Headache Disorders

Common Causes and Types of Headache Disorders

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you suffer from chronic or debilitating headaches. Perhaps you’ve grown so accustomed to the pain that you don’t realize something is wrong.

Headache disorders come in many shapes and sizes. Some can be treated at home or with simple medication. At other ends of the scale, however, these disorders can be serious, life-altering conditions. They could need long-term medication or even surgery.

The important thing is to never ignore them. Even if it feels like it will go away, see a doctor to get it checked out.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on the most common types of headache disorders you should look out for.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are one of the most commonly reported headache disorders. Migraines can be very painful and debilitating.

They can cause a wide range of symptoms. This includes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and sensitivity to light and sound. Common causes of migraines include stress, hormonal changes, and changes in diet or sleep.

There are two common types of migraine headaches. They are those with aura and those without aura.

A migraine with aura is characterized by a warning symptom that typically includes visual disturbance or alteration in sensations or speech. On the other hand, a migraine without aura may also include many of the other symptoms but may be less evident in onset.

Regardless of the type of migraine, rest, relaxation, and using over-the-counter medications can be effective in helping to reduce the severity of the headaches.

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Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are characterized by pain or pressure on both sides of the head. Sometimes, you might also have a band-like fashion around the forehead.

They are often described as a heavy head, an aching and pressure-like sensation, or a tight band. Other symptoms can include neck, shoulder, and scalp muscle stiffness.

You may also feel pressure behind the eyes and feelings of clenching or pulsing in the head. You could also have tension in the muscles of the shoulders and neck.

Common causes of tension headaches include stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation. Poor posture, dehydration, certain medications, and muscle strain can also cause them.

Treatment for tension headaches typically involves rest, stress reduction, physical therapies, and relaxation exercises. You can also take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are often caused by the inflammation of the lining around the sinuses. It is typically triggered by an infection caused by the common cold or flu or allergies to pollen or pet dander.

Sinus headaches cause dull, throbbing pain in a person’s forehead or around the eyes. Other common sinus headache symptoms include facial tenderness, pressure around the eyes, runny nose, and pain when bending over. A person may also experience congestion, coughing, and post-nasal drainage associated with sinus headaches.

While anyone can suffer from a sinus headache, it is more common in children, those with asthma, and women. It is also common for people who live in warm, humid climates.

Sinus headaches can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, consulting with your doctor is always recommended if treatment is insufficient.

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Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are one of the most severe headache disorders. They can cause debilitating pain and typically have a sudden onset. They produce intense, burning pain that can hinder sufferers.

The cause of cluster headaches is still not fully understood, although recent research has shown that several factors may contribute. These include:

  • Changes in levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters
  • Structural changes in the nerve pathways
  • Vascular irregularities
  • Environmental factors
  • Allergies

Cluster headaches typically occur in cycles. The headaches last from fifteen minutes to three hours and often recur several times a day for weeks or months.

The most effective treatments for cluster headaches involve medications and physical treatments. They help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

But if all non-prescription treatments fail, you may consider going to a headache institute. The National Headache Institute is a specialized facility.

They check and provide headache treatments as well as specialized care. These include:

  • Medications
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Biofeedback
  • Other treatments

There are also dieticians who provide advice for diet and nutritional supplements. There are also exercise specialists available. They can provide instructions on how to incorporate regular exercise into daily life.

If this interests you, then find out more about this headache institute.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are caused by long-term overuse of short-acting pain medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers. These medications are usually used to treat existing headaches or migraines, but their use can result in further complications from rebound headaches.

Symptoms of a rebound headache are similar to those of a regular headache, only more persistent, and may be worse and more long-lasting than the initial headache. These headaches usually arise when a person relies too heavily on pain medications to manage their headache on a regular or daily basis.

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It is best to avoid overusing short-acting pain medications to prevent rebound headaches. Instead, you must establish an alternate way of headache management. This includes relaxation techniques and stress management.

Post-Traumatic Headache

Posttraumatic headache (PTH) is a headache disorder caused by external injury or trauma. Common causes of PTH can include a hit to the head during a motor vehicle accident, a fall, repeated subconcussive injuries sustained during contact sports, or as a result of a traumatic event.

PTH is typically divided into, acute and chronic. Acute PTH can occur directly after the trauma and last weeks or months. Chronic PTH typically lasts longer than three months and is sometimes the only late symptom of the initial trauma.

The most commonly reported symptom of PTH is a headache that is usually pressure-like and located on the forehead or behind the eyes. Nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light or sound are also common. Treatment of PTH often involves pain relief medications, physical therapy, and counseling.

Free Yourself From Headache Disorders Today

Headaches are a common but nevertheless, debilitating problem that can seriously impact a person’s quality of life. Knowing the different types and causes of headache disorders can help one to understand, manage, and even avoid headaches in the future.

It is always best to discuss any concerns with a doctor and inform them of any new or worsening headache symptoms. Take control of your headaches today and get the help you need!

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