Below is a list of the main types of headaches. Remember that in categorizing the different types of headaches they may share some symptoms.
Tension headaches (also referred to as "stress headaches")
Probably the most common headache today. Muscle contraction is the main contributor to this type of headache. Because of the way we hold our body when under stress, oxygen and blood flow is impeded into the muscles that contribute to headaches. There are many ways to prevent tension headaches but being aware of when you are starting to feel an overwhelming amount of stress is your first step.
Recent studies suggest that migraines may actually stem from tension and have similar symptoms, at the beginning, of other headaches. However, they are considered to be vascular in nature, which means there is too much blood flow into the head, which is the opposite of most headaches. The symptoms may include: severe throbbing pain accompanied with nausea, vomiting, cold hands and feet, sensitivity to sound and light, dizziness, tremor, hallucinations, visual disturbances, smelling of strange odors and numbness of arm or leg.
These are brought about by hormonal disturbances in the body, which may come at a distinct time. The symptoms are usually similar to those of a migraine headache but will dissipate, at times when hormone levels change usually on their own.
Brought about by a blocked flow of sinus drainage, these headaches may be the result of sinus infection, which is mostly felt in the face, especially the nasal area. You may experience fever, as well.
Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) headaches
A lot of times these headaches occur after an accident, especially when there is whiplash involved. This is mostly because one of the main headache muscles (sternocleidomastoid) becomes hypertonic, or tightened. The first thing to do if you feel you have this type of headache is to check with your dentist because he/she will be able to assess why you are experiencing this type of pain. Sometimes having a bite plate made for you will help.
These headaches are probably the most rare and most painful of all headaches. The symptoms are excruciating pain mostly behind the eye, typically on one side of the face, with watery eyes, flushing of the face and nose congestion. Pain may last for several hours and attacks may occur every day for weeks or months, and then disappear for up to a year. Most sufferers are male.
Unfortunately these headaches may be brought on by the very medications that were prescribed to reduce them! The symptoms include throbbing generalized pain and sometimes jolts of pain. They can feel similar to a migraine with anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, nausea and mood swings. Most discomfort is felt after periods of not taking medications, for instance when one first wakes up or intentionally tries to stop taking them.
Headache sufferers can all benefit from a variety of natural treatments. Using range of motion stretches, massaging certain muscles, acupressure, hot and cold application and aromatherapy can all be beneficial in learning to manage your headaches on your own.
Regardless of what type(s) of headache you experience the feeling of empowering yourself over your headaches will contribute to a better life for you so hopefully you will become "Headache Free…Naturally."
Jean Olsen is a licensed massage therapist (since 1995) and certified neuromuscular therapist. Her website, www.achyhead.com offers unique, natural alternatives for headache sufferers. Apply her techniques and become "Headache Free…Naturally." In Jean's own words, "Helping people help themselves has always been my passion."© 2012 Jean Olsen
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