There are many different types of headaches. Tension headaches are the most common. They feel like a constant ache or pressure around the head, focused at the temples or back of the head and neck. Tension headaches usually do not cause nausea or vomiting. They may be caused by the contraction of the neck and scalp muscles.
Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. They are more common in men than women. Cluster headaches come on quickly and are characterized by severe, debilitating pain on one side of the head. They are often accompanied by a watery eye and nasal congestion, or a runny nose on the same side of the face.
Sinus headaches occur when a sinus becomes inflamed due to an infection. Pain and fever are common. Headaches due to sinus infection may need to be treated with antibiotics.
Overuse of pain medicines for headaches and other body pain can lead to Rebound headaches. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), as well as prescription drugs, can trigger Rebound headaches.
Migraine headaches can be hereditary and are diagnosed using certain criteria: one-sided pain, throbbing pain, moderate-to-severe pain, and pain that interferes with, is worsened by, or prohibits routine activity; migraines are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Prior to the onset of a migraine, sufferers may experience visual distortions (glow around objects) or hand numbness.
Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal, or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. Trigeminal Neuralgia attacks are divided into two categories: TN1 and TN2. TN1 attacks cause extreme, sporadic, and sudden burning or shock-like facial pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode. A TN2 attack is characterized by constant aching, burning, stabbing pain of somewhat lower intensity than TN1. Both forms of pain may occur in the same individual, sometimes at the same time. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating.
Why do I get headaches?
Could it be something I ate? Not enough sleep? Too much stress? Let's take a closer look.
WEIGHT. Your weight may have something to do with it. Research shows that an extra 20 pounds increase your chance of a headache by 35% - with even more extra weight upping your chances to 80%.
PERSONALITY. Your personality can play into the equation; being rigid, reserved, and obsessive can increase your odds of experiencing a headache.
OVEREXERTION. While exercising regularly can actually help stave off headaches, overdoing it can trigger a headache. Joggers, runners and weight lifters experience headaches when they push themselves too hard.
SMELLS. Powerful smells – such as strong perfumes, hair dye, lotion, or paint – can trigger a headache.
DEHYDRATION. Water is very important to your health. Dehydration leads to energy loss and can trigger a headache.
SKIPPING MEALS. Life gets busy, and many people find themselves skipping meals in their effort to keep up. But skipping meals is a common headache trigger.
CAFFEINE. A small amount of caffeine can help headaches, but too much can trigger them.
SLEEP. Sleep deprivation can trigger a headache. Missing just a few hours of sleep can contribute to a headache.
HORMONE LEVELS. Low estrogen can lead to migraines; other hormonal swings can trigger headaches during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause.
LIGHT. Bright light from flickering fluorescent bulbs, computer glare or bright sun can trigger a headache event.
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