The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, or anger. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, do not get enough sleep, miss meals or use alcohol.
-- dull, aching head pain
-- the sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head
-- tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles
The headache begins in your forehead, temples, or the back of your head and neck. Treatment for tension-type headache may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, as well as techniques such as relaxation training, acupuncture, massage, and biofeedback.
A migraine begins as a dull ache and then develops into a constant throbbing and pulsating pain that you may feel at the temples, as well as the front or back of one or both sides of the head. The pain is usually accompanied by a combination of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. Some people experience an aura before an attack. This aura is a sensory warning sign, such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg.
-- pain, which may be confined to one side of the head or may affect both sides
-- head pain with a pulsating or throbbing quality
-- pain that worsens with physical activity
-- nausea and sensitivity to light and sound
The cause of migraine is believed to be chemical reactions in the brain. Treatment for migraine may include over-the-counter or prescription medications, as well as techniques such as relaxation training, acupuncture, massage, and biofeedback.
These are intensely painful headaches occurring suddenly and lasting between 30 and 90 minutes. They begin as minor pain around one eye and eventually spread to that side of the face. A cluster headache gets its name because the attacks come in groups or clusters. It strikes quickly, usually without warning.
-- excruciating pain, generally located in or around the eye, but may radiate to other areas of the face, head, neck and shoulders
-- one-sided pain
-- excessive tearing
-- redness in the eye of the affected side
-- stuffy or runny nasal passage in the nostril on the affected side of the face
Cluster headache has been described as the most severe and intense of any headache type. Treatment for cluster headache includes prescription medication and oxygen.
When a sinus becomes inflamed, usually as the result of an allergic reaction, a tumor, or an infection, the inflammation will cause a localized pain. If your headache is truly caused by a sinus blockage, such as an infection, you will probably have a fever. An x-ray will confirm a sinus blockage.
-- pain, pressure, and fullness in your cheeks, brow or forehead
-- pain may worsen when you bend forward or lie down
-- yellow-green or blood-tinged nasal discharge
Sinusitis can be caused by colds, allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, an impaired immune system, or structural problems in the nasal cavity. The resulting pressure changes in the sinuses can trigger headaches. Treatment for sinus headaches may include antibiotics for the infection, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.
A pattern of taking headache medications too often or in excessive amounts can lead to a condition known as rebound headache. With rebound headache, your medications not only stop relieving pain, they actually begin to cause headaches.
When you take too much headache medication - more than the label instructs or your doctor prescribes - soon, your body adapts to the medication. You may not even realize that you have been dosing yourself too often until you miss a day and your head starts to hurt again - sometimes more intensely than before. The overuse of prescription pain medications and over-the-counter pain relievers can lead to rebound headaches.
Doctors treat rebound headache by tapering the medication that is being overused, sometimes by gradually substituting a different type of treatment or medication. The only way to stop rebound headaches is to reduce or stop taking the pain medication that's causing them. It's tough, but your doctor can help. Also, acupuncture and massage may offer relief from headache pain.
Jokes about sex and headaches abound. But if you get a piercing headache during orgasm, it's no laughing matter.
Sexual activity - especially an orgasm - can trigger a headache. You may notice a dull ache in your head and neck that builds up as sexual excitement increases. Or, more commonly, you may experience a sudden, severe headache just before or during orgasm.
Men are at least three times more likely than women to have sex headaches. Most sex headaches are nothing to worry about. But some can be a sign of something serious, such as problems with the blood vessels that feed your brain.
If you have a history of sex headaches and there is no underlying cause, your doctor may recommend that you take preventive medicine such as:
-- Indomethacin, an anti-inflammatory drug
-- Triptans, a class of anti-migraine medication
-- Beta blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol