Time to read 2 min
Time to read 2 min
WHAT IS IT?
Headache is a pain in any region of the head.
Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, or radiate across the head. Headaches may appear gradually or come on suddenly.
They may last less than an hour or for several days. There are many different types.
Tension headache refers to diffuse, mild to moderate head pain that’s often accompanied by tightness or pressure across the forehead. Other symptoms may include tenderness in your scalp, neck, and shoulders.
What causes tension headaches isn’t known. Some experts theorize that people with tension headaches may have a heightened sensitivity to pain and possibly a heightened sensitivity to stress.
A migraine typically causes an intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head that may last for hours to days. The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraines are preceded by warning symptoms (auras), such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in an arm or leg.
What causes migraines isn’t well-understood. They may be associated with brain chemical imbalances, changes in the brainstem, and interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.
A number of things may trigger a migraine attack, including hormonal changes in women; salty or processed foods; some sweeteners or preservatives; alcohol; stress; a change of weather; and sensory stimuli, such as bright lights, unusual smells or loud sounds.
Cluster headaches occur in cyclical patterns or clusters. The pain is very severe and often located in or around one eye on one side of your head. People say it feels like a hot poker being stuck in the eye. Other signs or symptoms include redness or excessive tearing in the eye, a stuffy or runny nostril on one side of the face, and pain that radiates to other areas of the face, or neck and shoulders.
Cluster headaches may occur frequently for weeks to months, usually followed by a remission period. Abnormalities in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus may play a role.
It depends on the type of headache you have.
A variety of medications may be prescribed. Pain-relieving medications, Over-the-counter pain relievers, Preventive medications prescribed to help reduce the frequency of tension headaches.
The goal is to relieve symptoms and reduce the frequency of cluster headache attacks. When no medication is effective, a surgery that damages nerve pathways thought to be responsible for the pain may be performed.
Preventive medications are prescribed to suppress attacks.
Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.