7 types of headache: the difference and what they say

Posted onDecember 24, 2017 in Pain

In the meantime, headaches can turn into chronic and substantially impair your life. What kind of headache indicates a serious illness? And what is the disease itself? Let’s try to figure out how to distinguish headaches and how to treat them.

Tension pains

This is the most common type of headache in the world – each of us experienced it at least once in life. They are not repeated often, the chronic form is acquired in 3% of cases.

Symptoms. It feels like pressure or tightness around the circumference of the upper part of the head. It may seem that the muscles of the forehead and orbits are too tense, but you can not relax them. The duration of such pain varies from half an hour to a week, the intensity usually increases by the evening.

Possible reasons. Tension pain can be associated with excessive stress or trauma to the muscles of the head and neck. However, in diagnosis, the source of pain, as a rule, remains “uncertain.”

How to treat. Because the pain rarely gets regular, the best remedy for them is simple painkillers, like ibuprofen or paracetamol. If the pain does not pass more than a week, you can try to do light physical exercises, regularly stretch the shoulders and neck, more to be in the air to level out stress. Chronic tense pains are treated medically with the doctor’s prescription.


Symptoms. Migraine is called repetitive pain on one side of the head, lasting about 4 hours and longer. As a rule, episodes of migraine are repeated and can lead to dizziness, nausea and photophobia (photophobia). Sometimes before the onset of an attack, patients experience visual anomalies – see bright colored rings and bands – or feel a slight tingling all over the body.

Possible reasons. The mechanism of the appearance of migraines has long been the subject of controversy in the scientific community. Now doctors are sure – this is a disease with no exact psychic properties. It is related to the violation of brain functions, but with what, it is for certain unknown. It is noted that in the process of the appearance of pain the blood vessels of the head greatly expand, and abnormal electrical activity appears on the cerebral cortex.

How to treat. Approximately 20% of migraine sufferers have pain after a certain external impact – a sharp smell, loud monotonous sound, cigarette smoke, etc. Such sick doctors are simply advised to avoid “risk factors”, the rest remains to drink medicine for the intended purpose (the greatest effectiveness is given triptans, but they act almost like a drug – the more you drink, the worse it cures). Unfortunately, you can not completely cure migraines, but you will not help them with simple painkillers.

Cluster pains

These pains affect approximately 1% of the total population of the planet, and in 80% of cases it is men.

Symptoms. It is an intense throbbing pain on one side of the head, usually in the anterior part, near the eye. It lasts from 15 minutes to an hour and is accompanied by reddening of the eyes, tearing, a runny nose, a rush of blood to the head. It usually appears at the same time of day with uniform time intervals – once a week, a month, two, and so on. Sometimes achieves such an acuteness that a person can not but what normally functions – even move and talk.

Possible reasons. Unknown.

How to treat. This kind of pain is difficult to treat, because they occur sporadically and can disappear as unpredictably as they appeared. When prolonged attacks, oxygen therapy is used (the patient breathes through the mask) and medicinal injections according to the doctor’s prescription.


Symptoms. Obvious.

Possible reasons. Guess how much alcohol contributes to the onset of a headache, a lot. One of them says that alcohol dilates the vessels of the brain and disrupts the work of the neurotransmitter serotonin – a substance through which electrical signals are transmitted from one nerve cell to another. Both of these symptoms are also observed with migraine pain. In addition, alcohol dries the body, and dehydration is also known as a provoker of migraine attacks.

How to treat. The best remedy is a paracetamol tablet and a good sleep. But to treat with a joke to a hangover still not worth it. If the head hurts even after a small dose of alcohol, you may be suffering from migraine, and alcohol simply pushes seizures.

Brain tumor

Hypochondriacs and simply anxious patients often link the headache to brain cancer. We hasten to reassure: in fact, only 4% of tumor formations manifest themselves in this way.

Symptoms. If pain is still associated with the tumor, they usually appear in the morning and are accompanied by vomiting. Episodes are repeated periodically and eventually become worse and worse. If against this background there is a sharp weight loss, personality changes and convulsive seizures, this is an occasion to undergo a brain examination.

Possible reasons. When the tumor grows to a certain size, an increase in brain volume leads to an increase in intracranial pressure. Hence the initial symptoms.

How to treat. Depends on the location, size and type of education.

Intracranial bleeding

Having suffered an injury to the head vessels, a person may not understand this immediately. Sometimes a bleeding occurs a few hours after the rupture of the vessel, but potentially very dangerous.

Symptoms. Sudden, growing pain in any part of the head. It is accompanied by visual impairments, speech skills, coordination, personality disorders, nausea. Symptoms appear in turn and deteriorate over time. In the end, a person can lose consciousness.

Perhaps the reasons. A rupture of the vessel can occur as a result of a trauma (strong impact) or because of excessive thinning of its walls.

How to treat. First of all, the doctor will need to remove the accumulated blood from the cranium, because the hematoma will press on the brain, damaging it. Then it is extremely important to find out the cause of the hemorrhage: if it was not preceded by a clear trauma, the gaps may recur. Such patients need a cerebral vascular examination.

Temporal arteritis

The disease, as a rule, occurs in people 50 and older and without treatment can lead to complete blindness.

Symptoms. Strong headaches occur against the background of weight loss, insomnia, depression, sometimes high fever and redness of the scalp. The shoulder and neck can also hurt.

Possible reasons. Many different factors can push the disease, including viral infections. A strong attack on the immune system causes it to malfunction and makes the immune system attack the walls of blood vessels. Among other “provokers” of arteritis – uncontrolled intake of drugs, intense exposure to sunlight, alcoholism, hypothermia and various injuries.

How to treat. The most commonly used steroid drugs that stop the inflammation of blood vessels. If there are accompanying problems with eyesight (for example, clouding of the lens), the treatment should be handled by an ophthalmologist.

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