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The Most Common Types of Headaches

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I didn't realize there were so many different types of headaches that affect people on a daily basis. According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) there are more than 150 different types of headaches. Massage therapy can help relieve headache pain and it can also be used as a preventative measure to reduce the number of headache occurrences. Here are the most common types of headaches:

Migraine Headaches

Migraines are vascular headaches related to changes in the size of the arteries within and outside the brain. Often, the pain is on one side of the head accompanied by a throbbing pain. Usually you will experience some nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, sensitivity to light or sound, dizziness, or mood changes. Migraines can last up to three days and may occur multiple times in a month.

Tension Headaches

This is the most common type of headache among adults and teenagers. These headaches tend not to pulsate and are not as severe as migraines. Tension headaches are also known as chronic daily headaches or chronic non-progressive headaches. The pain is usually mild to moderate and can be felt around the head (not just on one side). These headaches can last for several days. A common cause to this type of headache is emotional/mental stress.

Additive-Induced Headaches

Symptoms can begin within 20 to 25 minutes after eating products that contain additives. Symptoms are: pressure in the chest; tightening and pressure in the face; burning sensation in the chest, neck, or shoulders; facial flushing; and/or dizziness. Pain is usually on both sides of the head.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches almost never recur. If your headache seems to be recurring it may actually be a migraine. Sinus headaches are associated with deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. This pain usually gets worst with sudden head movement. There are also other sinus symptoms such as, nasal discharge, pressure in the ear, fever and facial swelling.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are caused by the overuse of misuse of over the counter pain relievers or not following your doctor's advice regarding dosage. When the pain medications wears off you may experience a withdrawal reaction causing you to take more medication. This leads to another headache.

Hormone Headaches

Hormonal changes in women during menstruation, menarche, pregnancy; and menopause can cause headaches. Hormone headaches can also be caused by taking hormones like birth control pills.

Cluster Headaches

This may be the least common type of headache but it is the most severe. The pain can be so intense that the sufferer will not be able to sit still. It is described as a burning or piercing pain that is throbbing or constant. It is located behind one eye or in the eye area. This type of headache is actually more common in men. They are called clusters because they occur multiple times during a day and tend to last from two weeks to three months. These headaches often occur at the same time each day.

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