Common Causes of Head Pain

One of the most common causes of head pain is an old-fashioned headache. Almost everyone is likely to experience this condition at some point throughout their lives as it is a very common—yet still annoying—affliction. That being said, there can come a time when the head pain one feels just doesn’t quite feel like a typical headache. At times like this, it is important to be able to identify the source of the pain so that the best treatment can be given. We are going to talk about two common types of headaches including how they can be identified and how to treat them.

Tension Headache

The tension headache is the most common type of headache. Most of us are unfortunate enough to nurse this particular type of head pain once in a while, which is no wonder why they gained the nickname “stress headaches”. This type of headache is often described as having a band around one’s head that squeezes or creates “tension” around the forehead, temples, or back of the head. The pain can be brief, lasting only about half an hour, or it could remain a constant ache for several days. The intensity of the pain may increase to a persistent throbbing and then die down to a constant ache, especially if the headache lasts for more than one day.

A tension headache can be brought on by a number of things. Failing to get enough sleep, stress from school or work, anxiety, fatigue, overworking one’s self, and being overweight are just a few of the possible causes of a tension headache. The type of treatment best suited for a tension headache depends on what the cause is. For instance, if depression is the cause, then an antidepressant medication may be required to fully relieve the headaches. Stress-related head pain may be a bit more difficult to treat as we cannot always avoid the pressures that life gives us. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil & Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can provide temporary relief for headache symptoms; however one must get to the root of the problem in order to see long-lasting relief from their headaches.

Migraine Headache

Migraine headaches are among the most severe types of headache in terms of the pain associated with them. Migraines are caused by the enlargement of the blood vessels within the brain. These blood vessels are surrounded by coils of nerves, and when these nerves become stretched too far, they release chemicals. These chemicals lead to inflammation and pain. Because inflammation also tends to cause swelling, the blood vessels enlarge even more which results in more intense pain. The pain is described as a very intense pounding that often affects the temple, however it can also occur in the forehead, behind the eye, or in the back of the head. Most often the pain is limited to one side of the head, but in some cases it can occur on both sides.

Migraines tend to activate the nervous system which can lead to some pretty intense symptoms. For instance, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are very common symptoms of a migraine. A migraine can also have an effect on one’s circulation causing cold hands and feet and a grey-ish pallor to the skin. Sensitivity to light, sound, and blurry vision are other very common symptoms. Over-the-counter migraine medication such as Excedrin Migraine (acetaminophen, caffeine, and aspirin) can be taken for mild headaches, but more severe or recurring migraines are likely to require a prescription-strength medication. For some, certain foods, smells, sounds, and caffeine can be triggers for migraine headaches. Finding the trigger and avoiding it as much as possible will help to reduce the occurrence of migraines.

If one experiences pain that is so severe that it prevents them from carrying out their daily activities, then a doctor should be consulted for an evaluation. Headaches may be the most common cause of head pain, but they are definitely not the only cause. Tumors, meningitis, encephalitis, abscesses, and many other serious conditions can also cause pain in the head. Untreated, a severe brain condition could prove fatal, therefore the sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner one can seek the appropriate treatment.


 

 

 

 


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