Know What Kind of Headache You Are Suffering From

Headache is quite common among the wide part of the world population. When we experience a headache we try to manage it either home remedies or take some quick headache pill. The worst part about headaches is most of us don’t give attention to it till it starts affecting our routine life badly.
Know that even a little level of headache can be the sign of for big threat that may suffer in the future. If you take your headache seriously on time then you can save yourself from bigger health problems.
Now because headache to so common it is quite difficult for many of us to track and take immediate respective action. In this, what if we tell you that headaches can be categorized in many levels or sections and by keeping the symptoms in mind you can easily take relevant action. Sounds good, isn’t?
To help you here we are giving a definitive guide on the headache that helps you to understand your headache much better. If you have a family history with headache-related problems like migraine then you would love to read all the points without missing anything.
Meanwhile, if you are healthy and you are here for knowledge purposes then still we recommend you to read the below information carefully or just bookmark this page so you can help yourself or someone with the best possible available information.
As we said above headaches can be categorized in various types. Now it is natural that the causes and symptoms can also vary. Most of the time headaches affect you for a very short period of time.
You obviously can ignore such type of headache but if you are experiencing a headache for a long duration then you need to definitely cross-check your symptoms with the below article to find the root problem.
The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) headache can be categorized in more than 150 different types of headaches.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go into that much in-depth. To make it more simple headaches can be primarily categorized into two categories: primary and secondary. So let’s understand both of them in detail.

Primary Headaches

The cause of primary headache doesn’t exist because it is itself a condition. Tension and migraine are perfect examples of primary headaches.


Migraine is a very painful type of headache. In this, the person feels pain in one side of the head or feel extreme throbbing pain. Symptoms like vomiting and nausea are quite common symptoms of migraines. Apart from that, a person may face heightened sensitivity to smell, sound, and light.
If you have never experienced a migraine pain then you may feel shocked to know that almost 1/3rd people feel an aura before getting a migraine attack. In simple words, These auras can be defined as a sensory and visual disturbance that generally lasts up to 5 to 60 minutes. The auras can include:

  • difficulty speaking
  • partial loss of vision
  • flickering lights, or spots
  • numbness
  • seeing zig-zagging lines
  • muscle weakness
  • pins and needles

If you are experiencing any of the above auras then you need to call your doctor as these symptoms could also the signs meningitis or stroke.
Migraine is not something that one can experience a few numbers of times. It tends to be repetitive and each attack effect can last up to 3 days. The worst part about migraines is for many it is a kind of life long condition.
It is the biggest misconception that only adults suffer from migraine which is totally wrong. Know that migraines can be experienced by children and adults both.
The quick fact about migraines is females are more likely to develop migraines in comparison to males. Its attack frequency can range from once a year to several times a week.
The prime cause of migraines is still not clear but the researchers stated migraine is more genetic and it also causes because of some certain pre-existing conditions, for instance, epilepsy and depression. Here are some other factors that can be considered as migraine triggers:

  • loud noise and bright lights
  • hormonal changes
  • skipped meals
  • sleep disruption
  • stress and anxiety
  • some foods and medications
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, i.e., aspirin or ibuprofen, can reduce pain and duration or stop headaches.
  • dehydration

If you are getting symptoms like vomiting and nausea then your doctor may prescribe you antiemetic drug-like ondansetron or metoclopramide to manage vomiting and nausea. There are some migraine-specific combination medicines that are also available.
The attacks may also be reduced by:

  • placing cold cloth or ice pack on the forehead
  • drinking water
  • resting in a dark, quiet place

To treat unmanageable migraines, doctors generally prescribe triptan class of drugs that includes sumatriptan or rizatriptan. For the best effect, it is recommended to take medicine as soon as you get any symptoms.
If someone is going through chronic migraine then he or she is advised to consult a doctor for preventive treatment. A doctor will know about the chronic migraine by cross-checking the following symptoms:

  • Have at least 8 symptoms of migraine
  • over a period of 3 months
  • pain more than 15 days per month

Drugs that one can take to prevent migraines include propranolol, amitriptyline, and topiramate. Other things that are advised to manage migraines include diet change, neuromodulation therapy, meditation, and acupuncture.

Tension Headaches

It is a type of headache that is quite common and it is experienced by a high number of people. In the condition of tension headache, people generally experience a constant dull pain on both sides of the head. Here are some other symptoms of tension headache:

  • sensitivity to sound and light
  • a feeling of pressure behind the eyes
  • tenderness of the head, face, shoulders, and neck

Tension headaches often last from half an hour to several hours. The level of severity can vary but it is often ignored by most of the people because it rarely affects the routine.
Just like migraine the cause of tension headache is not clear but some common known triggers are depression, anxiety, and stress. Some other potential triggers of a tension headache include:

  • bad posture
  • skipped meals
  • dehydration
  • eye strain
  • lack of exercise
  • poor sleep
  • loud noise

You can take over the counter painkillers like acetaminophen, aspirin, and aspirin to get rid of your tension headache. If you are experiencing this type of headache more than 15 days a month then you should see the doctor.
If you don’t want to go with medication then you can consider some lifestyle change to manage your tension headache. We recommend you following lifestyle changes:

  • regular exercise and stretching
  • improve your standing and sitting posture
  • management of anxiety, stress, or depression
  • acupuncture
  • having an eye test
  • getting enough sleep

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are severe and chronic headaches. It is a type of headache that is experienced most by men. Know that men are six times more prone to get a cluster headache in comparison to women. People who suffer from chronic experience may experience piercing pain in the backside or around one eye or intense burning feeling.
The other common symptoms of cluster headaches are:

  • restlessness or agitation
  • swollen eyelid
  • watering eye
  • restlessness or agitation
  • sensitivity to light and sound
  • a blocked or a runny nose

Know that cluster headache attacks are very sudden. You will generally don’t get any warning. Cluster headache can last up to 15 minutes to three hours. The worse thing is a person can experience up to 8 attacks a day.
Most people experience the attacks at the same time of day. The most common time is a couple of hours after getting asleep.
The reason for cluster headache is quite unclear but it is more likely to people who smoke a lot. Apart from that, it is highly advised to stay away from alcohol during attack periods.
The permanent treatment is still not available. The available treatment is done keeping reducing the frequency and severity of the attacks in mind. The most common options include:

  • verapamil
  • topiramate
  • steroids
  • sumatriptan
  • oxygen therapy
  • lithium
  • melatonin

In some rare cases, your doctor may recommend having surgery if your cluster headache is untreatable and out of control.

Secondary Headaches

As you can simply guess secondary headache are those which cause is known for instance headache because of sudden caffeine withdrawal or head injury.

Medication-Overuse Headaches

A medication-overuse headache (MOH) which is also known as rebound headache is the most common type of secondary. This kind of headache is characterized by daily or frequent headaches. Sometimes it is quite difficult to find out whether you are suffering from the primary or secondary type of headache because the symptoms are very similar. You will feel the same symptoms of migraine or tension headaches.
You can control secondary MOH by taking some painkillers but the problem is it reoccurs again after some time.
Medication-overuse headache can result from taking pain medicines more than 15 days in a month. Drugs that can be responsible for MOH include:

  • NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • opioids
  • triptans, such as sumatriptan
  • acetaminophen

It really doesn’t matter whether you are taking the above drugs on prescription or as directed medication-overuse headache (MOH) still can occur. In most of the case medication-overuse headache (MOH) seems to develop to people who are taking painkillers particularly to treat the headache.
The only way you can get rid of medication-overuse headache (MOH) is to stop taking the particular medicine but make sure you stop it under doctor supervision to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.
If you don’t follow the doctor prescription then you may experience following withdrawal symptoms:

  • sleep disturbance
  • nausea and vomiting
  • restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness
  • increased heart rate

Apart from that, here are some steps that will help you in preventing MOH:

  • Avoid using codeine
  • Don’t take headache painkillers more than 2 days in a week
  • Take preventive medications to manage chronic migraine

Head-Injury Headaches

Minor blows and bumps to the neck and head are quite common and the best thing is you don’t have to worry much about it. In some cases, you may experience headaches immediately or soon after.
The pain and symptoms can be similar to tension headache or migraine and you can simply manage them taking any over the counter medicine.
If you are feeling lots of pain or unbearable pain then you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. After a head injury you need to call an ambulance if you are getting the following symptoms:

  • seizures
  • memory loss
  • vomiting
  • unconsciousness
  • confusion
  • vision or hearing problems

We hope you find the given information useful. Now please feel free to share this article with someone who really wants to understand his or her headache in detail. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or suggestions then feel free to use the below comment box.

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