Headaches are a distress signal, alerting you that something in your body is out of balance. Pain relievers may temporarily take the pain and stress away, but usually does not rid you of the underlying physical causes. Dr. Levi can diagnose the type of headache you have, treat the underlying physical causes, and teach preventative steps to combat future episodes of headache.
Causes of Headaches
The most common types of headaches are:
- Tension Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Mixed Headache Syndrome
- Sinus Headache
- Vascular Headaches
1. VISE-LIKE TENSION HEADACHES
Also called chronic daily headaches or chronic non-progressive headaches, tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. These headaches may start in the upper back-shoulder region and move up to the back of the head and forward to the front. These muscle contraction headaches cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time. People commonly report mild to moderate pain or pressure affecting the front, top or sides of head.
Factors may include
- Inadequate rest/sleep
- Poor posture
- Emotional or mental distress
LOCATION OF PAIN
- Back of head
- Pain originating from the shoulder, neck and shooting up to the head
The exact causes of migraines are unknown. A popular theory is that various triggers, food, stress, and hormonal fluctuations, cause abnormal brain activity, which in turn causes changes in the blood vessels to the brain. Migraines cause intense throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, accompanied by visual disturbances (aura) nausea, irritability, sensitivity to light, noise or odors. Migraines may run in families.
COMMON TRIGGERS FOR MIGRAINES:
- Salt intake
- Menstruation/hormonal fluctuations
- Environmental factors, air quality
- Some psychological conditions
3. CLUSTER HEADACHES
The least common — although the most severe — type of primary headache. The most common features of this type of headache include
- The pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing quality that is throbbing or constant
- The pain is so severe that most cluster headache sufferers cannot sit still and will often pace during an attack.
- The pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides. The term “cluster headache” refers to headaches that have a characteristic grouping of attacks.
- Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely (go into “remission”) for months or years, only to recur.
4. MIXED HEADACHE SYNDROME
Also called transformed migraines, mixed headache syndrome is a combination of migraine and tension headaches. It is often difficult to differentiate between both types of headaches. Women tend to have this type of headache more often than men. Both adults and children experience this type of headache.
- Throbbing Pain
- May feel dull, tight, or like a band around the head
- Pain varies from mild to severe
- May get worse with activity
- May last 4 to 72 hours
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Numbness, tingling, weakness
- Neck Pain
Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, neck, back of the head or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, facial swelling, dizziness and lightheadedness.
- Deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of nose
- Pain intensifies with sudden movement of the head
- Usually accompanied by nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears
- Facial swelling
- Vertigo (dizziness)