If you are like most people, you know the pain of the headache. In fact, the most common complaint that medical professionals hear from patients is headaches. If you suffer from headaches, learning more about the source of your pain and what could be causing it may help you get some relief.
Tension headaches create pain or feeling of tightness in the forehead or on the top or sides of the head near the temples. Tension headaches are the most commonly reported headaches and are often associated with caffeine use or caffeine withdrawal, stress or anxiety, food sensitivity, lack of sleep, poor posture, clenching of teeth, and hormonal imbalance. Most tension headaches are mild to moderate and can last for as little as an hour or up to a few days. Adopting certain lifestyle habits may help to reduce your number of headaches, such as getting more sleep, meditating or reading to reduce stress, limiting caffeine, increasing water intake, and sitting up straight.
Sinus headaches are associated with sinusitis or an inflammation of the sinus cavities caused by allergies, colds, or influenza. Headaches caused by sinus inflammation are typically felt in the front of the head and around the eyes and are often paired with other symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal discharge, fatigue, and pressure in the face. Sinus headaches can last days or longer. It is important to report ongoing symptoms to your doctor in order to rule out a sinus infection. While many sinus infections are viral and will clear up on their own, certain infections may require doctor prescribed antibiotics.
Migraines are often characterized by severe throbbing pain usually on one side of the head but pain can be more widespread and last for a few hours or up to several days. Migraine sufferers also report vision problems, nausea, and a sensitivity to light or sound. Some migraines are so severe they prevent the person from getting through daily activities. The cause of migraines is specific to the individual and may include a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors including hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, food sensitivities, certain medications, and changes in weather systems.
For most headaches, the pain can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, some rest, a cool washcloth on your forehead, or relaxation techniques. Even though headaches are common, a sudden, severe headache, especially if it includes any numbness or confusion, requires immediate medical attention. Contact your doctor if headaches are bothersome or recurring. While the occasional headache is normal, living with the pain of headaches is a good reason to make an appointment with your doctor.