When Is A Headache Not Just A Headache?

Toby. March 14, 2022

Yes, you read that right. There is more to a headache than it simply being just a headache. In this blog, I’ll talk to you about the different headaches that you can get and explain the differences between them. It will help you to self-diagnose when you can feel that throbbing starting.

There are 5 main types of headache, plus the obvious teenage children/ young children/ awkward pet one! The symptoms and causes are really quite different, so this should help you work out the type of headache that you have. If you know the type of headache and the causes, then you can take the right steps to make sure that it doesn’t ruin your day!

  • Cervicogenic Headache – this is a type of headache which is caused by neck movements and your posture. It feels similar to a migraine but it is not as severe (easy to say when you don’t have a headache!) You usually get this on one side and it stays there. The pain is usually quite a dull ache and starts in the back of the neck and moves forward.
    When you have this type of headache, it can last anywhere from 1 hour to a week or so.
  • Migraine – this type of headache is 3 times more common among women than among men. The pain is usually around your temples in the front of the head or above the eyes.
    Nobody really knows what causes these headaches, as there are a few triggers that have been suggested, such as hormones, emotions (anxiety, stress, tension, depression, shock), physical triggers (fatigue, jet lag, tension, low blood sugar, poor posture, shift work), diet (missed or irregular meals, dehydration, alcohol, caffeine, some foods containing tyramine), environmental triggers (bright lights, flickering screens, smoking, loud noise) or medication.
    These headaches can range from moderate to severe and can last anywhere from 4-72 hours. The pain is usually throbbing or pulsating and it can make you feel sick and affect your vision.
  • Tension – another type of headache that is more common in women. This type of headache can be everywhere within your head and sometimes it feels that it fills your whole head! This can range from quite mild to moderate.
    The pain in your head can last sometimes for days or even longer. The cause can be staying in a stressed position for long periods of time or if you have weaker muscles and they spasm a lot. It can make you lose your appetite and also want to lie down in a darkened room.
  • Cluster Headache – a headache that is twice as common in men than among women. This often happens on one side of your head and the pain is usually located behind or above the eye or at the temples.
    Nobody really knows what causes this, but it is cyclic in nature, which means that it comes back at the same time of day/ week/ year. It could also be linked to stress or when the body clock is out of sync (such as shift working or poor sleep patterns).
    This type of headache can be fleeting and last anything from 15 minutes to 3 hours, but the pain can be excruciating.
  • Sinus Headache – another headache that affects women more than men. This can be found along the bridge of your nose, your cheeks and your forehead. It can range from moderate to severe.
    This is often caused at certain times of the year and can often be linked to allergies to pollen, pets or certain foods. The pain is constant and the pressure can often feel quite deep inside your head.
    You will often get a runny nose or red eyes, or be coughing and sneezing. It can often be mistaken for a migraine.

I hope that this has been useful and that you will now be able to tell which type of headache you have. If you have tension, then a good massage can often be a way to wind down and relieve some of the aches, pains and tensions that you have.

Our qualified Massage Therapists in Sittingbourne and Maidstone will always be on hand to help you relax!

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