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Headache Types - What Kind Do You Have?

Aug 17, 2007
Nearly two-thirds of all Americans suffer from chronic habitual headaches. From migraines, sinus and cluster headaches, to ones induced by stress and hormones, it can matter which type of headache the patient sufferers with, in order to treat them properly and get fast relief. Some of the most common headache types experienced by sufferers include:

Tension Headaches:
Felt by more than 80% of the adult population, tension-type headaches are the most common headache, and seem to be slightly more common among women, than men.
Believed to be caused by a chemical or neuronal imbalance in the brain, tension headaches have also been linked to a tightening in the back, neck and/or scalp. The pain is a pressing or tightening of both sides of the head, temple and neck, and feels much like a vice. Pain from this type of headache can be very mild, or excruciatingly severe.

Daily recurrences of tension-type headaches have been linked to depression, and other emotional problems. Changes in sleep patterns or insomnia, as well as ongoing fatigue can also cause tension headaches. Symptoms usually begin early in the morning or late in the day, and last for several hours. Analgesics seem to help the mild sufferer, but chronic and severe tension headaches may require a stronger prescription therapy.

The most severe of all headaches, and are experienced by 13 percent of the population. Their throbbing head pain, usually located on just one side of the face, neck and head, characterizes them. The combination of disabling pain and associated symptoms such as nausea, auras (bright lights, blind spots, etc), dizziness, and more, can seriously impede the quality of life for the chronic sufferer. There are many treatment options now available to migraine sufferers including daily preventative medications, massage therapy, relaxation techniques, as well as a myriad of homeopathic remedies now on the market.

Organically Caused Headaches:
The most serious of all the headache categories, organically caused headaches is not a disease itself, but rather, a symptom of a more serious disorder. This type of headache can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, tumor, blood clots and aneurysms, to name a few. When headaches become progressive with the pain worsening with each attack, a sufferer loses consciousness, is confused, or is taking over the counter medications on a daily basis, prompt medical attention is required to rule out an organic cause.

Hormone Headaches:
More than 60% of female migraine sufferers have linked their attacks to their menstrual cycle. Fluctuations in hormone levels during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can all trigger mild to severe headache symptoms. As estrogen spikes and dips throughout a woman's monthly, as well as life, cycles, headaches may become more frequent and more severe. Hormone therapy seems to work best for post-menopausal migraine sufferers.

Sinus Headaches:
Caused when one or more of the body's four sinus becomes infected due to blockage from a cold, allergies, the flu or some other physical ailment, sinus headaches generally cause a gnawing pain over the nasal area, and increases in severity throughout the day. A feeling of pressure and fullness is often accompanied by fever as the infection worsens. Treatment includes antibiotics, analgesics and nasal sprays. Chronic sinusitis may require surgery to remove polyps that continue to block nasal passages, or to repair a deviated septum.

Allergy Headaches:
Most commonly experienced in earl spring and late fall, allergy headaches are typically accompanied by nasal congestion and watery eyes. Antihistamines are most commonly prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.

No matter what type of headache a sufferer experiences, it is always important to seek medical treatment if they persist or worsen, as this may be a sign of an underlying cause that needs further treatment.
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