Headache Symptoms and Treatment
There are at least 150 different types of headaches. Some of the most common classifications are migraine, tension-type, and cluster headaches. In order to determine what is causing your pain and suffering, it’s important to identify their unique symptoms in order to find the best treatment options.
A migraine is a type of vascular headache characterized by severe pain felt on one, and sometimes both, sides of the head. Most common in women, there are migraines with aura and migraines without an aura. During a migraine with aura, a person has visual disorientation 10 minutes to 30 minutes before an attack. During a migraine without aura, a person does not experience an aura, but does have the other migraine symptoms.
Other symptoms include:
• Sensitivity to light, sound and odors
• Visual disturbances
• Chills and sweats
Tension headaches, also called chronic daily headaches, are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. Named not only for the role that stress may play in triggering the pain, but also for the contraction of the neck, face and scalp muscles brought on by stressful events.
The pain is mild to moderate and feels like a steady pressure is being applied to both sides of your head or neck. Tension headaches can remain prolonged for long periods of time, but usually disappear after the period of stress is over.
Cluster headaches are the least common type of primary headache, but are the most severe and most common in men. The pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing quality that is throbbing or constant. The pain is centralized behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides.
Other symptoms include:
• Nasal congestion
• Drooping eyelids
• Watery and teary eyes
For most people with headaches, pain relief begins with medicine. Some of these medicines are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. For those with more severe or frequent headaches, medicine is also available to prevent headaches from occurring.
People with infrequent headaches may benefit from taking a hot shower, applying moist heat to the back of the neck, using cold packs on the back of the head or pressing on the bulging artery found in front of the ear on the painful side of the head. Stress management techniques, such as relaxation and massage, can also help limit pain.