as the name suggests, the headaches show up in clusters where sufferers may have one to three attacks in a single day for a month or two. Then they may cease only to resurface a few months or years later.
  2. Tension headaches, which is the commonest type of headache and is what most of us suffer from on a daily basis. It involves the temporary contraction the muscles in the head, neck and face, thus causing pain. They usually stop after whatever is causing the person stress has been dealt with. To avoid these, you have to steer clear of stress causing circumstances.
  3. Then there is the migraine, which can put a stop to whatever you are doing until it has passed. While the cause is still uncertain, it is associated with irritated blood vessels and hereditary factors. The effect produced by a migraine may make the person sensitive to all forms of stimulus leaving them almost handicapped. When they occur, migraines may last from an hour to a whole day and usually occur 2-4 times a month.

Types of secondary headaches

  1. Sinus headaches, these are as a result of swelling sinus and concentrate in the forehead, cheek bones, and behind the bridge of the nose. The pain is usually amplified with sudden head movements and treatment using decongestants should get rid of it.
  2. Hormone headaches, coming on due to changes in female hormones during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. Birth control pills may also cause hormonal changes and so result into a headache.
  3. Chronic progressive headaches or organic headaches are associated with a fault in the brain or skull. This is reminiscent of brain tumors though they are the least common and account for only 5% of headaches in adults and adolescents. A sudden and abrupt headache which is severe and intense is a sure warning sign.
  4. Ear, nose, throat and sinus infections will all cause a headache. A head injury or any problem with the head is likely to result into a headache as well. Intercourse has also been said to cause headaches, as well as most diseases and infections are associated with a headache as a symptom.

Headaches are some of the most common ailments that the human race is plagued with. Right from the little baby to the oldest adult, we are all under its spell at some point. This is because we lead largely stressful lives such that we are continuously perturbed by circumstances in our lives that cause us to have tension headaches. The good news is that tension headaches are easy to treat and should the stimulus be removed, the headache itself will subside.

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