Types of Headaches
We are all familiar with headaches that arrive without warnings and result in pain and discomfort. This brings us to another important question- Are all headaches the same? Medical experts have identified different types of headaches, including everything from the common migraine to rarer kinds. Some varieties have interesting names- tension, cluster, hormone, ice pick and sinus to name a few.
There are many other types of headaches including those resulting from over-exertion, caffeine consumption, medical disorders, and hypertension. Rebound or post-traumatic headaches are rarer varieties. Before you start trying to identify different headaches that you’ve got over the years, a word of caution- not every headache is harmless! Read on for more.
Which types of headaches require medical examination?
You should instantly consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms accompanying your headache:
- Slurring of speech.
- Stiffness in the neck.
- Rashes and Vomiting.
- Persistent fever of 100.4°F or higher.
- Loss of vision.
- Paralysis in the body.
Learning more about different types of headaches
Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) says in a report that 95% of women and 90% of men have experienced one headache at least. It also identifies the three common headache types as migraine, tension and sinus.
Here are the biggest reasons for/types of headaches:
- Due to Migraine- There are many types of migraines and some cause uncomfortable headaches with throbbing or pounding sensations. These may last for hours or a few days too. Additional symptoms include feelings of nausea, vomiting, stomach upsets and lack of appetite.
- Cluster Headaches- The name comes from their tendency to take place in groups. Imagine headaches of varying lengths happening multiple times every day and encompassing several weeks or months. Painful isn’t it? Sometimes they vanish altogether and reappear suddenly when you’re least expecting them. Severe in nature, they cause deep pain and burning sensations.
- Due to Tension- As their name suggests, these headaches are caused by severe tension and stress. They cause milder pain than many other varieties.
- Due to Head Injuries – Post-traumatic headaches arise due to head injuries. Some of the symptoms include concentration issues, tiredness, feeling light-headed, aching pain, problems in remembering things, etc.
- Chronic & NDPH Varieties- Many headaches take place for a few days every month or even for some months at a stretch. They are chronic headaches and include those caused by tension, migraine and hemicranias continua. This is a disorder where a person feels pain constantly on one side of the head or face. New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH) refers to headaches that occur without any apparent reason. They may attack people after illnesses, surgeries or even the common flu, with mild pain and discomfort.
- Due to Sinus Issues- These types of headaches are characterized by constant pain at various places along with fever.
- Due to Over-Exertion- Physical over-exertion may lead to headaches afterwards. These are characterized by pain resulting from a lack of blood flow to your neck, head and scalp muscles.
- Smaller & Quicker Headaches- They are headaches that last for a shorter duration, sometimes even a few seconds and take place multiple times in a day. These shorter and faster varieties, known as ice pick headaches, may indicate any other underlying medical issue at times.
- Due to Spinal Surgeries- Any spinal surgery or procedure may lead to what doctors call a puncture headache (they are called so because the membrane surrounding the spinal cord is pierced by the doctor in these treatments). If there is any leakage of spinal fluid through this site of the puncture, it may lead to a headache.
- Due to Consumption of Prescription Medicines or Painkillers- Suppose you have consumed painkillers or any prescription medicine for several days in a month. This may lead to rebound headaches with constant pain.
This list will give you an idea of the many kinds of headaches and their accompanying symptoms. Watch out for anything that seems unusual or merits a visit to your doctor. Remember that headaches may sometimes result from a simple cold, illness, flu, and other common medical conditions. In such cases, follow your doctor’s advice, get plenty of rest, and drink fluids.