Head pounding, eye pain, sinus pressure, neck tension- there are so many variations to headache symptoms it can feel overwhelming and confusing! Let's guide you to some answers and make sense of your symptoms.
I have dealt with headaches for most of my life.
I actually remember being a little girl and telling my mom that I have a “head- egg” before I could even really know what a headache was.
I, like so many of my clients, were medically mis-managed. I was constantly told that I had sinus headaches from allergies, but I know now that I have migraines.
So, we’re going to spend some time talking about headaches - a common condition that many people, like me, have experienced.
We'll cover the different types of headaches and what causes them. We'll also provide some tips on how to manage and prevent headaches.
Before we dive in, it's important to understand that headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, such as stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and even certain foods. However, there are also specific types of headaches that are categorized based on their symptoms and causes.
1. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they are often caused by stress or tension in the muscles of the neck and scalp.
Symptoms of a tension headache include a mild to moderate pain that feels like a tight band around the head. You may also feel pressure in your forehead or temples.
If you're experiencing a tension headache, there are several things you can do to relieve the pain.
Try taking a break from whatever you're doing.
Engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
Applying heat or cold to your neck and shoulders may also help to ease the tension. I typically say that ice is great to help with headaches, migraines, and dizziness. But if you are experiencing more tension, spasm, and tightness in your neck, then try heat.
Stretching and exercises that help improve but not exacerbate your symptoms.
Migraines are another common type of headache, and they are characterized by intense, throbbing pain that is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound and even dizziness and vertigo.
Migraines can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and they can be debilitating for some people.
While the exact cause of migraines is not known, researchers believe that they may be related to changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
If you're experiencing migraines, there are several treatments available that can help to manage the pain and other symptoms.
These may include prescription medications and/or supplements, safe exercise, and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers like certain foods or stressors.
3. Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that is characterized by intense, excruciating pain that usually centers around one eye or temple.
They occur in cycles, often lasting for several weeks or months at a time before going into remission for a period of months or even years. Cluster headaches are relatively rare, affecting less than 1% of the population.
Cluster headaches typically occur in the middle of the night and can be so intense that they wake the person up from sleep.
The pain is often described as a burning or piercing sensation that can be accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, and facial sweating.
Some people may be more susceptible to cluster headaches due to genetic factors, and certain triggers may also increase the risk of an episode. These triggers can include alcohol, tobacco, high altitude, and changes in sleep patterns.
Treatment for cluster headaches typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers and maintaining a regular sleep schedule, may also help to reduce the frequency and severity of cluster headaches.
In some rare cases, surgery may be recommended for people who do not respond to other treatments. This may include procedures to block or damage the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.
4. Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches are a type of headache that is caused by inflammation in the sinuses. They are often accompanied by other symptoms such as facial pain, pressure, and congestion.
It's important to note that many people, like myself, get misdiagnosed with sinus headaches (or other types of headaches) that are actually migraines.
However, sinus congestion and allergies can affect our vestibular system. To help manage allergies, sinus pressure, and headaches it is important to manage allergens around the home by any of the following:
Use an air purifier and/or a diffuser of quality essential oils
Manage pet hair and dander
Minimize plush carpets, aim for low profile area rugs
If you're experiencing a sinus headache, there are several things you can do to relieve the pain. Medications, saline nasal spray or a warm compress have been known to help ease the congestion and help sinus headaches.
One of my favorite techniques is putting a drop or two of peppermint essential oil into a hot glass of water and breathing it in over a few minutes to help open my nasal passages.
5. Rebound Headaches
Rebound headaches are a type of headache that can occur when you overuse pain medications.
They are often characterized by a dull, persistent pain that is present most of the day.
Rebound headaches can be difficult to treat, as they are caused by the very medications that are meant to relieve headache pain.
I know I was dealing with rebound headaches before I understood that my headaches were migraines. Prior, I was having headaches daily and trying to self manage them with over the counter decongestants and Aleeve.
Now, thankfully, I am managing daily with a supplements and lifestyle routine and only rarely require a rescue medication (specific to migraine, not an OTC drug).
If you're experiencing rebound headaches, the best thing you can do is to stop using pain medications altogether and contact your healthcare provider. Your doctor may also recommend other treatments to help manage the pain and prevent future rebound headaches.
In conclusion, headaches are a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. Many clients are By understanding the different types of headaches and their causes, you can take steps to manage and prevent them for the long term!