Pain in the head can occur anywhere. The pain may radiate across the head or reach one corner from one location. It may also have a vise-like quality. Pain may present itself as a sharp, throbbing sensation or as a dull ache. The duration of headaches may range from a few hours to several days and can develop gradually or suddenly.
Everyone experiences headaches at least a few times in their life. Some experience minimal headaches while some people may get severe ones. There are different types of headaches that humans can experience in their lifetime. If you understand the type of headache that you have, it will help you in making the right and informed decision about the treatment that you need. Different types of headaches include migraine, tension type headache, cluster headache and sinus headache. Out of all these, tension headache is the most common to occur. It involves pain in and around the head, usually on both sides. The pain is usually moderate and can radiate to the back of the head and neck. It occurs because the muscles in and around the head and neck contract and cause pain. Tension headaches can feel like a band on the forehead or around the head.
Headaches can occur due to different reasons. It could be due to lifestyle conditions such as high consumption of alcohol, not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, low intake of water, bad posture and exposure to bright light. It can be genetic as well. Other causes include stress, tension, illness which includes infections. Headache can also be induced by depression and anxiety, it can occur as a side effect of some medications and during menstruation due to hormone fluctuation as well
Headaches can occur as a symptom of an underlying illness. In order to know the reason of your headache, keep a check of your headache signs and symptoms. Always note the triggers when you get a headache. Maybe you are experiencing headache because of hunger or sleep
Headaches that occur on a daily basis for more than ten to fifteen days can be chronic. Migraines and tension headaches can also be serious or chronic but only sometimes.
Primary headaches occur when pain-sensitive brain structures are overactive or malfunctioning. Primarily, headaches are not symptoms of underlying illnesses.
It is possible for the brain, nerves or blood vessels surrounding the skull, or neck muscles (or combinations of these factors) to contribute to primary headaches. Genes may also play a role. Some people are more likely to get such headaches.
The most common primary headaches are:
Episodic headaches can occur every so often or even just once in a while. The sessions can last from 30 minutes to several hours.
A chronic headache is more consistent. They can last for days at a time, and they occur most days of the month. Pain management plans are needed in these situations.
However, there are a few other headache patterns that aren’t as common as primary headaches. These headaches have distinct characteristics, including unusual duration and pain accompanying specific activities.
Medication headaches. There are many drugs that have headaches listed as a side effect. Even though it may seem paradoxical, many medications used to treat headaches can also make them worse by causing medication overuse or rebound headaches. Patients with migraines are more at risk of a vicious cycle in which pain leads to medication, which in turn triggers more pain. It’s possible to have medication overuse headaches if you suffer from frequent headaches and take medications every few days, either over-the-counter or prescription. You will know for sure if your medication is working by discontinuing or tapering your dose – but always talk to your doctor first. During withdrawal, prednisone may be helpful in controlling pain.
Headaches caused by sinuses. When you have acute sinusitis, you will experience pain over the forehead, around the nose and eyes, on your cheeks, or in the upper teeth. If you stoop forward, the pain will be worse. It’s clear that sinus problems are to blame when you have thick nasal discharge, congestion, and fever. Once you have recovered from the acute infection, the pain should go away. Chronic or recurring headaches are not typically caused by sinusitis.
Headache caused by high blood pressure. Unless the blood pressure is extremely high, hypertension rarely causes headaches. A study of 51,234 people found that high blood pressure was associated with a reduced incidence of headaches. However, most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms at all. You shouldn’t ignore your blood pressure, though. It is important for everyone to have their blood pressure checked and then take steps to correct any abnormalities. Hypertension can lead to strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, and kidney diseases.
A headache caused by exercise or sex. An exercise headache can be brought on by sudden, strenuous activity. Before exercising, you can warm up gradually or take an anti-inflammatory drug. A sexual encounter may also result in headaches; some men will feel only dull pain, while others will experience orgasmic headaches. NSAIDs can be helpful in preventing orgasmic headaches 30 to 60 minutes before intercourse.
Headaches usually come and go and are nothing to worry about most of the times. But if it is causing turmoil in your daily activities, your life and work, then you should definitely get checked by a doctor. If not preventable, seeking medical care can help you at least manage the symptoms.
Mostly people go for painkillers such as paracetamol whenever they experience headache. While medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen are effective when it comes to headaches, there are other alternatives that also help in relieving headaches. These include massage therapy, chiropractic, stress relieving activities, meditation, acupuncture and relaxation techniques.
If you identify the triggers for your headache, try to avoid them. If you succeed in removing the trigger or cause of the headache and learn to manage it, it will help you in getting rid of the pain or at least reducing it
Along with the medications, taking some rest in a quiet environment, intake of small amounts of caffeine (coffee) and sleeping can also cause relaxation and reduction in the pain
If you or anyone around you starts to experience severe headache due to a fall or trauma to the head, seizures, fever or numbness, you should immediately seek emergency treatment as delaying it or leaving it untreated can cause serious complications. These symptoms indicate a more serious condition. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment can save someone’s life.