Types of headaches, how to recognize them?

Types of headaches, how to recognize them?

We often deal with different types of headaches that can vary in cause, location, intensity, and frequency.

The head is one of the parts of the body most subject to pain: headaches can break out suddenly and with extreme intensity or gradually appear in one area and remain for hours.

In the majority of cases the headaches (so-called scientifically)  are not serious and, fortunately, are temporary; in others, however, they are symptoms of important diseases. This is why it is vital to recognize the types of headaches.

Types of headaches

There are two types of headache, classified as follows by the International Headache Society :

Primary, where the headache itself is the main problem;

Secondary, when it is caused by another condition that triggers pain in the head.

Primary headaches are the most common and also the most frequent: in Italy over 7 million people suffer from them and the causes derive from the inflammation of the parts of the body around the neck and head, including nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Primary headaches are not dangerous but often affect the quality of life: they can be occasional and resolve quickly, or they can last for hours and be debilitating.

Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are rarer but generally more serious as the headache is only the indicator of another disease, sometimes important. They often result from a structural problem affecting the head or neck, caused by various conditions, such as toothache, pain caused by an infected breast, bleeding in the brain, encephalitis, and meningitis.

Primary headache types

There are several types of primary headaches:

Tension headache is the most common type of headache, affects women most, and most likely occurs due to the contraction of the muscles that cover the skull which, when stressed, can become inflamed, causing spasms and pain. Symptoms start in the back of the head, like pressure, and often spread to the temples or eyebrows and surround the entire head. The intensity of the pain can vary but is usually not disabling

Migraine is the second most common type of primary headache, which term refers to a headache that usually affects only one side of the head. It usually starts with intense, throbbing pain that lasts between 2 to 72 hours, often also associated with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. When this headache is preceded by a warning symptom it is called a migraine with aura, while when it appears without warning it is a migraine without aura.

Cluster headache, on the other hand, is a rare type of primary headache that most commonly affects men. It is so-called because it tends to occur every day for a period of a week or more, followed by months and even years without a headache. The pain occurs with stabbing episodes around or behind one eye that range from 30 to 90 minutes, around the same time of day, often waking from sleep. The cause can be genetic, triggered by changes in sleep or medications. But also by other factors such as smoking, alcohol, and certain foods.

Other primary types of headaches are:

  • Drug-induced headache due to excessive consumption of medicines;
  • Headache from hormonal changes , related to menstruation , the contraceptive pill, menopause, and pregnancy;
  • Trigeminal neuralgia and temporomandibular joint disorders;
  • Headache from nasal congestion or flu
  • Cervicogenic headache , i.e. headache from the neck with neck pain and muscle stiffness;
  • Weekend headache .

Secondary headaches: the causes

The occurrence of secondary headaches can be associated with many diseases, as identified by the International Headache Society:

  • Trauma to the neck and head: edema or swelling within the brain, concussions without bleeding, whiplash, and neck injuries;
  • Problems with blood vessels in the head and neck: stroke or transient ischemic attack, arteriovenous malformations, brain aneurysm or hemorrhage, inflammation of the carotid artery;
  • Problems with the non-blood vessels of the brain: brain tumors; convulsions; intracranial hypertension;
  • Infections, such as meningitis, encephalitis, HIV / AIDS, pneumonia, or the flu;
  • Medicines and drugs ;
  • Changes in the environment of the body, such as hypertension, dehydration, hypothyroidism, and kidney dialysis.

Do you suffer from headaches?

If you have headache problems and you don’t know what to do, you can rely on Noemi, a digital program that helps you in a concrete way to manage and monitor your headache.

Thanks to a reserved area and free services, you will have practical tools at your disposal to better understand your ailment and concretely resolve your doubts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *