If you think about it, it’s strange that headaches exist given that the brain itself doesn’t feel any pain at all. Experts believe that it is the surrounding tissues, nerves, blood vessels, and chemicals that cause the pain you feel during headaches. Headaches are perhaps the most common ailment there is. Although a single headache doesn’t warrant a trip to the doctor, it can still be very distracting and may keep you from accomplishing your tasks efficiently. However, you should know that treating your headache depends on what type of headache it is. Different external or internal factors can trigger your headache and you should treat your headache according to the factor that triggered it. Here are six types of headaches and how to treat them.
Rebound headaches, as the name suggests, is a consequence of medication overuse. Rebound headaches are chronic and won’t likely go away unless you stop the medication that’s causing it. Taking pain relievers for more than twice a week, or migraine relievers for more than 10 days a month puts you at risk for rebound headaches
How to treat it: Don’t try to treat rebound headaches on your own. Consult a doctor for help in identifying the culprit drug and for finding an alternative until it’s out of your system.
Sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull that can get inflamed when the sinus drainage system is backed up. This can give you runny nose, fever, pain and sensitivity in the front of your face, and sinus headaches. Sinus headaches will most likely occur during allergy season and cannot be treated directly.
How to treat it: Instead of treating the headache, the underlying cause, your inflamed sinuses, should be treated by using a saline nasal spray or a humidifier.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache there is. It feels like there is a constant pressure or ache, rather than a throbbing pain, all around your head, especially at the temples or at the back of the head and neck. Experts believe that tension headaches are caused by the contraction of muscles at the neck and scalp in response to stress, anxiety, clenching your jaw, and bad posture, and possibly due to changes in brain chemicals as well. Tension headaches can become chronic although they aren’t severe.
How to treat it: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen are effective enough to relieve tension headaches. Stress-relief may offer some help as well.
Some dental-related problems, such as bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), can trigger headaches and face pain. Bruxism is grinding your teeth at night while TMJ affects the joint that connects the jaw to the skull caused by bad jaw alignment, poor posture, arthritis, or stress.
How to treat it: Consult your dentist to help diagnose and treat such dental problems. Stress-relief may offer some help as well.
Cluster headaches may come suddenly and cause excruciating pain on one side of the head. The most intense pain occurs around the temples and may lead to an unsettling sense of pressure directly on your eye. The exact cause of cluster headaches is still unknown but researchers found that the hypothalamus in the brain acts up during cluster headaches.
How to treat it: Oxygen therapy can help shrink the swollen blood vessels during cluster headaches. Cutting smoking and drinking can also provide a huge step towards cluster headache relief.
Migraines are severe headaches that may even cause nausea and vomiting. Migraines occur three times as common in women than men. The cause of migraines is still unclear but genes are believed to play a huge role. Brain cell activity is also believed to affect blood vessel and nerve cell function, causing migraine. Hormones, stress, sleeping and eating patterns are some triggers of migraines.
How to treat it: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as migraine medications like triptan can help prevent or treat migraines.