Types of headaches

Distinguishing between headaches

Headaches can be the bane of many people’s lives, especially if they are severely painful and they incapacitate you in some way. If you are trying to find ways to treat your chronic head pain, then it can be helpful to distinguish between different types of headache. This article aims to do just that.

Throbbing headache

Throbbing headaches, also known as pounding headaches, are those that seem to pulsate in your head, ebbing and flowing along with your heartbeat. They are painful and distracting and you will probably find it impossible to continue with your day-to-day activities. Pain can extend down from the head into the face and neck. You may also find that simple painkillers don’t seem to touch the pain, and the only way to ease the pain seems to be lying down in a dark room.

Triggers for the throbbing headache can include too much screen time, loud noise, stress, hangovers, or caffeine withdrawal. With caffeine withdrawal, the throbbing pain occurs when the blood vessels dilate or are constricted, hours after consuming coffee. The pain is normally found at the front of the head.

Other possible causes of throbbing headache include an allergic reaction. Here the headache is centred low in the front of the head. You may also have a rash.

More commonly, a migraine is the type of throbbing headache you will encounter. The migraine causes severe pain, generally at the centre or to one side of the head, and sufferers may well experience an “aura” or a “halo”. Sensitivity to light and sound are two of the possible symptoms of migraine. Many sufferers have a family history of migraines, and migraines are more common among women than men. Migraine headaches are often accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and light and noise sensitivity.

Tension headaches

If you are suffering with a headache at the back of the head, or a dull headache, you more than likely have a tension headache. A tension headache is one of the most common types of head pain. It feels like a constant ache or pressure around the head, especially at the temple (a temple headache) or at the back of the head and neck. While a tension headache is not so severe as a migraine, for example, it can also cause nausea and vomiting, although a tension headache is far less likely to stop you performing your usual routine.

Tension headaches may be caused by contraction of the neck and scalp muscles in response to stress. Other possible causes include changes in brain chemicals, or muscle tension, allergy to certain food types, stress, or pre-existing medical conditions.

Many tension headaches are related to underlying stress, and commonly occur if you spend a lot of time working with a screen, or you have to hold the same position for a long time.

Many over the counter remedies are effective in treating tension headaches, but it is important to consider treating the root cause of your tension headache if they are recurring.

Temple headache

As stated above a temple headache is a form of tension headache, that occurs randomly, usually as a result of temporary stress, anxiety, fatigue, or other strong emotion. The symptoms of a temple headache will include soreness in your temples, and you may often feel a sensation like a band tightening around your head (almost like your head is being held in a vice) or you may experience a pressure sensation or a pulling feeling. A temple headache tends to begin around the forehead, or temples, or the back of your head and neck. You can choose to treat using over-the-counter painkillers, or try self-help techniques such as relaxation training. If your temple headache is recurring, it is worth treating the root cause of your stress or tension.

Pressure headache

Pressure headaches are common types of headaches, occurring with a build-up of fluid. This fluid can be mucus, blood, or cerebrospinal fluid, which increases the pressure in your head, causing pain. Pressure headaches can also be caused by migraines, stress and sudden changes in air pressure.

Drastic changes in pressure, especially during the winter, are common causes of headaches at this time of year. The weather has a profound impact on headache pain, especially among individuals who are most susceptible to seasonal pressure.

Are you someone who can tell a storm is coming before the local meteorologist? That’s because headache sufferers tend to be more sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and feel drastic pressure shifts more keenly than others.

Many people suffer with pressure headaches during the winter. There is an increased risk of sinus infections during the winter, and many people have winter allergies. Changing barometric pressure can cause headaches, as can the winter chill. Headaches can be caused by inflammation or swollen blood vessels pressing on nerve fibres inside the brain. Other winter-related headache triggers include sun glare from the snow, as well as dry air, high winds, and the extreme cold.

It is possible to treat winter pressure headaches by avoiding too much rich food and alcohol, make sure you are getting enough vitamin D through food and sunlight, maintain a good sleep schedule, stay warm, manage stress and stay hydrated.

Sinus headache

Sinus infections can result in pulsating headaches, that usually affect the front of the head. Sinus infections can also cause pressure headaches thanks to inflammation of the sinuses, and congestion in the nasal passages. Healthy sinuses allow mucus to drain, but in instances where the sinuses are inflamed, they mucus is blocked, and this will cause a build-up of pressure, leading to head pain. The pain is generally worse behind the eyes and in the forehead, and movement can make it worse.

Bach flowers can help ease your headache

Where you have chronic head pain, thanks to stress or tension, you may well prefer to treat the cause of your emotions rather than fight the pain itself. If you have recurring headaches, it can be worth using Bach flowers to ease your stress and keep you calm.

Bach flowers mix 43 has been especially blended to help with headaches. Bach flower mix 43 assists you when you need to be more resistant to stress, and you want to worry less. You will find your inner calm and feel less sensitive.

If you would like more details about mix 43, or if you would like to find out more information about having a personal mix created to match your specific symptoms, why not contact me? I’m Tom, a certified psychologist and Bach flowers therapist. I offer you a free consultation and there’s no obligation to follow through, so get in touch today.

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