What are Headaches?
More than 10 million people in the UK complain of headaches, making them one of the most common health complaints. It is unusual not to have at least the occasional headache. The good news is, most are easily treated, as the majority of headaches are not serious and can be aided by simple lifestyle measures like drinking enough water, ensuring you get enough rest, and through the sensible use of over-the-counter painkillers.
Types of Headaches
While headaches can be caused by medical conditions, injuries, or infections, they are sometimes not due to a specific disease or other identified medical condition. The three most common of those types of primary headaches are Tension, Cluster, and Migraine headaches.
1. Tension Headaches
These are caused by muscle tension in the shoulders, neck, and head. The tension may come from fatigue, an uncomfortable body position, or emotional stress. Tension headaches typically begin in the morning or early afternoon and can get worse during the day. They often involve a tight pressure feeling like a band around the forehead, but pain may spread over the entire head and downward into the neck and shoulders.
2. Cluster Headaches
These types of headaches can be very painful. The intensely sharp pain usually involves one side of the head and spreads around the eye. Cluster headaches start suddenly and generally last about an hour. Attacks come in groups hence the name “cluster” occurring several times a day or each week and continuing for 6 to 8 weeks.
3. Migraine Headaches
Often marked by intense throbbing head pain. Blurred vision with shimmering light specks, dizziness or nausea. sensitivity to light, sound, or odors. Migraines are certainly a different type of headache. Headaches that are related to other physical conditions or illnesses are often referred to as secondary headaches. These headaches may result from any number of common causes, including high blood pressure (hypertension), eye or sinus problems, and facial structure disorders.
Headaches Related to High Blood Pressure
As the blood vessels and circulatory system throughout the body are affected by high blood pressure, headaches may result. The pain is typified by a throbbing sensation throughout the head, though the headaches are generally not chronic in nature.
Headaches Resulting From Eye or Sinus Problems
Sinus congestion or builtup pressure in the eyes due to glaucoma are examples of the types of physical problems that can occur with your eyes, ears, nose and/or throat that result in headaches. These headaches will often disappear when the underlying condition is effectively treated.
Headaches Associated With Facial Disorders
One such disorder (originally known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ syndrome), now known as myofascial pain dysfunction (MPD), is characterized by a dull aching pain in and around the ear that is associated with chewing food. The pain may radiate to the side of the scalp causing a headache. Difficulty opening the mouth or a clicking/popping sound in the jaw joint may also be present. Once symptoms are recognized, treatment can be effective.
can also be caused by other serious medical conditions such as trauma to the head or brain, accumulation of blood in and around the brain, infections or a tumor. Whether primary or secondary in nature, headaches can be both painful and distressing for those who suffer. It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of headaches are not an indication of a serious medical condition. Headaches happen to millions of people every single day.
Common Causes of Headache Include
High blood pressure (hypertension).
Allergies, including food allergies. People who suffer from frequent headaches may be reacting to certain foods and food additives, such as wheat, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfites (used in restaurants on salad bars), sugar, hot dogs, luncheon meats, dairy products, nuts, citric acid, fermented foods (cheeses, sour cream, yogurt), alcohol, vinegar, and/or marinated foods.
Constipation and bowel problems.
Hunger and/or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Sinus pressure, sinusitis.
Diseases of the eye, nose, and throat.
Hormonal imbalances, including hormonal fluctuations found in premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, pregnancy and postpartum (after the baby is born), and hormone or estrogen replacement therapy (HRT/ERT) and the use of birth control pills, patches, or injections.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
Bruxism (tooth grinding).
Spinal misalignment (subluxation).
Trauma to the head.
Brain disorders, such as tumors.
Alcohol use (hangover).
Drug use and drug side effects.
Toxic overdoses of vitamin A, vitamin B deficiency.
Tobacco use (smoking).
Exposure to irritants, such as pollution or chemical fume exposure, perfume, or after-shave.
Dehydration can also cause headaches, often accompanied by a feeling of being flushed, a warm face, and a sense of heaviness in the head.