Almost everyone has suffered from a headache every now and then and it can be safely said that everyone suffers from it more than once in their lifetime. However, what really makes a difference is the frequency and intensity of the headache. Recurring or chronic headache is the real problem area in this context and an estimated 54 million Americans suffer from such headaches.
Types of Headache
It is necessary to take a brief look at the different types of headache in order to have a good idea about their differences and figuring out which case is the closest to yours. Even children suffer from headaches and it is important for parents to know exactly what type of condition their children are going through. This knowledge could also allow you to guide your physician for an accurate diagnosis.
Headaches are classified in more than a hundred categories but the most commonly experienced conditions are as follows.
- Tension HeadacheTension Headache is the most commonly experienced form of headache which is induced by stress and is made even worse with further stress and depression. It is also called chronic daily headache and is known to surface from time to time, lasting from an hour up to an entire day.SymptomsModerate headache, concentrating mostly on temples, not throbbing, affects most of the days of the month for at least three months.
- Acute HeadacheAcute Headache is a type of headache commonly observed in children. The headache appears even if the patient has no such prior history and disappears before too long.SymptomsThe headache is mostly triggered by stress and is connected to sinus or respiratory infections most of the time.
- Sinus HeadacheSinus Headache is an allergic reaction caused by the inflammation or clogging of the sinus cavities, which are located around the eyes, the nose and the cheek. Sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull which have several support functions and an inflammation there could cause serious discomfort. Sinus Headache is fairly common. SymptomsSevere headache with pressure, signs of respiratory infection, nasal discharge, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat.
- Cluster HeadacheCluster Headache occurs in a cluster of periods or a period of activity with short or long duration of gaps, ranging from weeks to even years. It is thought to be caused by the irritation of the trigeminal nerve.
- SymptomsSevere, piercing headache concentrated around the eyes, consistently affects only one side of the head without changing sides, not associated with nausea and vomiting, swelling of the eye, nasal discharge, light sensitivity, tender scalp, occurrence in an
- Chronic Progressive HeadacheChronic Progressive Headache is caused by some sort of inflammation or disorder of the skull. Chronic Progressive Headache is the rarest type of headache, affecting every 5 out of 100 adults and 2 out of 100 children. SymptomsIntensity and frequency worsens with time, associated with another illness.
- MigraineMigraine is one of the most common types of headache that can really affect the quality of the life of the patient. Migraine takes a lot of attention of the patient, lasting from 4 hours up to 72 hours. More than half of the Americans suffering from chronic headaches have Migraine. Migraine has no cure but its symptoms can be treated effectively.
- SymptomsModerate to severe headache consistently affecting only one side of the head, Pulsating and throbbing pain, may accompany nausea and vomiting, may be preceded by tingling and numbing sensations and vision abnormalities such as seeing flashes of lights and spots.
- A form of migraine headache experienced by children is known as abdominal migraine because it involves acute pain in the midline abdomen. Abdominal migraine in children is found in those who have a risk of developing migraine later in life and most probably do suffer from migraine headaches. Abdominal migraine in children is easily confused with other conditions due to its misleading symptoms involving stomach pain. Females are most likely to be affected with a probability of 2 out of every 100 children suffering from the condition.SymptomsSevere midline abdominal pain lasting from one hour to two days, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pallor, headache, drowsiness, flushing, dark circles under the eyes,
- Hormonal Migraine or Hormone HeadacheHormone headache is experienced by women due to the hormonal changes in their bodies. Women with conditions like pregnancy, menstruation and menopause commonly endure this type of headache. Taking medicine that involves hormonal changes, such as the hormone replacement therapy and the birth control pills, can also cause this type of headache.SymptomsSimilar to migraine.
Headache Causes & Risk Factors
While almost everyone experiences a headache once in a while, chronic headache conditions such as Migraine are found to be hereditary in nature. Every 9 out of 10 migraine patients have one or more family members suffering from the condition. The greater the number of family members affected, the higher will be the risk. If both parents of a child are affected with migraine, then the child is most likely to develop the condition as well. Other than that, people with poor sleeping habits are more likely to develop headaches. Stress and exertion are great triggers of headaches as well. Some people are sensitive to certain stimuli such as light, odors and food items and exposure to them can trigger headaches.
Headache Diagnosis & Treatment
Keep in mind that headache in itself is primarily a symptom to possibly some other underlying condition. During diagnosis, physicians eliminate all possibilities in order to make sure that some other disease or disorder is not responsible for the headache. Migraine and are the kind of conditions which
Headaches are mostly treated with over the counter painkillers. However, in case of serious and chronic headache, abortive and preventive non-prescription medicines are administered, some of which aim at certain chemicals in the nervous system to take effect. Conditions such as Migraine and Abdominal Migraine have no cure. In rare cases such as Cluster Headache, surgery may be suggested to prevent its occurrence. As a much safer alternative, lifestyle and behavior modification can significantly reduce the occurrence or at least the frequency of headaches.
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