Types Of Headaches

Cluster, Sinus, Rebound, Migraine, Tension: The Various Types of Headaches Image

Everyone gets headaches every now and then. While some headaches cause minor discomfort and can be relieved with over-the-counter medication, others cause severe pain and require medical attention.

What’s worse, while diet and stress contribute to some headaches, certain medications you take to cure your headache can make your symptoms even worse. This latter type of headache is known as a rebound headache.

While it’s normal to experience the occasional headache, if you frequently experience headaches that interfere with your everyday activities, it might be time to consult a doctor. He can help you pinpoint the cause of your headaches and can rule out potentially serious health issues that may be contributing to your headaches.

Headaches - Types of Headaches

Your doctor can also discuss treatment options for your headaches. Treatment options will vary depending on the type of headache you are experiencing but often include medication and lifestyle changes.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are severe headaches that occur for no known cause. Rarer than migraines, these types of headaches affect only approximately 70 out of every 100,000 people. Men are six times more likely than women to experience cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches usually begin as pain around the eye or temple. Unilateral pain (pain on one side of the head) is typical of cluster headaches.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches tend to accompany sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinus passage. Sinusitis is a common health problem, affecting more than 30 million Americans, annually.

Sinus headaches are caused when the sinus cavities become inflamed and aren’t able to drain properly. Thus, facial tenderness, pain and pressure around the forehead, cheeks and/or eyes are common with sinus headaches.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are a withdrawal response to medication. That means that the very headache medication you are taking can be causing your headaches. The following people are at risk for developing rebound headaches:

  • people who take headache medication in high doses
  • people who take headache medication on a regular basis
  • people who use painkillers to prevent pain.

Unfortunately, stopping the use of the medication causing your symptoms is the only effective treatment for rebound headaches.

Organic Headaches

Organic headaches are headaches that are caused by a physical condition. Organic headaches can be caused by the following, among others:

  • aneurysm
  • brain abscesses
  • brain injury
  • brain tumor
  • meningitis.

Luckily, the majority of headaches are due to non-organic causes, such as stress, diet or lack of sleep. Only 1 to 5 percent of all headaches are due to organic causes.

As it is difficult to determine if a headache is organic or non-organic, consult your doctor if you experience head pain accompanied by any of the following:

  • difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • headache following a head or brain injury
  • loss of balance or coordination.
  • mental confusion or loss of consciousness
  • mood swings, odd behavior or personality changes
  • muscular weakness or numbness
  • seizures or convulsions
  • sudden, intense and severe head pain
  • visual problems.

Such symptoms could indicate an organic headache.