“I have a terrific headache.”
The last words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
A headache, you’re thinking, has to be an easy problem to fix. You pop a few aspirin or a Tylenol. Your headache dissipates in 20 or 30 minutes. Simple
Not so fast.
A headache might have many causes, and shutting off the pain may not solve the problem. For example, a sinus infection can cause a headache. Some people experience headaches when they run a fever. In the case of President Roosevelt, the headache preceded a cerebral hemorrhage, a ruptured blood vessel in his brain.
For many people, headaches are a chronic condition. Roughly 38 million Americans suffer from regular bouts of migraine headaches. In a small percentage of those cases, the migraines occur daily. Migraines pain results in 25 million lost work and school days every year.
Migraine pain can be debilitating. Some people need to shut off nearly all outside stimulus, particularly light and sound. Dizziness and nausea may accompany the most serious migraines.
But migraine side effects don’t end with the obvious physical symptoms. For example, one-third of migraine sufferers reports experiencing some discrimination at work or school due to their condition. People who suffer from migraines are also three times as likely to suffer from depression.
Ever have a headache that wakes you up in the middle of the night? Many people experience intense pain behind one eye or on one side of the head. They often describe it as the worst pain they can remember. The headache doesn’t last as long as a migraine, but it comes back repeatedly over the course of weeks or months. These are called cluster headaches.
Cluster headaches are less common than migraines, but can be just as debilitating to a sufferer. Some people experience them as often as eight times a day during a cluster cycle. Cluster headaches involve the cranial nerves that run throughout your head, particularly the sensitive nerves the eyes. While anyone can suffer from cluster headaches, they are slightly more common in men than women, and you’re more likely to experience them if you are middle aged.
If you’ve had ever felt like the tissue around your skull was shrinking or like your brain wanted to pop out of your skull, you know the sensations of a tension headache. As bad as the description sounds, tension headaches are not usually as severe as cluster or migraine headaches. However, they can be far more common because they are most likely triggered by a force that affects just about everyone, stress.
Tension headaches occur more commonly in women than men and are more common in middle age.
Treating your headache requires recognizing the type of pain you experience. These descriptions may help. However, you should consult a healthcare professional if you experience any head pain regularly, or if the pain interferes with regular activities at home or work.
Once you know what you’re dealing with, visit our headache pain page. We offer a variety of products capable of mitigating both the symptoms and the causes of your headache problem.