The 3 Major Types of Headaches You Should Never Ignore

The 3 Major Types of Headaches You Should Never Ignore

Do you get headaches?

Millions of people suffer from headaches.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, tension-type headaches are the most common type of primary headache.

But what are the different types of headaches, and which ones should you never ignore?

You’ll learn about the three major types of headaches – migraines, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches – and how to tell them apart.

Plus, find out when it’s time to see a doctor about your headache and get relief from your pain.

But before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at what headache is and what causes them.

What is a headache?

A headache is a pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck.

In general, headache is characterized by so many factors, such as: 

  • Pain ranging from sharp to dull.
  • It can be a mild sensation of discomfort, or it can be severe.
  • It can affect daily activities. 
  • The severity of the pain depends on the cause.
  • It can be a squeezing or throbbing type of headache (it can feel like you are being hit with a hard object over and over again).
  • It can occur suddenly or gradually. 
  • It can occur on one side of the head (unilaterally) or both sides (bilaterally).
  • Pain can radiate to the eyes. It can cause double vision.
  • It can be persistent or short-lived.
  • Headache can be associated with vomiting, nausea, confusion, high temperature, and vision difficulty.

Ask yourself these questions:

Which of the above characteristics are associated with your headaches symptoms?

That said: 

Don’t stop reading now… 

Let’s get started with the three types of headaches.

The 3 Major Types of Headaches to never ignore 

1. Migraines

Migraines are a type of headache that is often characterized by severe pain on one side of the head, a throbbing sensation, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Basically, migraines are often preceded by what is called an aura, which can be a visual disturbance such as flashes of light or blind spots.

Some people also experience nausea and vomiting during a migraine

Migraines are usually triggered by:

  • Certain kinds of smell, for example, the smell of nail polish
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Exercise and physical overexertion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor sleeping habits/lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Jet lag
  • Excitement

And as you can see, migraines can be triggered by a lot of things.

How long do migraines last?

Migraines can last for at least 4 to 72 hours.

Although, severe migraines can last for up to 3 days.

On the negative side:

Migraines tend to run in families.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, you have a 50% chance of developing a migraine if one of your parents suffers from them.

So, how do you get rid of a migraine fast?

Good question!

You can make a migraine go away quickly with any of the following:

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Avoiding triggering factors
  • Stress management (reduce your stress levels and regain control of your life)
  • Sumatriptan
  • Diet modifications

Learn more: 7 Things That Cause Migraines

2. Tension headaches

Tension headaches are also known as stress headaches or muscle contraction headaches.

Generally speaking, they are characterized by a dull or aching sensation, often felt in the forehead, temples, or back of the head.

They can be accompanied by pressure or tightness around the head and neck.

They usually last for between 30 minutes and several days.

Tension headaches are often caused by stress, anxiety, poor posture, or clenching your teeth.

How do you get rid of tension headaches fast?

There are a few things you can do to help relieve tension headaches fast.

For starters, try applying a cold compress or ice pack to the forehead for 10-15 minutes.

Alternatively, take a hot bath or apply a heating pad to the neck and shoulders.

NSAIDs and analgesics, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can also help to relieve the pain.

What’s more, stretching and yoga can also help to ease muscle tension.

Massages, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep can also help to alleviate tension headaches.

But that’s not all.

Practicing good posture, avoiding stressful situations, and learning to relax can also help to prevent tension headaches from occurring in the first place.

If the headaches are severe or don’t go away after a few days, see your doctor for advice.

3. Cluster headaches 

Cluster headaches are a rare type of headache that can cause severe pain on one side of the head.

Cluster headaches usually occur in clusters, which means that they can happen several times a day for weeks or even months and then disappear for a period of time.

They are more common in men than women.

The best treatment for cluster headaches

Actually, the cause of cluster headaches is unknown.

Therefore, management techniques involve relieving symptoms as see fit:

  • You can use pain medications for the pain
  • Oxygen therapy can be used in a patient who is struggling to breathe with intense head pain and require fast relief.
  • Triptans
  • IV Octreotide
  • Lidocaine

In conclusion

The three major types of headaches you should never ignore are migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.

Although they may have different causes, they all share one common symptom: pain.

If you are experiencing any type of headache that is accompanied by severe pain, it is best to consult a doctor for advice.

The 3 Major Types of Headaches You Should Never Ignore

Learn more: how to relieve a headache without any pills.