Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints, most people experience them at some point in their life. They can affect anyone regardless of age, race, and gender. Headache is a pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head. A headache may appear as a sharp pain, a throbbing sensation or a dull ache. Headaches can develop gradually or suddenly, and may last from less than an hour to several days.
Tension headaches are the most common form of headache. Such headaches normally begin slowly and gradually in the middle of the day. The person can feel:
- tight band around the head
- a constant, dull ache on both sides
- pain spread to or from the neck
- Tension-type headaches can be either episodic or chronic. Episodic attacks are usually a few hours in duration, but it can last for several days. Chronic headaches occur for 15 or more days a month for a period of at least 3 months.
Migraine headache may cause a sharp and punching pain usually only on one side of the head. The aching may be lead by:
- blurred vision
- sensory disturbances
- Migraine is the second most common form of primary headache and can have a significant impact on the life of an individual. According to the WHO, migraine is the sixth highest cause of days lost due to disability worldwide. A migraine can last from a few hours to between 2 and 3 days.
Rebound or medication-overuse headaches from an excessive use of medication to treat headache symptoms. They are the most common cause of headaches. They usually begin early in the day and persist throughout the day. They may improve with pain medication, but worsen when its effects ends. Along with the headache itself, rebound headaches can cause:
- neck pain
- a feeling of nasal congestion
- reduced sleep quality
- Rebound headaches can cause a range of symptoms, and the pain can be different each day.
Cluster headaches usually last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and they occur suddenly once per day up to eight times per day for a period of weeks to months. In between clusters, there may be no headache symptoms, and this headache-free period can last months to years. The pain caused by cluster headaches is:
- often described as sharp or burning
- typically located in or around one eye
- The affected area may become red and swollen and the nasal passage on the affected side may become runny.
Thunderclaps Headache sudden, severe headaches that are often described as the “worst headache of life.” They reach maximum intensity in less than one minute and last longer than 5 minutes.
A thunderclap headache is often secondary to life-threatening conditions, such as intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral venous thrombosis, ruptured or unruptured aneurysms, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RVS), meningitis, and pituitary apoplexy(tumor).
People who experience these sudden, severe headaches should seek Physician immediately.
Tension headaches tend to cause the following symptoms:
- neck stiffness
- pain that is dull and aching
- scalp tenderness
- shoulder stiffness
- tightness or pressure across the forehead that may extend to the sides or back of the head
- Sometimes tension headaches can feel like migraines. However, they don’t usually cause the same visual disturbances that migraine headaches do.
Cluster headaches are often short in duration and sometimes cause pain behind the eyes. The pain is usually on one side, and it may be described as sharp or constant in nature. Cluster headaches will typically occur about one to two hours after a person goes to bed. While they may have some symptoms similar to migraines, they usually don’t cause nausea.
Migraine headaches often feature symptoms such as:
- a pulsating feeling in the head
- pain on one side of the head
- sensitivity to sound and light
- severe, throbbing pain
- Migraine headaches often cause pain that’s so severe a person can’t concentrate or perform their daily activities.
Rebound headaches tend to occur daily, and they’re usually worse in the morning. They often improve with medication but return when the medication effects ends. Other symptoms associated with rebound headaches include:
- trouble remembering important details
- The nature of the headache often depends on what type medication a person was taking.
A thunderclap headache causes head pain that is short in duration, yet intense in nature.