Headache is a very common yet vague symptom and a disease as well. About 96% of people have experienced a headache once in their life, including children. Around 52% of the human population has an active headache disorder. There are many different types of headache now we talking about these things in this article.
Different Types Of Headache
Everyone of us has experienced a headache once in a lifetime for sure. It can be seen young kids, adults, old age, men, and women. A headache can be self limiting or may need medication depending on the intensity and other associated symptoms too. Like nausea, vomiting, discomfort in eyes, photophobia, throbbing in ears, etc are some of the common symptoms seen along with headache.
Even you must have heard people calling names like migraine, frontal headache, throbbing headache, well these are some different types of headache for a common man. But in medicine different kinds of headache are classified on various factors which include :
● Sensation and
But before that let’s discuss what is a headache?
What Is A Headache?
Cephalgia is the medical term for headache which is defined as pain in the head or face region due to an underlying cause or it can be a problem in itself (headache disorder).
You will be surprised to know that there are around 150 types of headache but they fall in two categories: primary and secondary.
Kinds Of Headache
The most common kind of headaches are —
● Primary Headache — in this type of headache, headache is a disorder in itself rather than being a symptom of some other condition. Examples of primary types of headache are migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, etc. The pain comes from the inflammation of pain sensitive areas of the body in and around the neck and head.
Types of Primary headache :
- Tension-type headaches – are the most common type of headaches. The patient has a dull, aching sensation all over the head. Stress and anxiety are one of the commonest triggering factors. Tenderness and sensitivity is present around the neck, forehead, scalp, or shoulder muscles.
It is of two types – Episodic tension type and Chronic tension type.
- Migraine — is one of the most talked about types of headache because of the intensity. It is an intense pain which is usually pulsating/throbbing in nature. A patient suffering from migraine may not be able to do anything during as they are usually sensitive to light and sound. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in migraine.
In 20% migraine headaches it is preceded by migraine aura in which a patient experiences flashing and shimmering lights, halo, blind spots, zigzag lines, etc. aura also includes a tingling sensation in the face and arm on one side with troubled speech. Migraines can be triggered by factors like sleep disturbance, fatigue, loud noises, flickering lights, dehydration, skipped meals, hormone fluctuations, etc.
- Cluster type headache — is depicted by severe burning andpiercing pain behind or around one eye or one side of a face at a time. Common symptoms include swelling, redness, flushing, sweating, nasal congestion and eye pain on the affected side. Cluster headache occurs in a series which can stay for 15 mins to 3 hours. It is more common in males than females and in spring than summers.
Some other examples of primary headache are trigeminal autonomic cephalgia, hemicrania, etc.
● Secondary Headache — in this type of headache, headache is a symptom that arises from other underlying medical conditions like meningitis, brain tumors, neck injury, break injury, eye disease, etc.
There are different types of secondary headaches:
○ Spinal headaches: are intense headaches that occur when the spinal fluid leaks out the spinal cord usually after a spinal tap (investigation). If not treated it can lead to subdural hematoma and seizures.
○ Thunderclap headaches: it is an extremely painful headache that occurs suddenly just like a thunderclap. Onset is very quick,sudden and lasts for a few minutes. Usually harmless but may be dreadful if associated with head injury, brain bleeding, or sudden rise in blood pressure.
○ Dehydration headaches: as the name suggests it happens due to dehydration and is associated with other symptoms like dizziness, extreme thirst, and dry mouth. Pain subsides with drinking water, resting, and medication.
○ Sinus headaches: these headaches are a symptom of sinus infection, which causes pressure and pain in the face. 80% of sinus headaches are migraine with nasal symptoms. A true sinus headache develops from sinusitis.
○ Medication Headache: many medications have headache as a symptom of side effects. Examples are antiviral treatment, antidepressants, CNS-acting analgesics, NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen, sedatives, etc. Along with that over medication in treatment of headache, can cause headache too. This vicious circle continents esp. in migraine patients. For this discontinuation of medicine is important.
Other examples of secondary headache are infection headaches, injury headache, psychiatric disorder headaches, etc.
When To Seek Medical Help In A Headache?
If you develop any sign and symptom given below, then do consult a physician :
- A very abrupt and severe headache.
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, numbness or speech trouble.
- Headache after a head injury esp. if the headache gets worse.
Reasons/Causes Of Headache
There are different reasons for the occurrence of headache, some of the common ones are —
- Illness – many illnesses and diseases can cause headaches and such headaches are called secondary headaches.
- Stress and depression are one of the commonest causes of precipitating a headache attack like in migraine.
- Consumption of addictive substances like alcohol, smoking, caffeine, etc. can trigger headaches.
- Medications of various kinds have headaches as a side effect.
- Hereditary: well some headaches tend to run in families like migraines.
- Lifestyle factors include lack of sleep, poor posture, irregular meals, stomach upset etc are common day to day activities that can trigger a headache.
Diagnosis Of Headache
To diagnose a headache a full detailed case history is crucial to know if headache is primary or secondary in nature. This will include the intensity, frequency, and location of the headache.
The diagnostic techniques used includes –
● Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), a blood test which detects the presence of inflammation.
● CT Scan
● Digital Subtraction Angiography, in this blood vessel pictures of the brain are produced with x-ray and iodine contrast.
● Spinal Tap this technique can determine any bleeding in the brain or the presence of bacterial or fungal infection.
Treatment Of Headache
The treatment of headache is more well planned and executed in cases of chronic and repeated headaches. As compared to some random once a while occurring headache, which are mostly treated with an analgesic.
The treatment is divided in two ways :
● Abortive – means treatment of a headache in running. Example triptan, a group of drugs used in abortive treatment.
● Prophylactic – means treatment that helps in prevention of headaches. This includes antidepressant, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, etc.
● Alternative therapeutics – like ayurveda and homeopathy have shown results.
● Yoga and meditation
Well, headache is a very common symptom and disease that we come across. Although many researches are still going on to know the main factors leading to this disease. It can be very vague in its representation therefore the correct diagnosis is not so easy to reach. But with proper observation and treatment, we can overcome this problem. So that your headache does not become a nuisance for you.