3 common types of headaches
Not all headaches are alike, and being able to identify headaches by their symptoms is an effective way to ensure proper treatment. Sometimes the differences between headaches can be distinct, but in other cases they can be more subtle.
For this reason, it's important to look at the headache from a variety of different angles: target age groups, causes, and associated symptoms. Doing so will help you get a better idea of the type of headache you are currently suffering from based on more than just the current pain you are feeling.
Here are three common headaches and their characteristics:
1. Tension headache — A tension headache is one of the most common types of headaches identified by medical experts. According to the Mayo Clinic, a tension headache is characterized by dull pressure or tightness on both sides of the head and sometimes on the neck.
Other symptoms of a tension headache include fatigue and circular pain sensations around the entire head. Tension headaches are usually caused by stress and poor posture.
Chronic tension headaches have been reported to affect children younger than six years old, but the most common age groups to suffer from tension headaches are those in their teens to early 20s.
These headaches can be treated through over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, or neck and shoulder massages.
2. Migraine — Migraines are characterized by moderate to severe throbbing in the head. About 60 percent of sufferers have indicated that pain is primarily on one side, while 40 percent of patients have identified the pain on both sides of the head.
Migraines often come coupled with more severe symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting; sensitivity to light, sound or smell; and increased pain with everyday activities.
On average, migraines are most prevalent for patients between the ages of 45 and 64 and occur in women more than men.
Higher doses of general headache medication may be prescribed for a person suffering from migraine headaches. However, other over-the-counter medications are marketed specifically for migraines. Migraine headaches also can be treated through changes in diet and activities such as lying in a dark, quiet room until symptoms subside.
3. Cluster headache — Sharp, severe pain that develops rapidly over a short period of time is known as a cluster headache. These headaches are usually located in the eye region and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to hours.
The pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, including nasal congestion, tearing up in one eye, eye redness and irritability.
Men between the ages of 20 to 50 are more susceptible to cluster headaches than any other demographic.
The primary goal for treating cluster headaches is to prevent possible causes by changing diet, smoking and alcohol use to eliminate common triggers. Treatment may involve taking general headache medications, but also can be as simple as practicing breathing exercises.
If you suffer persistent pain from these types of headaches or others, consult a highly rated doctor for examination.