Headache Information Center

"I may not be able to come to office today, I have a headache…. Headache….. headache…?? Indeed, what is a headache? Well, one thing is for sure, everyone has one! Headache is one of the common aches or pain suffered by everyone; man or woman, rich or poor…it has been making our lives miserable for ages…! Headache is the pain felt anywhere in the head region and it can also radiate towards the neck. It can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness and weakness. A headache can be relieved by a simple pain killer or it can persist and become severe thereby indicating some other serious underlying medical problem.

Headache Information Center

Almost everyone suffers or has had suffered from a headache. The most common course of action these people adopt is popping a pain pill. While it relieves the headache most of the times; sometimes, it takes more than just a pill to get rid of that stubborn headache. What many people are not aware of is that headache is of many types and occurs due to different reasons/causes. Some are them are quite common and some of them, not so much. In our HEADACHE INFORMATION CENTER, we have done our best to cover all the various types of headaches, their causes, symptoms and treatment. We hope you find all the information you have been searching for, but please bear this in mind that this is for your information purpose only and if you are suffering from severe headache and other symptoms, then go visit your doctor ASAP..!!! Please recommend our website to your family, friends and colleagues and do follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Read More About What is Headache, Its Classification, Symptoms, Treatment, Tests From the Below Links:

Given below are some snippets of the types of headaches which we have covered. To know more about them, please go to the left side menu and refer to our "Headache Information Center."

Bilious Headache

Bilious Headache

This is a type of headache which occurs as a result of overeating and indigestion. It is felt as a dull pain in the forehead and a throbbing pain in the temples. Symptoms experienced are throbbing and splitting pain in the temples, heaviness in the head and neck, abdominal bloating and discomfort, regurgitation of bile, irritability, nausea and vomiting. Treatment is done by placing tepid compresses and hot fermentations alternately to the head, over the stomach and bowels, drinking hot drinks, warm water enema and warm sitz baths. Patient should adopt healthy eating habits and drink lots of fluids throughout the day.

Spinal Headache or Post-Lumbar Puncture Headache

Spinal Headache or Post-Lumbar Puncture Headache

Patient experiences a headache after undergoing a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and spinal anesthesia. Headache occurs when the pressure exerted by the spinal fluid on the brain decreases due to CSF leakage through the puncture site. Symptoms felt are dull and throbbing pain which can be very intense or mild, worsening pain upon sitting or standing, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, photophobia, neck stiffness and sensitivity to light. Treatment comprises of:

  • Epidural Blood Patch.
  • Intravenous caffeine.
  • Epidural Saline.

To read more on causes, symptoms, investigations and treatment, please refer to the left side menu where you can read in detail about "Spinal Headache."

Ice Pick Headache

Ice Pick Headache

This type of headache is felt as a very sharp and stabbing pain, just like an ice-pick, hence the name Ice Pick Headache. Headache is generally felt in the parietal, temporal and orbital region. These headaches are abrupt in onset and are extremely painful; however, they last for a few seconds only. The cause for this type of headache is not known. Symptoms are felt as acute pain, which is abrupt in onset and is felt as a stabbing pain, can be felt at one site or multiple sites on the head. Ice pick headache can wake you up from your sleep too. Treatment comprises of giving painkillers, NSAIDs, migraine medicines, antidepressants, anti-epileptics, relaxation techniques and meditation.

Post-Traumatic Headache

Post-Traumatic Headache

This is a headache experienced after any injury or trauma to the neck or head. Causes include injuries from physical violence, falling and landing on head, sports injuries and road accidents. Symptoms include: Pain in the head and neck which worsens upon movement, vision changes, dizziness, memory problems, impaired hearing, nausea, vomiting, weakness, decreased appetite, decline in smelling and tasting ability, inability to concentrate, photosensitivity, irritability, tinnitus, anxiety, insomnia, stiffness in the head, neck and shoulders region. Treatment includes: Medications like tricyclic antidepressants, migraine medications, NSAIDs, beta-blockers, heat/ice packs, massage therapy, meditation, relaxation techniques, acupuncture and biofeedback.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus Headaches

A patient experiences sinus headaches as a result of sinusitis. Causes are: Common cold, bacterial or fungal infection, weak immune system and structural problems with the nasal cavity. Symptoms are: Pain in the cheeks and forehead, pressure feeling in cheeks and forehead, worsening pain upon bending forward and lying down, nasal stuffiness, fever, throat soreness, cough, weakness, pain in the upper teeth and decreased ability to taste or smell. Treatment comprises of antibiotics to treat sinusitis, corticosteroid pills or nasal sprays, over-the-counter pain medications, decongestants and saline nasal spray. Surgery is done in case of structural abnormality in the nose.

Coital (Sex) Headache or Coital Cephalalgia

Coital (Sex) Headache or Coital Cephalalgia

These are rare types of headaches experienced after engaging in sexual activity, especially after an orgasm. Coital headaches are abrupt in onset and are quite painful. Cause of these headaches, as the name indicates, is any type of sexual activity. Other serious causes include: Intracranial aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, arterial dissection, using oral contraceptive pills, stroke and coronary artery disease (CAD). Symptoms comprises of a dull ache in the head and maybe even neck, neck stiffness, jaw tightening, dizziness, vomiting. Most of the times treatment is not required, as these headaches subside on their own. Medicines which are given include: Beta blockers and NSAIDs.

Thunderclap Headache

Thunderclap Headache

Thunderclap headache is a type of headache which occurs suddenly and catches the patient unawares. It is a very severe headache and reaches its max intensity in a minute. Causes include: Internal bleeding in the brain, ruptured blood vessel in the brain, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, brain tumor, internal bleeding in the pituitary gland, blood clot in the brain, hypertensive emergency, encephalitis or meningitis and stroke. Symptoms include: Sudden, excruciating headache which peaks in intensity in a minute. Thunderclap headache can be present for some hours to days and occurs in the head and neck region. To read more about symptoms, please refer to the left side menu under the section "Headache Information Center" under the subtopic "Thunderclap Headache." Treatment is done depending on the cause.

Vacuum Headache

Vacuum Headache

This headache occurs as a result of overlapping of nasal congestion with changes in the atmospheric pressure. This results in closure of the frontal sinuses thus creating a vacuum like effect in the rest of the sinus cavities, which in turn leads to vacuum headache. Causes for this include: altitude changes in conjunction with nasal blockage. Symptoms include pain in the sinuses, pressure sensation around the eyes and on the forehead and throbbing pain in the sinus cavities. Treatment comprises of using decongestants and cortisone injections.

Tension Headache

Tension Headache

Also known as muscle contraction headache, is a very common headache. It is felt as a tight band around the head. The cause is not known. It could occur due to increased stress, muscle tenderness, increased sensitivity to pain etc. Treatment comprises of medications such as OTC pain killers, narcotics, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants. Following a healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques also benefits a lot. To read more about Tension Headaches and their types and various treatment options, click on the topic Tension Headache on the left side menu for detailed information.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound Headaches

Also known as medication-overuse headaches are those headaches which a person experiences after frequent or prolonged use of headache medications. Cause is frequently using analgesics or other headache medications such as simple analgesics, combination analgesics, opiates, migraine medicines and caffeine. Rebound headache is present for hours and gets worsened upon physical or mental activities. There may be other symptoms such as neck pain, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, memory problems, nasal stuffiness, depression and insomnia. Treatment comprises of tapering off the medicines under your doctor's supervision and breaking the vicious cycle of rebound headaches. Preventative medications along with lifestyle modifications are beneficial in treating these headaches. Please refer to the left side menu under the topic "Rebound Headaches" to read in detail about the nature of these headaches and how to treat them.

Exertional Headache

Exertional Headache

Also known as exercise headaches, occur as a result of doing a strenuous activity such as playing tennis, exercising, jogging, running, swimming, weightlifting etc. There are 2 types of exertional headaches:

  • Primary Exertional Headaches
  • Secondary Exertional Headaches

Exertional headaches are throbbing in nature, occur on both sides, and may be accompanied by vomiting, loss of consciousness, neck stiffness and visual disturbances.

Diagnosis Can Be Made By The Following Investigations:

  • CT Scan
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
  • MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography)
  • CT Angiography.
  • Lumbar Puncture or Spinal Tap.

Treatment comprises of taking preventative medications, preventative measures and making lifestyle modifications.

Migraine

Migraine

This is one of the severest forms of headache and is often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, dizziness, pins and needles sensations and visual disturbances. Migraine can greatly affect a person's quality of life. Migraine can occur with or without 'aura.'

The 5 Stages Of Migraine Are:

  • Prodromal Stage
  • Aura Stage
  • Headache Stage
  • Resolution Stage
  • Postdromal Stage

To read more about these stages, please refer to our left side menu under the topic "Migraine."

Causes or triggers of migraine include: Changes in the serotonin levels, stress, lack of sleep, fasting, hormonal imbalances, certain odors, smoking, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, muscle spasm, chocolate consumption and use of certain medications. Migraine presents as an intense throbbing pain, worsened upon activity, vomiting, pallor, change in bowel habits, diarrhea. Treatment comprises of medications like painkillers, narcotics, NSAIDs, triptans, ergots. Relaxing techniques, biofeedback and meditation is also very beneficial.

To know more about migraine, please refer to our left side menu where we have an additional topic, which is a very interesting read "Migraine: Dietary Do's and Don'ts, Diet Plan, Lifestyle Changes, Home Remedies."

We also have a "Question and Answer" section about an individual who has severe headache and is not sure whether it's migraine or not.

Other Headache Topics Which Are Covered In This Section:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 5, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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