Headaches are a nuisance, aren’t they? Not only do they make your life miserable but they tend to crop up at the most inconvenient and random times for almost unexplained reasons. You could be studying for an important test or planning to go out and suddenly it seems like someone is drilling a hole in your head. Dramatic? Probably but you get my point
The thing is not all headaches are the same (including the intensity of the pain). A headache you got last week could be because of a completely different reason than a headache you got last night. Because of their different causes, their treatments are also different. While some may disappear after a painkiller, some might actually require a visit to the doctor or prolonged medication.
So, to make life easier for you, read along to understand the different types of headaches and how to manage them.
A tension headache is the most common type of headache. It is characterised by mild to moderate pain in the head and stiffness in the neck. The main cause of a tension headache is stress, but eye strains (hello laptops and mobiles!), overindulging in alcohol, too much caffeine are also guilty.
Treating tension headaches is relatively easy. Any over the counter medication should be good enough unless the pain is chronic, for which you should definitely visit your doctor. Other non-medication ways to deal with these headaches could be relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, getting enough sleep and taking frequent breaks while working on a screen for long period of time.
Cluster headaches are a series of painful, short and continuous headaches that continue for weeks or months. The pain often begins as a piercing pain behind the eyes and then spreads to the forehead, face, jaw, etc. It could last for anywhere between 15 minutes to 3 hours and then disappears only to resurface again after a while. People suffering from this often get up to 3 headaches in a day!!
It is the least common type of a headache and tends to affect men more than women. It is also more likely to occur during spring and fall. The most effective treatment for a cluster headache is said to be oxygen masks but of course, they are inconvenient and impossible to carry around. Steroids are also said to be helpful in managing and preventing the cluster headaches and their pain. Injecting Sumatriptan is also beneficial but not so in cases of people with cardiac diseases.
Allergy headaches or sinus headaches are often caused due to the onset of a sinus infection or allergy (obviously!). The pain is often in the face rather than a headache but could spread to one side o the head to aggravation by sunlight or stress. The main causes could be season change, certain foods, smoke, etc.
Allergy headaches could often be mistaken for migraines due to similar symptoms so it’s important to get a correct diagnosis. As far as managing the pain is concerned, over the counter medication and avoiding the allergens works wonders.
A migraine is a severe throbbing headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting and is aggravated by light and sometimes, even sound. While the exact cause of migraines is not known, the best way to treat/prevent migraines is by adopting a healthy lifestyle and listening to your doctor.
Most people turn to medication to cure headaches. Rebound headaches are caused due to overuse of medication (irony at its best). Nausea, irritation, inability to concentrate is also some of the symptoms of rebound headaches. To avoid rebound headaches, try taking less medication as possible and only as prescribed by the doctor.
There you have it, different types of headaches and how to deal with them. However, it is important to consult a doctor should your headache bee very severe or continues over a long period of time.
In order to beat headaches, follow a general rule: try living as healthy as possible. Get enough sleep, enough food, try stress-busting techniques and drink enough water (dehydration can also cause headaches!). In short, be healthy to be happy.