If you ask me what causes headaches I’ll say weariness and thoughts. But considering there are 150 diagnostic headache categories I realize the causes go beyond these two factors I mentioned. The different causes have given the doctors a ground to distinguish between different types of headaches. Below you can get acquainted with the most common ones:
Tension headaches: Tension headaches are the common type of headaches, from which adults and adolescents generally suffer. Surprising as it may sound, the causes of this most common headache are not fully discovered. Generally referred to as muscle contraction headaches (though experts don’t believe muscle contractions cause them) they cause mild to moderate pain.
Migraines: Migraines are generally related to blood vessel contraction. Changes in the brain or abnormalities in certain brain area, which are usually inherited, also stand among the possible causes.
Things to know about migraines:
- They last for four hours to three days.
- They cause throbbing pain, which can vary between moderate to severe and are felt on one or both sides of the head.
- They occur one to four times monthly.
The best way to describe people suffering from migraines is they are sensitive to light, noise and odors. I belong to the last ones because even the slightly felt odor can spoil my mood and in most cases I end with a migraine. Migraines have different symptoms and causes.
You should not confuse migraines with the simple headaches, because if you happen to meet two kids, one suffering for example, from a tension headache and the other from a migraine, you’ll see what I mean. Migraines are more serious. The kid with a migraine headache will look pale, feel dizzy and sick in his stomach, go through abdominal pain and have fever and blurred vision. Besides he’ll experience nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite. Too much to be referred to as a simple headache, right?
The various types of migraine headaches include the following:
- Abdominal migraine
- Basilar migraine
- Complicated migraine
- Cyclic migraine syndrome
- Hemiplegic migraine
- Nocturnal migraine
- Ophthalmoplegic migraine
Interestingly, migraines are common among pregnant women, who can experience these recurrent headaches from the third month of their pregnancy until the delivery.
Mixed headache syndrome: As the name suggests it’s a combination of headaches. It combines both tension and migraine headaches. Like almost all types of headaches, adolescents and adults are at equal risk of suffering from them.
Acute headaches: Common in kids and adolescents these headaches have neurological signs and symptoms. If these signs and symptoms are absent, then they are being related to a respiratory or sinus infection.
Inflammatory headaches: Also referred to as chronic progressive headaches, inflammatory headaches are basically caused by a brain or skull disorder. They are not common, and on the whole they account for the least number of headaches in adults and kids.
Cluster headaches: If so far you have been wondering which the severest type of headache is, you already know – cluster headaches are the cruelest ones. They cause a feeling of burning in the head, which is accompanied with a throbbing or constant pain. The severity level of this headache is so high that a person experiencing it is just not able to sit still or make himself sleep. Once the cluster headache attacks, people start pacing, I don’t actually know how it helps them (or in reality it helps or no), but this pacing characterizes almost all people suffering this headache. The pain usually occurs in the eye region.
Things to know about cluster headaches:
- They occur one to three times a day.
- They can last for two weeks to three months.
- They can leave you in peace for months and years, but it doesn’t mean for forever. They leave you only to reoccur one day.
Hormone headaches: One of my sisters very often complains of headaches, and her mom continuously tells her it’s high time she marries. Though we usually take this for a joke and make fun of her we all realize there is some truth in her words especially if we take into account she’s never had sexual relations with anyone and she is about 28 or so. So hormone headaches are a type peculiar to women. They are related to hormone level changes, which occur during menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. Note that birth control pills can also trigger headaches.
Sinus headaches: If you experience constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead or the bridge of nose, then you suffer from sinus headaches. They usually occur with such sinus symptoms as feeling fullness in the ears, nasal discharge and facial swelling. The pain usually gets worse when you abruptly move your head or strain. In my case sinus headaches occur when I have flu and it feels really terrible.
Headaches are not a disease; so many people think “well, they’ll soon disappear.” These are basically people who suffer from tension headaches, which can ease with an even thirty minutes sleep. But things are different with people experiencing more severe types of headaches; sometimes they even hit their head onto the wall to ease the pain. It doesn’t help, I tell you from my own experience, but it shows how severe headaches can be and to what they can lead people.
And lastly, I’m sure many of you suffering from headaches wonder if they are hereditary or no. Most of them are, and the most common hereditary headache is the migraine. The possibility the kid will suffer from migraine is especially high (70 percent) if both parents experience it. If only one parent suffers, the possibility drops (25-50 percent), yet it doesn’t exclude the risk, because in my family only my dad suffers from migraine and it has passed to me.
Photo Credit: Ella Grace