Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Causes of Recurring Headaches

A headache is a pain - literally and figuratively. It can interfere with life, causing lost time or missed work and frustration. But when the pain comes back again and again, what does it mean? What causes recurring headaches?

Identifying the type of headache is key to prevention. There are five main types of headaches; migraine, tension, cluster, sinus, and rebound.


A migraine headache is cause by a neurological disorder and can last from 4 - 15 hours. Women make up 75% of adult migraine suffers. However migraines strike prepubescent boys and girls equally. For most, a typical migraine headache is unilateral or only affecting one side of the head. Migraine headache symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and can be triggered by every day activities. About one-third of people suffering from migraines also experience what is known as an aura, or some kind of signal or warning that a migraine is on its way. An aura can be visual, such as blind spots or wavering lines, or physical, like numbness in a hand or arm. At this time, the cause of migraines is unknown, but it is thought to be the body's excessive reaction to stimuli. Changes in sleep patterns, skipping meals, menstrual cycles in women, weather changes, bright lights, and a host of other stimuli can all bring on a migraine headache.


A tension headache feels like pressure around the head or a constant ache, usually at the temples or back of the neck. Tension headaches are not considered to be as severe as migraines and are usually not accompanied by nausea. They are also not as debilitating and do not interfere with day-to-day tasks the way migraines do. Nonetheless, a tension headache can be agitating and accounts for approximately 90% of all headaches. Stress, dehydration, sleep deprivation, and eyestrain are all culprits of tension headaches.


A cluster headache is recognized by excruciating, unilateral pain, generally centered in the area around the eyes. Regarded by some to be the most painful of headaches, they are usually short in duration, lasting around 15 minutes. Some women say that the pain of a cluster headache is a worse pain than childbirth. Researchers have recently linked low testosterone production to a possible cause of cluster headaches.


A sinus headache is caused by inflammation of the sinuses, or sinusitis. Most inflammations are caused by infection, allergies or autoimmune disorders. This type of headache is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as nasal congestion, facial pain or coughing. Relief can be as simple as clearing up the inflammation.


A rebound headache is a special type of headache, also known as a "medication overuse headache." They usually occur in chronic headache sufferers when pain relievers are regularly taken to relieve recurring headaches. Rebound headaches occur frequently, often daily. If the condition is severe, a competent medical practitioner should be consulted. But for the majority of recurring headache sufferers, the cure can be as simple as a little TLC. Taking care of your body such eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, and managing stress may be all the treatment you need.