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Five Types of Headaches and How to Prevent and Treat Them

how to prevent headache

Do you know the different types of headaches and their corresponding causes and treatments? Although many headaches are short-lived, it’s important to know the type of headache that you are experiencing so that it can be effectively treated. Here is a look of the most common type of headaches.


One type of headache that most people know about are migraines. Although men and women can experience migraines, the condition is more likely to develop in females. The frequency that people experience migraines can range greatly, from many times a week to only once a year.

These headaches are characterized by a severe throbbing pain that just occurs on one side of the head. The most common symptoms of a migraine include slight vision loss, trouble talking, weak muscles, numbness, and pin and needles. Many people who suffer from migraines also see spots, zig zag lines, and flickering lights before the headache occurs.

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but many experts believe it is hereditary. Several experts also believe that people with preexisting conditions like epilepsy and depression are more prone to experience migraines.

According to much research, some of the triggers of migraines include severe stress and anxiety, poor eating habits, changes in hormones, loud sounds, lack of water, certain medications, some foods, and inefficient sleep.

Migraine Treatment

The treatment for migraines isn’t as difficult as most people imagine. Many over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce the pain and duration of these headaches. If the migraines are combined with nausea and vomiting, doctors can prescribe
antiemetic medications to ease these symptoms. Depending on the complexity of the migraine, doctors may also prescribe these drugs: amitriptyline, rizatriptan, topiramate, sumatriptan, and propranolol. Regardless of the migraine medication that you choose, you should take the drugs as soon as the headache occurs for the best results.

Migraines can also be relieved by staying hydrated, taking a nap in a quiet place, and placing a cold, wet towel on the forehead. In addition, you may want to try meditation, dietary supplements, specific therapies, and acupuncture.

Tension Headaches

Along with migraines, tension headaches are extremely common, and almost everyone will experience them at some point in their life. For many people, these kinds of headaches can be as short as thirty minutes and as long as several hours. Even if the tension headaches are several hours long, they rarely inhibit everyday activities.

Most people who experience tension headaches describe them as a severe pain that persists on both sides of the head. Some of the other symptoms of these types of headaches can include pressure sensations behind the eyes and and a sensitivity to light and noise. Tension headaches can also cause a tender head, shoulders, neck, and face.

After a lot of research, experts still do not know the cause of tension headaches, though many of them assert that the following are common triggers: loud sounds, anxiety, stress, depression, insufficient water intake, poor posture, lack of sleep, eye strain, infrequent physical activity, and bad eating habits.

Tension Headache Treatment

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are common over-the-counter drugs that are used to ease the symptoms of tension headaches, and they are actually really effective. These lifestyle changes can also treat tension headaches: stress management, acupuncture, high-quality sleep, frequent exercise, and great posture.

Sinus Headaches

Although they are not as prevalent as migraines and tension headaches, sinus headaches still effect many people. Much research suggests that sinus headaches are the result of sinusitis, which is when the sinuses swell because of an infection or allergy.

The symptoms of sinus headaches range from nausea, fever, and a thick nasal discharge to a consistent pain around the forehead, eyes, and cheeks. The throbbing pain may also spread to the jaws and teeth.

Sinus Headache Treatment

The best way to treat sinus headaches are with over-the-counter pain killers like nasal
decongestants, antibiotics, and
corticosteroid nasal spray. Surgical drainage may also be necessary to treat sinus headaches. In order to resolve the root cause of sinusitis, the doctor may urge you to visit a ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Caffeine-Related Headaches

Whenever people drink more than four cups of coffee a day, they are at risk of caffeine-related headaches. If caffeine consumption is stopped abruptly, these symptoms can occur: nausea, poor concentration, irritability, and severe tiredness.

Caffeine-Related Headaches Treatment

These kinds of headaches are typically relieved within an hour or two of caffeine intake. In most cases, people will feel relief after seven days of complete withdrawal. Most experts agree that proof who experience chronic migraines should limit caffeine consumption.

Hangover Headaches

Not surprisingly, hangover headaches are usually caused by consuming too much alcohol. These types of headaches often feel like migraines because they occur on both sides of the head. They are usually much worse with frequent movement. The symptoms of a hangover headache include sensitivity to bright lights and nausea.

Hangover Headaches Treatment

While there is no specific cure for hangovers, the symptoms can be relieve by increasing water intake and eating foods with lots of sugar. Certain over-the-counter pain killers may also lessen the pain. The good news is that hangover headaches tend to go away within three days. If you want to reduce the risk of experiencing these headaches, make sure that you drink on a full stomach, in moderation, and with full glasses of water. Once you are finished drinking alcohol, drink a glass of water before bed.

When to Visit A Doctor

For many people, headaches are rarely a sign of a more serious condition, and many types of headaches can be resolved with over-the-counter pain drugs.

Even though this may be true for most people, you should visit the doctor if you suffer from persistent headaches that just won’t go away. Make sure that you visit a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms with a headache: severe nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, extremely red rash, numbness or weakness, fever, slurred speech, seizures, and blurred vision. These symptoms could be signs that something more serious is occurring.

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