Headaches are one of the most common diseases, but that is no comfort when we suffer from it. Stress causes many headaches, and treatment usually involves taking a couple of aspirins and relaxing. In this article, you will learn the different types of headaches that exist and how to control them.
However, sometimes headaches become chronic and your attempts to treat headaches can sometimes make them worse. Often our evaluation of the cause of the headache is incorrect, and this leads us to try corrective action that gives us no relief.
Why do we suffer a headache?
In the vast majority of cases, the headache is caused by stress, contracture or lack of rest. In a smaller percentage, the headache is due to a disease or pathology.
There are dozens of types of migraine and each has its symptoms and triggers. That is why it is essential to find the cause of the ailment and then carry out a correct treatment.
The sensation of pain in the head is basically due to an injury to the tissues and cells called nociceptors. These receptors work by capturing chemical, mechanical and thermal signals to warn if there is damage to the body.
In addition, there are other variables for headache, such as biological changes, emotions or nervous system disorders. The final feeling depends on internal factors and our mind. This is why some people are more prone to a headache than others.
8 types of headaches and their treatments
Having a headache is almost normal; it is estimated that about 14,000 people go to the doctor every month for this reason. They feel more intense around the central area of the brain and create a disturbing feeling of pressure directly in the eye.
Headaches are rare and usually last about an hour. There may be a period of days, weeks or months during which headaches will occur. After having suffered several of them, they often disappear suddenly, for months or even years.
When the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls the autonomic nervous system and regulates hormones, sleep, libido, breathing and other automatic body processes) acts during these episodes, it stimulates a nerve pathway along the base of the brainand this causes pain in the eyes. Blood vessels on the surface of the brain becomes inflamed, which creates a feeling of oppression.
If you have a headache, stop drinking and smoking to prevent a headache. Interestingly, oxygen therapy (breathing oxygen under pressure through a mask for a few minutes) can help shrink inflamed blood vessels. Extreme cases may require surgery to block the trigeminal nerve, which causes pressure in the eye.
Although the winter is over, you have sneezing, wheezing, and pressure on your sinuses. In addition, you have watery eyes, runny nose, and a headache that, apparently, will not go until winter comes back again.
There is a chance that your sinuses are the only ones guilty of your sore head. However, headaches due to allergy and sinuses are rarer than you think; they are often diagnosed as headaches caused by other reasons.
If your headache is related to sinusitis, don’t bother treating it as another headache. In this case, the treatment of the underlying cause is needed: your inflamed sinus cavities.
You can remedy this by using a saline nasal spray, a humidifier or prescription antibiotics (only if a bacterial infection caused the inflammation). The same applies to any headache related to allergy; you should resolve the allergic reaction, eliminate the allergen itself and your headache will disappear too.
Migraines are probably the most infamous and feared of all types of headaches. These head crushers are caused by inflammation of the blood vessels and arteries that surround the brain, which literally squeezes the brain until it hurts.
Your body’s nervous system can respond with an exaggerated fight or flight response. You will feel nauseous, intestinal absorption will slow down, there will be an increase in blood pressure and an increase in sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
Due to the slowdown in your digestion process, pain relief medications (cruelly) are not absorbed so quickly, which delays your relief. The migraines cause intense stinging pain. The agony can last several hours or even days.
At present, there is no easy solution for migraines, but a variety of options. Treatments include preventive and curative medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, triptans (medicines that reduce swelling of blood vessels in the brain), opiates, beta blockers and antidepressants.
Tension-type headaches are very common but are not yet well known. These vary in intensity and frequency. You can have a period of severe tension headaches almost daily, or you can experience a tension headache once it hurts you enough.
At some point in life, 7 out of 10 people will have tension-type headaches. Usually, this type of headache causes a decentralized, dull pain that makes your brain feel like it is in a clamp.
Your neck and shoulders will be tight and you will feel especially sensitive to light and sound. As the name implies, stress and anxiety are the triggers of these headaches and you can treat them with simple relaxation and common headache medications.
Some people suffer from chronic tension-type headaches and may find comfort through the prescribed antidepressants, which are often used in the battle against headaches. Others, however, can keep these types of headaches at bay by reducing stress and being treated periodically with a professional massage.
5. Visual fatigue
If you watch too much television, you are too long in front of the computer or read in the dark, you will not lose your vision; this is just a myth. However, these activities may harm your head. Many of us spend hours sitting in front of the computer or television, often staying too long in the same position or even falling asleep.
If you remain sitting for long periods in an office chair at work (or in your home office), use a desk chair suitable for the spine. If you do a lot of work on the computer, try using screens with anti-glare qualities. Even wearing dark glasses during the day can prevent the headache caused by eyestrain.
Finally, if you continue to have headaches related to eyestrain, consult an eye specialist to make sure you do not have undiagnosed eye problems that are causing the problem. Many times new lenses or prescription lenses are usually required.
Women may experience headaches due to the flow and reflux of hormones in the body. Specifically, estrogen and progesterone hormones are to blame.
These headaches are also called menstrual migraines. This can explain why women report more migraine headaches than men, since headaches and hormonal migraines share many of the same symptoms.
The days before menstruation are when women are more likely to experience hormonal headaches. The amount of estrogen in a woman’s body plummets shortly before the onset of menstruation and, sometimes, the reorganization of this chemical can trigger a severe headache. The use of birth control pills can also cause these pains.
To fix it, apply a cold compress on the neck and head. This can help, as can the neck and shoulder massage.
The relief of hormonal headaches can also be found in the use of diuretics (after consultation with the doctor) or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, as well as prescription medications.
Another unconventional (and temporary) treatment for hormonal headaches is pregnancy. Most women report that their hormonal headaches disappear sometime in the second trimester, but that is not always the case.
Menopausal women fighting hormonal headaches can try estrogen patches; these provide a constant daily release of estrogen and progesterone.
While many headaches can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers, sometimes treating pain with certain medications is the source of new headaches.
When aspirin or other over-the-counter pain relievers do not solve the problem, many people tend to increase the dose, increase the frequency of its use, or resort to stronger pain relievers to relieve the headache.
For some people, pain relievers (both over-the-counter and prescription ones) make their headaches worse, leading to even greater use. This puts them in a downward spiral of headache as they continue to increase the use of the substance that is actually making their headaches worse.
It is not clear why it happens, but researchers speculate that the use of painkillers often alters the way certain receptors work in the brain.
Medication-induced headaches often cause pain that spreads or is located in different parts of the head. However, this type of headache does not bring with it the symptoms of light sensitivity of common migraine or other types of headache.
People suffering from medication-induced headaches should decrease their use of painkillers (after consulting their doctor, of course). The bad news is that the headache often gets worse after stopping pain relievers and can stay for days or even weeks.
However, if you can endure the prolonged headache period without succumbing to the temptation to take painkillers, you may be free from this cycle.
People from all over the world enjoy coffee; when those who drink this stimulating concoction do not get their respective cup in the morning, many end up holding their head in their hands.
Caffeine withdrawal usually causes a throbbing headache and, in the short term, healing is quite simple: caffeine. Not only does the lack of this substance cause headaches, but it also causes fatigue and distraction. It may be difficult to address the general problem, but the temporary solution is a cup of coffee.
But why does our head hurt when we don’t ingest our daily caffeine dose? It is because the blood flow to the brain increases during caffeine withdrawal, which causes inflammation of the blood vessels involved in the sensation of “pressure” associated with headaches.
So, if you are trying to stop caffeine, try reducing your intake slowly for many days. Thus, you can avoid these pains and you will not have to worry about them again.
These are the different types of headaches that may occur. Not all headaches need medical attention. But sometimes the headache can indicate a more serious disorder. Tell your specialist if you have sudden and severe headaches. Get medical help immediately if you have a headache after a stroke or if you have stiff neck, fever, loss of consciousness or pain in your eyes or ears.