Headaches of any kind can be a real pain in the … head. Millions of people experience headaches but knowing which type may help you better understand the triggers and ways to prevent them. Three common ones include migraines, tension and sinus/allergy related.
Migraines are usually moderately to severely intense and can include an aura or no aura. "Aura" is the name for the pre-symptoms that let you know a migraine is coming, such as flashing lights, change in vision, tingling sensations.
The pain is often described as throbbing or pulsating in a particular area of the head, as opposed to the entire head. Many experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness and light sensitivity due to the pain requiring medication, ice, cold wash cloths, or sleep in a dark room.
Migraines may follow a pattern such as having onset from weather/barometric changes or ovulation and menses, or they be sporadic.
Tracking them may be helpful. Common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, wine, MSG, chocolate, diet sodas, tight muscles, food sensitivities, and skipping meals/hypoglycemia.
Common treatments include over-the-counter pain medications, prescription pain medications, migraine medications, avoiding triggers, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and the herbs feverfew and butterbur.
Tension headaches generally occur with stress, too little sleep, tight muscles and poor posture. Unlike migraine, tension headaches are generally described as milder pain that is dull and aching, or squeezing like a band on the head, and possibly extending into the neck and upper shoulders.
These headaches can occur sporadically or daily, depending on the trigger. Many people report tension headaches in certain situations, such as during long work days, after family events or other stressful situations.
Common treatments include over-the-counter pain medication, avoiding triggers, focusing on proper posture, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and finding ways to reduce stress.
Sinus and allergy headaches are triggered by congestion and pressure buildup in the sinuses.