Identifying Different Types of Headaches

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If you're reading this, you might be one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from one of several different types of headaches, according to information provided by The Migraine Institute, and you are looking for answers. In fact, you have come to the right place to learn more about this condition and understand how, when, and why your head hurts, and what you can do to avoid it.

Types of headaches

We have all suffered from headaches throughout our lives. In fact, there are many different types of headaches, and their causes and symptoms can vary. The key to dealing with them is identifying them, which will help us find the best solution to improve our quality of life.

Tensional headache, the most common

Researchers estimate that as many as 2 in 3 adults in the U.S. get tension headaches. This headache is due to the accumulation of tension, and it usually occurs at the end of the day. It manifests as constant pain or pressure around or at the back of the head and neck. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can relieve pain, but we also suggest practicing yoga or meditation to relax.

Migraine, the most disabling pain

Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraines are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the United States. Migraines go beyond a severe headache. It is a neurological disorder that presents different symptoms ranging from vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light, intolerance to noise or odors, to paralysis. To carry out preventive treatment, we recommend consulting a specialist because migraine is a chronic disease. Sleeping too little or too much, fatigue, a poor diet, smoking, changes in temperature, noise, and certain medications (contraceptives, antihypertensives) are the most common causes.

Cluster Headache, very intense pain

Cluster headaches usually begin before age 30, and sufferers are almost exclusively men. The intensity of this headache makes it impossible for us to carry out any activity, in addition to repeating itself throughout the day. The pain occurs on one side of the head, usually around the eye or temple. The best way to find a solution for this condition is to go to a specialist: treatment can combine drugs with steroids, calcium channel blockers, and oxygen therapy.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is diagnosed in approximately 15,000 people per year in the United States and is the most common cause of facial pain. The pain typically involves the lower face and jaw, although it can also affect areas around the nose and eyes. Although specialists cannot always cure this condition, there are treatments available to alleviate the pain. Anticonvulsive medications are the first treatment choice. Surgery can be an effective option for those who become unresponsive to medications or suffering from serious side effects due to medicines.

How to identify the type of headache you have

The first thing to do is create a pain diary. A pain diary helps collect data on possible triggers for your headache. It might sound very clinical and scientific, but — think about it! If you have a headache that changes over weeks or months — you are not going to remember what your pain was like on February 16! While it might not seem all that useful straight away, you build up a profile of your ailment over time and what triggers it. With all this information, it will be easier for the doctor to diagnose you. And with a good diagnosis, you will find better relief.

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