13 types of headache, identify which one you have


13 types of headache, identify which one you have

Headache is very common and for different causes, fortunately, it is rarely related to serious ailments, but as the cause of headache varies, so do its manifestations. Know the types of headache and identify which one you have.

Who hasn't had a headache? Whether it's a cold, not sleeping well, or having a lot of work, anxiety headache, pulsating headache, it can become a nightmare... not to mention the migraine, which is capable of stopping your day

What are the causes of pain?

The sensation of pain is usually caused by injuries to tissues that trigger the cells known as nociceptors. These receptors capture mechanical, thermal, and chemical signals that indicate possible damage to the body.

However, neither the damage to the cells nor the reaction of the nociceptors is direct causes of the sensation of pain, but it is largely influenced by non-biological variables such as experience or emotion.

When it reaches the nervous system, nociceptive stimulation joins our thoughts, memories, and feelings before the pain occurs. Thus, the final sensation depends on both external factors and our own mind.

Headache in particular is often influenced by factors such as muscle tension, vascular problems, or the body's idiosyncratic response to stress, certain substances, or medical disorders. However, the causes and characteristics of headaches depend largely on the specific type to which we refer.

Primary headaches

According to the International Classification of Headaches, there are more than 150 types of headaches that can be divided into three main categories: primary, secondary, and other types of headaches.

Unlike secondary headaches, primary headaches occur in the absence of physical disorder, so they are not dangerous.

1. Tension headache

Tension-type headaches are the most common of all. These headaches are caused by muscle tension; this can be due to stress or physical causes, such as intense and continuous contraction of the neck or jaw muscles.

This type of headache usually manifests itself as constant tension or pressure on both sides of the head. In the most intense cases even touching the affected muscles can cause pain.

Tension headaches usually cause milder pain and are therefore less disabling than migraines and other types of headaches, but there is a high risk that episodic tension headache will become chronic, with attacks occurring all or almost every day.

2. Migraine

Migraines are headaches caused by the activation of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Some experts also attribute them to the narrowing of brain blood vessels, which would cause blood and oxygen not to reach the brain properly. However, the vascular hypothesis of migraine has lost support in the recent past.

This type of headache produces more intense pain than most tension headaches. The migraines usually consist of sensations similar to punctures or pulsations in one of the sides of the head.

The stimuli that trigger viral migraine vary greatly depending on the person: it may be due to stress, effort, lack of sleep, intense lighting, consumption of certain foods...

We distinguish between migraines with aura and migraines without aura. Migraines without aura are the most frequent and appear suddenly, while migraines with aura are preceded by visual, sensory, linguistic, and motor symptoms.

3. Trigeminal-autonomic headache

The trigeminal nerve receives the sensations captured by many muscles in the head, such as those in the face, eyes, mouth, or jaw. Headaches that primarily involve the reflex action of the trigeminal are known as "trigeminal-autonomic". In addition, they confirm one of the most painful types of headaches and difficult to manage, since they do not have as much to do with the circulation as with certain alterations in the nerve.

The symptoms of this type of headaches are very similar to those of migraines, so they usually affect only half of the head and consist of pulsating pain. Nevertheless, the intensity of the pain is greater than the one of the migraines.

Trigeminal-autonomic headache includes syndromes such as cluster headache, a very painful type of headache that affects the eye and temple region and is associated with symptoms such as nasal congestion, tearing, and facial sweating.

4. Cough headache

Although it is uncommon in the general population, headache while coughing occurs in a significant proportion of people who go to the doctor as a result of severe coughing.

5. By physical effort

Those in which the symptoms are not due to any intracranial cause, but simply to the practice of very intense exercise, are classified as "headache by physical effort". Abnormal blood flow can cause parts of the nervous system to suffer

It occurs more frequently in places where it is very hot or at a high altitude, and the pain it causes is usually of a pulsatile type.

On the other hand, performing a task that requires a constant effort of the same type can cause this symptom to appear, which is a way of warning that we should stop as soon as possible.

6. By sexual relation

The primary headache associated with sexual activity is attributed to the loss of cerebrospinal fluid that causes a drop in intracranial pressure. The pain occurs on both sides of the head and intensifies as the person becomes aroused, reaching its peak when the person reaches orgasm.

This is a problem that has to do with attention management, difficulties in relaxing, and continuous physical effort.

7. Headache viral fever

A bad headache accompanied by fever can be worrisome. It could indicate an infection of the brain (such as meningitis) or a warning sign of encephalitis. Especially if, in addition to a fever, it is accompanied by an altered mental state (such as not being able to remember your family or acting strangely)

8. Hypnic headache

Wake-up" headaches appear only during sleep, causing the person to wake up. It normally affects people over 50 and tends to be persistent. They share some characteristics with the migraine, like the sensation of nausea.

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches result from conditions, such as vascular disorders or brain injury, that are symptomatic of pain and may require specific treatment depending on the underlying cause.

1. By trauma

Blows to the skull or neck, such as those produced by traffic accidents, can cause temporary or chronic headaches (if they last more than three months since the trauma).

Not only can blows cause traumatic headaches, but these can also be due to other causes, such as explosions and the presence of foreign bodies in the head.

In general, these headaches appear together with other symptoms caused by the same trauma, such as problems with concentration or memory, dizziness, and fatigue.

2. For vascular disorder

This type of headache is the result of cerebrovascular problems such as ischemic stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, aneurysm, or congenital arteriovenous malformation. In these cases, the headache is usually less relevant than other consequences of the vascular accident.

3. For substance use or abstinence

Abusive use or inhalation of substances such as alcohol, cocaine, carbon monoxide, or nitric oxide can also cause and aggravate headaches. Also, the suppression of substances that are consumed on a regular basis, as can happen with alcohol and drugs, is another common cause of headache.

4. infection headache

Some common causes of this type of headache are bacterial or viral headache and encephalitis, parasitosis, and systemic infections. Although in most cases the headache disappears once the infection has been cured, on some occasions it can persist.

5. For mental disorder

Sometimes headaches are categorized as secondary to psychiatric disorders if there is a temporal and causal relationship between both phenomena. Nevertheless, in these cases, the pain seems to have a psychogenic origin more than biological.

In this sense, the International Classification of Headaches gives special importance to psychotic disorders and somatization, consisting of the presence of physical symptoms in the absence of identifiable medical pathology.