Headaches are among the most common reasons why people find themselves seeking relief from pain. You may be surprised to learn that some headaches affect not just the skull, but also the face and neck. Headaches range from mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful and debilitating. If a headache is so intense that it is interrupting your ability to function normally, or if headaches have increased in frequency or severity, it’s time to seek professional help.

What Happens in the Body that Results in a Headache?

A headache occurs when the nerves surrounding the brain and skull are activated. The skull and brain are surrounded by protective tissues, muscles, and blood vessels – all of which do have an extensive network of nerves. The pain radiates from the nerves surrounding the brain and the skull. The bones of the skull and tissues in the brain are not technically the source of headache pain because they do not have nerves sensitive to pain.

    Types of Headaches

    Just as there are various causes of headaches, there are various types of headaches.

    Tension Headaches

    Also known as a “stress headache”, a tension headache is the most common type. Tension headaches can be caused by a tightening of the shoulder, neck, scalp, or jaw muscles. Poor posture, stress, and lack of sufficient sleep can also lead to tension headaches. Patients often feel a “band tightening” around their skull.

    Sinus Headaches

    True sinus headaches are actually rare. They’re often caused by a sinus infection characterized by thick, discolored nasal discharge, diminished ability to smell, facial pain, pressure, or fever. If your headache pain is concentrated behind the brow bone and/or cheekbones, this is probably a sinus headache.

    Cluster Headaches

    Cluster headaches are among the most painful headaches (many patients describe the pain as feeling like a drilling sensation). While they usually don’t last very long, they often recur daily over a period of weeks or months. If your headache pain is sharp and isolated in and around one eye, this is probably a cluster headache.

    Migraine Headaches

    Often misdiagnosed by patients as sinus headaches, migraines are the most serious type of headache and surprisingly common. Migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world and most common in people between ages 25 and 55. If your headache pain is severe and accompanied by nausea and disruptions in your vision, known as an aura, this is probably a migraine headache.

    CAUSE OF HEADACHES

    There are myriad reasons why you may develop a headache, ranging from the relatively benign to the very serious. Examples of reasons you may develop a headache include:

    • A blow to the head of some kind
    • Overindulging in alcohol or caffeine
    • Skipping meals
    • Being subjected to loud noise for an extended period of time
    • Dehydration
    • Stress
    • Muscle strains
    • Anxiety
    • Sinus problems
    • Concussion
    • High blood pressure
    • Stroke
    • Brain tumors
    • Various diseases or illnesses

    How to Avoid Headaches

    It’s possible to prevent some, but not all, headaches. Simple things you can do at home to avoid headaches include eating regularly, getting enough sleep, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake, and avoiding upsetting situations. Many headaches are triggered by stress, which can cause your body to tense up. Unfortunately, many other headaches can’t be avoided. Migraines, for example, are often hereditary. Sinus headaches are an unavoidable side effect of sinus infections.

    Get Treatment for Head Pain

    If you’re experiencing headaches that are causing pain that exceeds nuisance pain, or headaches that are becoming more frequent or severe, it’s important to be evaluated by a reputable medical professional. Request an appointment with a Space City Pain Specialist for evaluation and headache relief.