Everyone has experienced a headache at some point or the other but if you experience persistent headaches, it's better to get it checked by a doctor because the reasons could be many.
Everyone is acquainted with headaches and how debilitating or blinding they can be. There are different types of headaches as well as multiple causes and symptoms. Sometimes, headaches are accompanied by nausea and vomiting or other signs. Some can be for a short time and don't need much attention while others could be recurring. Keeping a tab on the kind of headache you experience can be the first way to learn to treat it. Not all headaches need to be treated either but knowing what persistent headaches mean can help you seek the medical attention needed.
Headaches can be distinguished between two types essentially - primary and secondary. Primary headaches are the ones that are not caused by anything else while secondary ones are caused by something else. It is a symptom of another condition, according to Medical News Today.
There are different kinds of primary and secondary headaches that could be affecting you:
1. Cluster headaches
Severed burning in the eyes and piercing pain are the identifying evidence for these. They will happen around or behind the eye or one side of the face. It can be accompanied by swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating. Men experience this three times more than women. You could also experience nasal congestion and eye tearing. They happen in a series with each lasting between 15 minutes to three hours. People can experience up to four headaches in a day around the same time each day and this can go on for months, according to Healthline.
2. Tension headaches
You could experience a constant ache or pressure around the head that includes the back of the head and neck. These are not bad enough to stop anyone from going about their day, according to Health.com. Over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will be able to treat these headaches. They can happen because of the contraction of neck and scalp muscles.
Migraines begin with intense throbbing pain on one side of the head. The person could experience heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smell as well as nausea and vomiting. One-third of the people who experience migraines feel an aura before the pain begins. The visual and sensory disturbances can last between five and 60 minutes. They could experience seeing zig-zagging lines, flickering lights, or spots, partial loss of vision, numbness, pins & needles, muscle weakness, and difficulty speaking, according to Medical News Today.
4. Hypnic headaches
This kind of headaches is a rare type that plagues those on the other side of 50s but they could start sooner too. They are also called "alarm clock" headaches since it wakes people up in the middle of the night. It can range from mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head and last up to three hours. The symptoms can also include nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. It can occur multiple times a week and are harmless.
5. Exertion headaches
This kind of headache can happen after an intense round of physical activity. Since those activities increase blood flow to the skull it could result in a throbbing headache on both sides of your head. It generally doesn't last long. Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil) will be able to alleviate your symptoms.
6. Caffeine headaches
If you consume more than 400mg or around four cups of coffee a day, it can sometimes lead to headaches. Those who are trying to cut back on coffee and consume less daily for more than two weeks can experience migraine-like withdrawal headaches. If you stop having coffee suddenly then you can also experience tiredness, difficulty concentrating, poor mood or irritability, and nausea.
7. Hormone headaches, including menstrual
These headaches are common for women who experience hormonal fluctuations. The estrogen levels go up and down often because of menstruation, birth control pills, and pregnancy. Some women also experience menstrual migraine, which occurs before, during, or right after their period. As many as 60% face menstrual migraine. You can use relaxation techniques, yoga, acupuncture, and eating an appropriate diet during this period.
8. Allergy or sinus headaches
If you are experiencing headaches because of your sinuses, it is because the sinus has become inflamed. When you have a sinus infection, you could experience these headaches. They will usually come with a fever. Sometimes, people mistake sinus headaches with migraines. The accompanying symptoms will be sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and watery eyes. These can be treated with antihistamines or decongestants, according to Health.com.
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