According to the WHO, approximately half of all adults in the world will have experienced at least one headache within the past year. But while headaches are a very common complaint, many people don’t know that there are different types of headaches – the International Classification of Headache Disorders identifies more than 150. Being able to recognize the type of headache you have can help you and your headache Dundalk doctor better prepare your treatment regimen. Here is a review of the top 4 common types of headaches you should know.
Migraines often present as intense throbbing pain concentrated on one side of the head. In addition to this, you may also experience heightened sensitivity to smell, sound, and light, as well as nausea and vomiting. About 25 percent of people with migraines also experience auras before their headaches start. These are sensory and visual disturbances typically last 5 to 60 minutes and include:
- Trouble finding words or speaking
- Muscle weakness
- Partial loss of vision
- Seeing sports, flickering lights, and zig-zagging lines
Migraines are often recurrent, with each attack lasting anywhere from several hours to a few days. In some people, it is a chronic and lifelong condition.
2. Cluster Headache
Cluster headaches are recurrent severe headaches that cause intense piercing or burning pain around or behind one eye. Men are six times more likely to experience cluster headaches than women and the headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Agitation or restlessness
- Sensitivity to sound and light
- A runny or blocked nose
- Swollen eyelid
- Watering eyes
Cluster headaches often come on without warning and persist for between 15 minutes and 3 hours. Patients can get up to eight separate attacks a day, with these daily clusters occurring for weeks or months at consistent times.
3. Tension Headache
Tension headaches are among the most common types of headaches. They cause dull, constant pain on both sides of your head and can last between 30 minutes to a few hours. In most cases, they are accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Light and sound sensitivity
- A feeling of pressure behind your eyes
- Tenderness in the shoulders, neck, head, and face
4. Hypnic Headaches
Hypnic headaches are a rare condition that typically appears when patients are in their 50s although they can start earlier. Also called ‘alarm clock’ headaches, they wake you at night with a mild to moderate throbbing sensation in both sides of the head. They typically last for 3 hours and can be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound that can cause nausea.
When Should You See a Doctor About a Headache?
Although a headache now and then is common and somewhat normal, headaches that interfere with your daily activities could be symptoms of a serious condition. You should see a doctor if you experience the following types of headaches:
- Headache following a serious head injury
- Sudden, severe headache
- Chronic headache that worsens when you strain, cough, or move suddenly.
- Headache following a recent sore throat or respiratory infection
- New, severe headache with pain felt on both sides of the head
- Headache accompanied by difficulty speaking, numbness, weakness, double vision, mental confusion, stiff neck, rash, or fever.
Over 45 million people experience chronic, recurrent headaches annually. Whichever type of headache you have, the team of specialists at CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center can help you find relief. The doctors perform thorough exams to determine the cause of your headache and then prescribe an effective treatment regimen. Learn more by contacting the Dundalk, Maryland office today.