What Your Headaches Could Be Telling You
Chances are, you’re probably familiar with what a headache is, but did you know there are quite a few different types of headaches, and each one may be trying to tell you something? June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness month, making it a perfect time to learn about the different types of headaches and what your headache could be telling you.
Types of Headaches
Not all headaches are the same. Here are some of the most common types of headaches.
Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches and can happen to anyone at any age. Stress typically causes a tension headache, resulting in a dull, aching sensation in all parts of the head. Some people also experience tenderness in the neck or shoulders.
Tension headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. You can treat most tension headaches with over-the-counter pain relievers. However, if your headache lasts for longer than a week or you’re experiencing multiple tension headaches throughout the week, you should talk to your doctor about long-term treatment.
Migraines are a type of intense reoccurring headache that often causes nausea and sensitivity to light. The pain is usually only on one side of the head. Several things can cause a migraine, such as stress, hormonal changes such as starting menopause, medicines, poor sleep, overexertion, skipped meals, or tobacco use.
Migraines are most common in women, those with a family history of migraines, and medical conditions such as depression, epilepsy, or bipolar disorder. There is no cure for migraines, but your doctor may prescribe medications to help you manage systems. In addition to medication, you can reduce your chances of intense migraines by learning how to manage your stress best, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and understand what triggers your migraines.
Sinus or Allergy Headaches
Sometimes an allergic reaction can cause a headache. Headaches caused by allergies often cause discomfort in the sinuses. This discomfort can occur around your nose, under the eyes, or the front of your head. Also called sinus headaches, they are most common in those who have seasonal allergies. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage systems, but if the discomfort persists for more than a week, you should contact your doctor to ensure you don’t have a sinus infection.
Caffeine is a strange substance because it can both cause and reduce headaches. If you’re someone who typically drinks a lot of caffeine and doesn’t consume your usual amount, it could cause a headache. On the flip side, if you don’t drink caffeine daily and decide to consume a lot in one day, that could also cause a headache.
Try to keep track of how much caffeine you consume a day and note how it affects you. If lots of caffeine gives you a headache, only drink it in moderation. If caffeine relieves your headaches, still be careful about taking in too much.
Also referred to as exercise headaches, exertion headaches occur when you physically exert yourself. Some everyday activities that cause exertion headaches include running and lifting weights. This type of headache usually causes throbbing on both sides of the head. Exertion headaches last about a day, but if symptoms persist, be sure to see your doctor as it may be a sign of a more severe condition.
Hypertension headaches are caused by dangerously high blood pressure. The pain usually occurs on both sides of the head and tends to worsen with any activity. Hypertension headaches can also cause vision changes, chest pains, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath. Symptoms tend to reduce once blood pressure is back at an average level.
You can reduce your chances of developing hypertension headaches by managing your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about ways to keep it low, such as medication or lifestyle changes. If you believe you are experiencing a hypertension headache, seek medical attention immediately.
Post-traumatic headaches develop after a head injury and can last up to twelve months. The pain of a post-traumatic headache is similar to that of a tension headache or migraine. To manage symptoms, doctors often prescribe medications such as beta-blockers or triptans.
Post-traumatic headaches are common in seniors after experiencing a fall. If you’ve recently fallen and have been experiencing tension or migraine-like headaches, talk to your doctor about the possibilities of a post-traumatic headache.
How Visiting Angels Can Help
Living with headaches can make performing daily tasks harder than they need to be. If you or an aging loved one is living with chronic headaches or migraines, the team at Visiting Angels Manassas, Virginia could help. Our compassionate caregivers can assist with everything from meal preparation to light housekeeping and medication reminders. We can even provide transportation to and from doctors’ appointments.
Our Manassas office serves those in Price William and Western Fairfax County, including Fort Belvoir and Lorton. If you’d like to learn more about our services, you can complete this online form or give us a call at 703.530.8811.