Ordinary headaches occur quite often and most adult people would agree that are almost every day experience. Luckily, there are many different ways that help you to get rid of the headache, super fast.
Still, the severe headaches that also are persistent or associated with other symptoms may signal other health problems. Even though, most headaches are totally harmless, there are few major types that you should be aware of.
It is important to explain that the brain itself is insensitive to pain. So, the headache pain occurs in the tissues covering the brain, the attaching structures at the base of the brain or at the muscles and blood vessels around the scalp, face and neck.
The Primary headache is pain that is not cause by disease or other medical condition. The Secondary headaches are caused by some other medical conditions, like sinusitis infection, neck injuries or abnormalities and stroke.
In this article we look at 6 frequent types of headaches…
Cervicogenic Headache is a secondary headache disorder and is caused by a neck joint problem. Once you fix the problem with your neck, this neck headache will be alleviated. The neck headache can originate from various musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures in the upper neck, where are included the upper three neck joints, C2/3 disc, spinal cord coverings and neck muscles. Any dysfunction in these areas can trigger pain signals that travel to your brainstem, which then transmitted into the brain and interpreted as a headache.
Most common causes of neck headache is dysfunction the upper neck joints, neck muscles or nerves, which actually trigger pain signals that travel to the trigeminal nucleus in the brainstem, where patients interpret the pain signals as a neck headache. Still, the most common cause of neck headache is dysfunction of upper three neck joints.
Migraine now is considered as a chronic illness, and not as simple headache. Generally speaking, there are 4 symptom phases to a migraine (which may not all occur in all patients): the prodrome, auras, the attack and the postdrome phase. It is important to mention that the prodrome phase is a group of vague symptoms that can precede a migraine attack by several hours, or even a day or two. These prodrome symptoms also include sensitivity to light or sound, changes in appetite, fatigue and yawning, malaise and mood changes. Before the migraine attack occurs, the auras are sensory disturbances. Some patients may have mixed the positive and negative auras. Namely, the positive auras include bright or shimmering light or shapes at the edge of their field of vision called scintillating scotoma and can enlarge and fill the line of vision. Zigzag lines or stars are some other positive aura experiences. On the other side, the negative auras are dark holes, blind spots or tunnel vision (inability to see to the side).
If is left untreated, attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours. Typical migraine attack is described to produce throbbing pain on one side of the head, but sometimes can be bilateral. At some patients, the pain spreads to affect the entire head. After migraine attack, patients usually experience postdrome phase and they may feel exhausted and mentally foggy for a while.
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) headache can be caused by several factors: clenching the jaws or grinding the teeth (usually during sleep) or by abnormalities in the jaw joints themselves.
It is easy to be diagnosed: if chewing produces pain or if jaw motion is restricted or noisy. TMJ pain usually occurs in the ear, but also in cheek, temples, neck or shoulders.
Many of the primary headaches, including the migraine, are misdiagnosed as sinus headache. Sinus headaches most often occur in the front of the face, and usually appear in the area around the eyes, across the cheeks or over the forehead.
This type of headache usually is mild in the morning and increases during the day and usually is accompanied by fever, runny nose, congestion and general debilitation.
Sinus headaches usually spreads over a larger area of the head than migraines, but often is quite difficult to tell them apart, especially if headache is the only symptom of sinusitis. At some patients, the visual changes associated with migraine can rule out sinusitis, but these visual changes do not occur with all migraines.
Cluster headaches are considered as the most painful of all headaches. These types of headache are characterized with pattern of periodic cycles of headache attacks, which may be episodic or chronic. Still, about 80% and 90% of patients have episodic cluster headache cycles. The patients experience cycles of daily or near daily attacks that can last from one week to one year. During the active cycle, the patients may experience one or more bouts a day, or as few as one every other day.
Usually these attacks themselves are brief and extremely painful. These cycles are are featured with headache-free periods lasting at least fourteen days. On the other side, about 10% of cluster headache patients have a chronic form, which lasts more than a year and remissions that last less than 14 days. Also, about 10% of patients experience so-called premonitory symptoms about one day or even 8 weeks before a cluster headache attack, which include fatigue, neck ache, stiffness, odd sensations in the limbs, extreme sensitivity in the area where the headache will develop. Once the actual attack occurs, the symptoms increase rapidly to intense levels. These attacks usually cause extremely severe, stabbing or boring pain centered in one eye. However, the pain may occur above the eye, near the temples, or on one side of the head. Some patients experience migraine-like symptoms. Experts say that women have substantially higher risk for nausea and vomiting compared to men.
Tension-type headache also is known as muscle contraction headache and is the most common type of all headaches. This type of headache often is experienced in the forehead and in the back of the head and neck or sometimes in both regions. Patients describe it as a tight feeling, as if the head were in a vise. Also, patients experience soreness in the shoulders or neck.
The patients who suffer from tension-type headaches are much more sensitive to light than usually, even between attacks. Some patients may suffer from visual disturbances. Still, these symptoms are not as intense as in people with migraines. Also, the tension-type headaches do not cause nausea or limit activities as migraine headaches usually do. The tension-type headaches may last few minutes or even few days.