At some point or another in our life, we’ve all experienced a headache. Sometimes all you need is a good night’s rest to get rid of the headache, while others can leave you searching for answers. There are a number of different types of headaches, with varying causes and treatments. Today, we take a closer look at five common types of headaches and how you can best treat them.
Five Common Headaches
Some of these headaches resolve with simple solutions, while others need physician intervention. Here’s a look at five headaches we commonly hear about at our clinic.
1. Tension Headaches – A tension headache is categorized by a dull, aching sensation all over your head. You also may notice some tenderness or sensitivity around your neck or shoulders. Tension headaches are typically caused by fatigue, dietary choices, caffeine, smoking, the flu or emotional stress. This is considered the most common type of headache, and they are often relieved with over-the-counter medications or by making lifestyle changes if you believe it’s caused by one of the above factors.
2. Migraines – Like a tension headache, a migraine is considered a “primary” headache in that the pain condition is housed in your head. Migraines can be caused by tumors, but they are more often the result of lingering head trauma like an untreated concussion or traumatic brain injury. They can also be caused by neurological problems or caused by a genetic condition. We’ve treated many patients with chronic migraines, and it involves pinpointing the cause and treating the underlying issue.
3. Post-Traumatic Headaches – As the name implies, post-traumatic headaches are headaches that develop after a head injury. They are considered a secondary headache because they are a symptom of a larger issue, which is the trauma to the head. Treating these headaches involves helping to relieve problems associated with the head injury, including decreasing pressure or compression in the skull. Individuals who work with a neurosurgeon to help the head injury heal will typically notice headache relief as well, although it may take a couple of months.
4. Rebound Headaches – No, these aren’t caused by catching a rouge elbow while playing basketball. Rebound headaches are caused by ineffective medication use or medication overuse. If you are on medications for other health conditions and are experiencing headaches, reach out to your neurosurgeon or primary care physician to see if other medications can provide the same relief while not causing rebound headaches.
5. Sinus Headaches – Finally, sinus headaches are caused by an allergic reaction and are often felt in the front of your head or your sinus area. They develop when mucus builds up and puts pressure on the sinuses, but they can also be the result of a sinus infection. A neurosurgeon can help to treat the condition by prescribing certain decongestants or antibiotics to alleviate the pressure or take care of the infection.
If you are dealing with one of the above headaches, or you don’t know what type of headache is causing your pain, reach out to a neurosurgeon like Dr. Chang to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.