Headaches can be a mild discomfort or can disrupt your entire week (and more). Millions of Americans live with headaches for many different reasons. Let’s understand what headaches are, different types of headaches, what causes headaches, and how to prevent or treat them. Awareness about migraines and headaches can help you and other people in your life.
What are Headaches?
Headaches in general are a common pain condition with around 75% of adults experiencing at least one headache in the past year according to The Cleveland Clinic. A minor headache can be sharp or dull pain in the head, but can also include the neck, jaw, or shoulders.
What are the Different Types of Headaches?
According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, there are more than 300 different kinds of headaches! Here are some of the more common ones:
- Tension are the most common types of headaches and can be caused by physical or emotional stress or tiredness.
- Sinus headaches aren’t recurring headaches. Pain is usually in the forehead, and around the nose and eyes. Expect a stuffy or runny nose and/or a fever with these headaches.
- Migraines are much more severe than tension headaches and women experience migraines more than men. Migraine triggers are different for everyone but can include changing weather, foods, neck or back pain, and more.
- Medication can cause headaches and many medications list headaches as a side effect.
What Causes Headaches?
The most common headache triggers are stress, lack of sleep, hunger, diet, and caffeine withdrawal. Different triggers cause different headaches in different people. Learning about yourself, your habits with stress, sleep, and food can help you and your medical provider understand what is causing your headaches.
How to Treat or Prevent Migraines and Headaches?
Knowing some of your headache triggers can help you prevent or prepare for a headache. If a change in weather and pressure triggers a migraine, you can be sure to have medication ready. Or if certain foods cause headaches, avoiding them can be an easy way to minimize the number of headaches you have.
General headaches like tension headaches can be treated by drinking water or coffee, eating something, lying down, or taking over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – though be sure to talk to your doctor before taking anything new. Migraines and sinus may require a prescription or other treatment from your medical provider, and medication headaches need to be discussed with your provider.
If you have questions about headaches that you or a loved one get, talk to a NOAH provider today.