types of headaches with pictures

Gaining A Better Understanding Of Headaches And Their Causes

Headaches. We all probably get them, but what causes them? While the medical community does not have a complete understanding of this common yet often wildly varying type of pain, there are answers on how to identify and treat them. Here is a brief look into what can cause a headache, a few types, and approaches to treating them.

Did you know there are more than 150 types of headaches? As one of the most underestimated and under-recognized conditions throughout the world, headaches have been habitually under-treated. This is surprising as they are so commonplace. In fact, half to three-quarters of adults 18 to 65 years old globally report having one in the last year.

Why do so many people get headaches? The answer isn’t simple; the causes vary and there are many possible triggers leading to a headache. Typically, this pain is the result of chemical changes and signals being sent to the brain, surrounding nerves, and blood vessels. Triggers for such a reaction can include excessive medication; alcohol or tobacco use; changes in the weather; as well as strain in the neck or back caused by poor posture.

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What are the types of headaches? First, they can be broken into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are when the headache is the condition itself whereas secondary headaches are a symptom of something else happening in the body. Primary headaches —such as migraine, tension, and cluster headaches — are what drives 90% of people to visit the doctor. Treating secondary headaches starts by addressing the structural cause. Such causes could be head injury, hormonal changes, withdrawal from caffeine, or high blood pressure. Being able to correctly identify the category and type is important. This can result in superior treatment and, therefore, quicker pain relief.

Treating a headache can begin before its onset through preventive measures. Headache prevention depends on the category, type of headache, and an understanding of the triggers specific to an individual. However, once someone can confidently pinpoint his or her triggers, he or she can work to avoid or minimize them. Strong perfumes, inadequate sleep and seasonal allergies are just a few additional examples. If unable to identify what’s triggering a recurrent headache, it’s advised to see a specialist for a personalized multidisciplinary approach.

Headache treatment at home can include taking over-the-counter pain relievers, applying heat or cold packs to the head, performing stretching exercises, or even going for a walk. Tension headaches are often caused by poor posture. Improving posture or seeking manual massage therapy, acupuncture, dry needling and other alternative treatment methods from a physical therapist or chiropractor can help relieve tension headaches when over-the-counter pain relief is not enough.

If you’re suffering from headaches and can’t find relief, speak with your healthcare provider for help in determining the right strategies to work for you. For further information on the types of headaches and how to treat them, please see the accompanying resource by One Wellness Utah.

headache inforgraphic

Infographic One Wellness Utah, a provider of inflammation treatment

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