Headaches remain some of the most annoying, albeit common, medical issues today. Almost everyone will experience a headache at some point in their lives, no matter how simple or severe. Still, not every headache is the same. In fact, there are different types of headaches to know that may help you determine the proper self-care techniques or when to consult a medical professional.
Cluster headaches are often severe, one-sided headaches that can occur up to eight times a day. For some people, these can be worse than migraines. Unlike secondary headaches, which can result from another condition, like an ear infection, cluster headaches are primary headaches, meaning they’re a health issue on their own.
They’re notable for transgressing in groups or clusters between 30 to 40 minutes multiple times throughout the day. They are less common than migraines, but they’re common in smokers, drinkers, and those with sleep apnea.
Migraines are headaches that cause throbbing pain on one side of the head. They can last for hours or days and disrupt daily activities. Interestingly, migraines often occur in two distinct phases. The premonitory phase is the initial phase. Symptoms include food cravings, sensitivity to light or sound, increased urination, and difficulty speaking. Following this is the aura phase, which can result in loss of sight, hallucinations, and numbness.
The headache phase is the actual protruding headache that can last a few hours or days. You may experience nausea, insomnia, neck pain, depression, and anxiety. Migraines may also end with a resolution phase in which pain lessens, but you still may experience light sensitivity, trouble concentrating, and irritability.
Finally, the final type of headache to know about is the tension headache. These come with a dull, aching sensation all over the head. Tension headaches don’t typically result in throbbing or pulsating sensations but may provoke tenderness or sensitivity in the neck, shoulders, or forehead. They are one of the most common types of headaches for people due to stress.
Fortunately, if you suffer from tension headaches, there are some helpful tips to manage them. Make sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Also, avoid certain triggers, like stimulants, which can worsen anxiousness and provoke a tension headache. Diet and exercise can also help mitigate tension headaches due to hormone regulation and physical stimulation.