Headaches are described as pain in the head. The cause, duration, and intensity of pain can vary according to the type of headache.
WARNING: a headache may require immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing any of the following: stiff neck, rash, the worst headache you’ve ever had, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, any fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, paralysis in any part of your body or visual loss.
Common primary headaches
1. Tension headaches
If you have a tension headache, you may feel a dull, aching sensation all over your head. It isn’t throbbing. Tenderness or sensitivity around your neck, forehead, scalp, or shoulder muscles also might occur.
2. Cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are characterized by severe burning and piercing pain. They occur around or behind one eye or on one side of the face at a time. Sometimes swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating can occur on the side that’s affected by the headache. Nasal congestion and eye tearing also often occur on the same side as the headache.
These headaches occur in a series. Each individual headache can last from 15 minutes to three hours. Most people experience one to four headaches a day, usually around the same time each day, during a cluster. After one headache resolves, another will soon follow.
Migraine pain is an intense pulsing from deep within your head. This pain can last for days. The headache significantly limits your ability to carry out your daily routine. Migraines are throbbing and usually one-sided. People with migraine headaches are often sensitive to light and sound. Nausea and vomiting also usually occur. Some migraines are preceded by visual disturbances. About one out of five people will experience these symptoms before the headache starts. Known as an aura, it may cause you to see: flashing lights, shimmering lights, zigzag lines, stars, blind spots.
Common secondary headaches
4. Allergy or sinus headaches
Headaches sometimes happen as a result of an allergic reaction. The pain from these headaches is often focused in your sinus area and in the front of your head.
5. Hormone headaches
Women may experience headaches that are linked to hormonal flutuations. Menstruation, birth control pills, and pregnancy all affect your estrogen levels, which can cause a headache. These can occur right before, during, or right after menses, as well as during ovulation.
6. Caffeine headaches
Caffeine affects blood flow to your brain. Having too much can give you a headache, as can quitting caffeine too quickly.
7. Exertion headaches
Exertion headaches, a throbbing headache on both sides of your head, may happen quickly after periods of intense activities. This type of headache usually resolves within a few minutes or several hours.
8. Hypertension headaches
High blood pressure can a headache, and this kind of headache signals an emergency. This occurs when your blood pressure becomes dangerously high. You may also experience changes in vision, numbness or tingling, nosebleeds, chest pain, or shortness of breath.
If you think you’re experiencing a hypertension headache, you should seek immediate medical attention.
9. Rebound headaches
Rebound headaches, also known as medication overuse headaches, can feel like a dull, tension-type headache, or they may feel more intensely painful, like a migraine.
10. Post-traumatic headaches
Post-traumatic headaches can develop after any type of head injury. These headaches feel like migraines or tension-type headaches, and usually last up to 6 to 12 months after your injury occurs. They can become chronic.
When to see your Chiropractor
In most cases, episodic headaches will go away within 48 hours. If you have a headache that lasts more than two days or that increases in intensity, you should see your Chiropractor for assistance.