What is a Headache: What Causes Headaches?

Learn how to prevent headachesA headache is when a person experiences pain in the entire head and neck region. There are over 150 different types of headache categories that doctors use to diagnose patients with a headache. A tension headache is the most common form of headaches in adults and children. This type of headache causes a soft to medium pain, and over a long period of time can come and then go.

A migraine is a type of chronic headache that causes a throbbing type of pain which is most commonly described as medium to high intensity. A cluster headache is one of the more less common headaches, but also one of the most severe as well. The level of pain experienced during a cluster headache is very high. A sinus headache is a headache that causes pain in the facial region. An acute headache is most commonly seen in adolescents. A hormone headache is a type of headache that occurs in women due to the changing of their hormone levels. A traction headache is one that gets more severe and happens more frequently over time. Traction headaches are the least common of all headaches.

What causes a headache?

Each different type of headache has its own causes. Although they are the most common, tension headaches do not have a known cause. They are most likely due to the contraction of the various muscles covering the skull. When the muscles are  strained, they could spasm thus causing the headache pain.  The causes of cluster headaches are also unknown. It is possible for cluster headaches to be caused by abnormal brain activity (specifically in the hypothalamus), genetics, changes in patterns of sleep, and various medications.

A migraine is believed to be caused by changes in the brain (specifically the brainstem) and brain chemical imbalances. There are many triggers which could cause the migraine to happen. A hormone headache is generally caused by a change in the sufferers hormone levels. A sinus headache could be caused by a sinus infection, allergic reaction, inflammation, and also could be caused by the accumulation of sinus fluid with less sinus fluid draining. A traction headache will potentially happen if the pain-sensitive areas of the head and brain are displaced, strained, or pulled in an unfavorable motion.

Common treatments of a headache:

The treatment of a headache depends entirely upon which type of headache you have, and what symptoms you are experiencing. For instance, it is common for tension headaches to be successfully treated with standard over the counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Stress relieving techniques and massage therapy can help with tension headaches as well. Cluster headache treatments vary from patient to patient. There are two treatments needed to properly treat a cluster headache, one treatment for the first initial headache and one treatment for the additional headaches. Initial treatment could include oxygen inhalation, tryptan injections, local anesthetic in the nostril, and blood vessel-constricting medicines.

The second course of treatment could include various calcium channel blockers, lithium, anti-depressants, seizure control medication, and valproic acid treatments. Hormone headaches are usually treated through the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Determining the underlying problem is appropriate for treating  traction headaches. The treatments could involve anything from surgery to standard medications. With migraine headaches there are two courses of action possible. The first is abortive, they can be administered through injection, spray or mouth. This type of medication works quickly, and the goal is to stop the headache once it starts. The second type of treatment for migraines would be preventive, which utilizes anti-depressant medications, high blood pressure medications, and anti-seizure medications.

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