all experienced the annoying, relentless and throbbing pain
associated with a headache. They can slow us down or even
bring us to a complete stop. However, did you know that there
are several different types of headaches, and knowing the type
you've got can be the first step in effectively treating it?
Clinic Health System nurse practitioner Erin Pokorny takes a
look at different types of headaches and shares what you can
do to fight them.
Tension-type headaches: These are considered to be the most
common types of headaches. They are often described as dull
and achy and are often brought on by stress, neck pain,
missing meals and a variety of other things. Treatment
options: Tension-type headaches can often be treated by
over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or
acetaminophen. You may also want to try alternative treatments
including meditation, relaxation training and massage.
Migraines: We've all heard about migraines, and we know that
they’re not to be taken lightly. The pain associated with
migraines is often described as throbbing and severe.
Migraines are often associated with nausea, vomiting or
increased sensitivity to light and sound. Pain may worsen with
increased activity. Untreated, migraines can typically last
anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Treatment options: If you know
the triggers for your migraines, make sure to avoid these
known causes. Over-the-counter medication can help. Other
treatment options include prescription medications; rest in a
quiet, dark room; or a hot/cold compress to the head or neck.
Cluster headaches: These are rare but occur on and off for
weeks at a time. Cluster periods can last for days or months,
and you may experience one or more cluster headaches a day.
Typically, these headaches begin quickly and reach maximum
intensity within minutes. They usually affect one side of the
head and can be accompanied by tearing/redness in one eye or
drooping of that eyelid, and a runny or stuffy nose. Treatment
options: Over-the-counter medication won’t help cluster
headaches due to their short duration. Preventive medication
can help, as well as injections of sumatriptan for quick
relief. Inhalation of 100 percent oxygen through a mask and
prescription triptan nasal sprays can help.
Chronic daily headaches: These headaches occur 15 days or more
a month. The different types of chronic daily headaches are
characterized by their frequency and duration. The signs,
symptoms and time frame vary depending on the type of headache
you have. Treatment options: Treatment for chronic daily
headaches often focuses on underlying diseases and conditions
to stop them. If no underlying conditions are found,
preventive medication becomes the focus of treatment.
wants their days hindered by annoying and painful headaches.
It’s important to be able to identify the type of headache
you’re experiencing in order to execute the best treatment
options," says Pokorny. "Make sure to schedule a
visit with your health care provider if symptoms