We all have headaches—and, thus, often just accept them. But what is actually causing that pounding head? And what is it trying to tell you?
Headaches are considered one of the most common medical complaints. We all experience them—some more frequently than others.
Is it due to lack of eating, a sinus infection, stress, or menstruation? Many people self-diagnose the throbbing pain associated as something that can easily be fixed by taking a painkiller for relief. But what’s really causing the excruciating pounding in our heads that is sometimes unbearable?
It’s extremely important to correctly understand what type of headache is causing your pain and grief. Better understanding the root of the problem can help you seek proper treatment.
Here are seven types of headaches with varying symptoms and causes.
- Sleep-Related. Staying up too late usually has more repercussions than a case of the sleepy blues the next morning. Generally, severe throbbing headaches can be contributed to a lack of sleep. Although, over-the-counter drugs offer temporary relief, Dr. Alexander Mauskop, a neurologist with the New York Headache Center, insists changing your sleeping habits is one of the best ways to alleviate a sleep-related headache. (Read “5 Reasons You’re not sleeping.”)
- Migraine. With an estimated 29 million Americans suffering from migraines, it is considered to be one of the more typical forms of headaches. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are known to be associated with nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivities, usually lasting anywhere from four to 72 hours.
- Cluster. Unfortunately, cluster headaches carry the notion of being the most excruciating type of headache. They occur suddenly and come in spurts, hence the term “clusters.” These can possibly last for months at a time, accompanied by congestion and watery eyes. The National Headache Foundation indicates the cause of these types of headaches as unknown.
- Sinus. This type of headache is commonly associated with seasonal allergies once sinuses become inflamed. With rapid or sudden head movement, the pain intensifies, causing severe discomfort near areas of the forehead, cheekbones, or nose bridge. Don’t worry: Sufferers of sinus headaches can receive antibiotics to treat their symptoms.
- Caffeine. Where would some of us be without our usual coffee routine? Late nights, early mornings, and stress-filled days are maneuvered through an instant picker-upper, aka caffeine. If you have a specific time of day when you drink coffee but miss your daily dose, it can trigger a withdrawal headache. According to Dr. Peter Goadsby, the best remedy in combatting a caffeine headache is to either stick with your usual routine or stop drinking it completely.
- Tension. As tension headaches are known to be the most reported type of headache made by adults, try not to allow the everyday stressors of life get the best of you. Symptoms can possibly include hunger pains, tiredness, and low tolerance for various types of fumes. Luckily, these types of headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
- Rebound-Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH). Also known as “rebound” headaches, these are becoming increasingly familiar at a rapid pace, as they are associated with the overuse of painkillers.
Headaches come in a variety of forms, sometimes with or without warning, so pay attention to the signs because it may be your body’s way of trying to tell you something. Next time you begin to feel a throbbing head sensation, take precautionary action and go see your doctor to pinpoint the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Is it all in your head? Read more on understanding chronic pain.