When Your Noggin Takes a Flogging: 4 Primary Headaches and How to Treat Them

Headaches are a common problem, but not all headaches are created equal. You might not know the variety of types of headaches that a person can suffer from. Some headaches are in the forehead, but others settle right around the base of the skull where the head meets the neck. Some headaches might have a dull pounding feeling, but others can be so excruciatingly painful that hitting your head against a wall can actually make the pain more bearable. There are several ways that your noggin might experience pain from a headache, and you’d probably like to know how to treat them. Here are some tips on how to identify them and make them more bearable.

Cluster Headache

This type of headache occurs on one side of the head around the eye, and when they happen, they can be more painful than even a migraine, and the pain is usually sharp. They usually last only for a short period of time, and they’ll usually occur over a few weeks or a couple of months. They can subside for several months or even years, but they can later return. The exact cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but a nerve around the eye is triggered when they occur. If you have cluster headaches, you will need to see a physician for medication.

Migraine

Like cluster headaches, migraines usually occur on one side of the head, and the pain is often accompanied by blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and nausea. Migraines can last as long as 72 hours, and they can come frequently or fairly infrequently. There are some preventative techniques that you can use to lessen the occurrence of migraines such as aerobic exercise, creating a regular schedule, and (if you’re a woman) avoiding medications that contain estrogen, since fluctuations in this hormone are linked with migraines.

Migraine with Aura

Most people who experience migraines don’t experience auras, but they can happen. An aura is associated with the nervous system, and people who are having a migraine with aura can experience wavy vision, temporary vision loss, flashes of light, or bright spots. The aura symptoms can also take the form of tactile sensations, such as the feeling of pins and needles, or the person with the aura migraine can have problems speaking.

Tension Headache

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Many people say it feels like a vice gripping their head, and the pain is usually situated around the base of the skull or in the forehead. They can last for 30 minutes or longer, and they might be only episodic, or they could be chronic. Over-the-counter pain relievers are one of the first forms of treatment. If these drugs aren’t helpful, a doctor might prescribe another pain reliever or muscle relaxer. You can also try to avoid stress and other triggers.

Headaches are a daily part of many people’s lives, and some can be excruciatingly painful. But sometimes there are techniques that you can use to lessen the pain. If nothing you try seems to help, your best bet is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will give you a professional diagnosis and direct you on the most effective method of treatment for your headache.

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