Basics of headaches
Many individuals don’t know how complicated headaches can be. Distinct types may present with different symptoms, develop for various causes, and require various therapies.
Knowing the sort of headache you have will help you and your doctor determine the best course of action, including trying to prevent future headaches.
Common Headache Disorders
There are more than 150 different forms of headaches, however, these are the most typical ones:
Adults and teenagers have tension headaches the most frequently. They are mild to moderately painful and gradually disappear. They typically show no additional symptoms.
A migraine headache is commonly described as having a throbbing or hammering pain. Usually one to four times per month, they might last for four hours or up to three days. Other symptoms include sensitivity to light, sound, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and an upset stomach or pain in the abdomen, in addition to discomfort. A youngster who is experiencing a migraine may appear pale, feel lightheaded, have hazy vision, have a fever, and have an upset stomach. About once a month, stomach problems like vomiting occur in a tiny percentage of children with migraines.
These migraines are the worst. You can feel a severe piercing or scorching pain behind or around one eye. It may throb or be present constantly. Because the pain may be so intense, most cluster headache sufferers find it impossible to sit still and frequently pace during an attack. The eyelid droops, the pupil shrinks, the eye reddens, or tears are produced on the side of the pain. The nostril runs or constricts on that side.
Because they frequently occur in bunches, they are known as cluster headaches. During a cluster phase, which could last two weeks to three months, you might experience them one to three times per day. The typical duration of a headache attack is 15 to 3 hours. They might awaken you from your sleep. The headaches may completely subside for months or years (your doctor will refer to this as a remission), only to come back later. They will be developed by three to four times as many men as women.
Chronic Everyday Pain
For longer than three months, you experience this sort of headache for 15 days or more every month. Some are not long. Others go more than four hours. Usually, it’s one of the following four basic headache types:
• persistent migraine
• A persistent tension headache
• new, ongoing headaches every day
• Hemicrania persists
You have a sharp, ongoing pain in your cheeks, forehead, or on the bridge of your nose when you have a sinus headache. They arise from inflammation of the sinuses, or cavities, in your brain. Other sinus symptoms like a runny nose, ear fullness, fever, and face puffiness commonly combined with the pain. The mucus that comes out of your nose during a sinus infection, as opposed to the clear discharge noticed with cluster or migraine headaches, is what causes a sinus headache. the nose will be yellow or green.
Headaches following trauma
Two to three days after a head injury, posttraumatic stress headaches typically appear. As follows:
• A persistent dull pain that occasionally gets worse
• difficulty concentrating
• memory issues
• tiring easily
For a few months, headaches can persist. But if it doesn’t go better in a few weeks, call your doctor.
Less Common Headaches
When you move around, your head, neck, and scalp muscles need more blood. For supply, your blood vessels enlarge. Thereafter, you experience a pulsing headache on both sides of your head that could last up to 48 hours. It typically occurs during or immediately after physical activity or sexual activity.
Hemicrania Continua The same side of your face and head are virtually always affected by continua, a chronic, continuing headache. Additional signs include:
• varying degrees of pain
• teary or red eyes
• runny or congested nose
• sagging eyelid
• shrinking iris
• reacts to the analgesic indomethacin
• more painful when exercising
• Pain gets worse when drinking alcohol
Some individuals also experience migraine signs like:
• nausea and diarrhea
• a sensitivity to sound and light
The two are as follows:
Chronic: Headaches plague you every day.
Remitting: You experience headaches that remit after six months. They leave for a few weeks or months and then return.
Chronic, recurring headaches called hemiparesis continua nearly always affect the same side of your face and head. Additional signs include:
Headaches can be brought on by hormonal changes that take place during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormonal changes brought on by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can also cause headaches. Menstrual migraines are headaches that happen two days or more before your period or during the first three days of your cycle.
New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH)
These may appear out of nowhere and last for three months or longer. Many folks may recall the exact day that their suffering started.
The cause of this sort of headache’s onset is unknown to doctors. Some people discover that it occurs right after an illness like the flu, an operation, or a stressful situation.
Although the discomfort is often modest, it can be severe for some people. Additionally, treating it can be difficult.
Different symptoms may appear. Some of them resemble stress headaches. Others, like nausea or light sensitivity, also experience migraine-like symptoms.
If your headache is severe or won’t go away, call your doctor.
These may also be referred to as headaches from excessive pharmaceutical use. You’re setting yourself up for additional pain if you use a prescription or over-the-counter painkiller more than twice or three times per week, or more than 10 days per month. The agony returns once the medication wears off, and you have to take more to stop it. A dull, persistent headache that is frequently worse in the morning can result from this.
Ice Pick Headaches
These sharp, stabbing headaches rarely last longer than a few seconds. At most, they take place a couple of times every day. Visit your doctor if you have one. Ice pick headaches can be a standalone condition or a sign of another problem.
If you experience a headache following a spinal tap, spinal block, or epidural, consult your doctor. Because these operations entail puncturing the membrane that covers your spinal cord, your doctor may refer to it as a puncture headache. A headache may result from spinal fluid leaking through the puncture site.
This is frequently referred to be the worst headache of your life. It unexpectedly emerges from nowhere and soon peaks. Thunderclap headaches may be brought on by:
• Blood vessel rupture, obstruction, or damage
• head trauma
• Having a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of a brain blood vessel rupture
• ischemic stroke caused by a brain blood artery blockage
• brain’s surrounding blood arteries are narrowed
• blood vessels inflamed
• fluctuations in blood pressure during late pregnancy
Always take a new headache seriously. It frequently serves as yours.
Why do headaches occur?
A combination of messages between your brain, blood vessels, and adjacent nerves causes the discomfort you experience during a headache. Your head muscles and certain nerves in your blood vessels activate, sending pain messages to your brain. However, it is unclear how these signals are first activated.
the following are typical headache causes:
Illness. This can apply to fevers, colds, and illnesses. A throat infection, an ear infection, or sinusitis are among the illnesses that frequently cause headaches. Headaches may be the result of a blow to the head or, very rarely, they are a sign of a more serious medical condition.
Stress. alcohol usage, skipping meals, altering sleep schedules, and taking excessive amounts of medication, along with emotional stress and sadness. Other factors include bad posture, which can strain the neck or back.
Your surroundings, such as allergies, specific meals, strong odors from household cleaners or fragrances, and secondhand smoke. Other potential factors include stress, pollution, noise, changes in lighting, and weather.
Genetics. Migraine headaches, in particular, frequently run in families. 90% of kids and teens who get migraines also have family members who suffer from them. There is a 70% risk that a child will have migraines if both parents have a history of them. The risk drops to 25%–50% if only one parent has a history of severe headaches.
Doctors are unsure about the precise cause of migraines. According to one idea, migraines are brought on by a series of alterations brought on by an issue with the electric charge passing through nerve cells.
Adults who engage in too much physical exercise may also develop migraines.
Diagnosing a Problem
Once your headaches have been properly evaluated, you can begin the best course of action for your symptoms.
Consult with your doctor about your headaches as a first step. They will perform a physical examination on you and question you about your symptoms, including how frequently they occur. It’s crucial to provide these details in as much detail as you can. List the things that give you headaches, the things that make them worse, and the things that make you feel better to your doctor. To assist your doctor in treating your condition, keep a headache diary where you may record specifics.
In most cases, special diagnostic tests are not necessary. However, sometimes medical professionals advise a CT scan or MRI to check for issues inside the brain that could be the source of your headaches. Skull X-rays are useless. A headache-related fainting spell does not necessitate an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Ask your doctor to recommend a headache specialist if your symptoms continue to worsen or occur more frequently despite treatment.