Headaches: Causes, Types, and Treatment

Headaches: Causes, Types, and Treatment

Headaches, especially migraine and tension, can be debilitating for anybody, especially teenagers. In the past, I struggled with migraine and sinus headaches for over a year and tried numerous treatments. I finally discovered that taking an allergy pill every morning was what would help. Now I get far fewer headaches than before! There are many causes of headaches! Did you know that citrus fruits can cause headaches? They can, and so can cheese and chocolate!

Headaches can be a frustrating thing to deal with, whether frequent or just one time. This article will detail the causes, types, and treatment of headaches.


Causes of Headaches

Headaches can have many causes, like environmental factors, stress, and certain foods and drinks.

Environment

There are many environmental causes of headaches, such as smells and toxins. These can include:

  • Allergens
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Strong odours from cleaners or perfumes
  • Lighting
  • Weather

Diet

Many foods and drinks can cause different types of headaches. Common dietary elements that can cause headaches include:

  • Cheese, especially aged ones, like brie, cheddar, fetta, mozzarella, parmesan, and swiss
  • Peanuts, almonds, and other nuts and seeds
  • Tomato-based products, like pizza and salsa
  • Most beans
  • Garlic and onions
  • Certain fresh fruits like ripe bananas, citrus, raspberries, papaya, kiwi, and pineapple
  • Dried fruits
  • Cultured dairy (sour cream, buttermilk, and yogurt)
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and soda
  • Aspartame (the main ingredient in diet soda) and other artificial sweeteners
  • Foods with nitrates and nitrites, like hot dogs, bacon, sausage, lunch/deli meats, pepperoni, and other cured or processed meats

A way to find out if foods cause your headache(s) is to make a daily headache log. You can use it to track the foods and drinks you consume and connect the days you have headaches with the days you eat certain foods.

Other Causes

There are many other headache causes besides your environment and diet. These can include:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep the previous night
  • Skipping or eating a meal at a different time than usual
  • Family history
  • Overuse of pain medication
  • Sinus congestion
  • Dehydration

I hope this list helped you understand the array of possible headache causes.


Summary:

Headaches can be difficult to deal with and have many possible causes, including environment, diet, stress, and sleep.


What Are The Different Types of Headaches?

There are many different types of headaches. These include tension, migraine, and cluster. Many more types of headaches and headache-like conditions exist, but I will only cover these three.

Tension

Tension headaches, also known as stress headaches, come with mild to moderate pain and usually feel like a tight band around the head. They happen when the muscles in your face and neck tense or contract. Tension headaches are slightly more common in women and tend to run in families.

Cluster

Cluster headaches are headaches that occur in clusters or patterns. The pain tends to be severe on one side of the head, usually around the eye.

Migraine

Migraines are very complicated and are referred to as their own condition by many doctors instead of just a headache because of how many other symptoms they can cause.

A migraine is a severe headache, usually on one side of the head at a time. They often come with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. The pain of a migraine usually feels throbbing or pulsing. Migraines sometimes also cause muscle pain in the neck and face, dizziness, lightheadedness, distorted vision, and malaise.

Migraine headaches can sometimes cause auras. Auras are temporary disturbances, usually visually in the form of flashing lights or blind spots, in the time leading up to a migraine. Auras can also be signified by tingling in your hands or face.


Summary:

There are many different types of headaches. They can all have many different causes and treatments, from food to air quality and sleep to medication.


Treatment for Headaches

Treatment for headaches can be just as complex as the symptoms! I will discuss treatment options for the three types of headaches mentioned in the previous section.

Tension Headache Treatments

Treatment for tension headaches includes:

  • NSAIDS like ibuprofen,
  • Ice packs
  • Physical exercise
  • Stress management
  • Dealing with the source of your stress, psychological or muscle. An example of muscle stress is wearing a hat.

Cluster Headache Treatments

Cluster headaches can be hard to deal with because of the level of pain that they bring. Treatment options for cluster headaches can include:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Triptans (Triptans are medications that treat the pain and symptoms of migraine and cluster headaches.)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Steroids like Prednisone
  • Nerve blocking medications

Migraine Headache Treatments

Migraine treatments can include:

  • Improving sleep (Check out this article to learn how to improve your sleep.)
  • Avoiding triggers like certain foods and caffeine
  • Caffeine (It can trigger headaches for some people but improve them for others.)
  • Triptans
  • NSAIDS like ibuprofen
  • Botox injections
  • Certain vitamins

Summary:

There is hope for people with severe headaches. If you or somebody you know is dealing with migraine, tension, or cluster headaches, there are many options for treatment. They can range from medication to improving sleep.


Conclusion

Headaches can be difficult and painful to endure for everybody, whether you get them daily or monthly. I hope the information I have written in this article helps you deal with any possible headaches.