How to Recognize Various Types of Headaches

A severe headache can quickly derail your plans. There’s nothing worse than trying to deal with the pounding, throbbing sensation while trying to get through your day. Many people don’t know that a “headache” can actually take many forms.

Different types of headaches are caused by unique factors and likely need to be treated differently. Knowing the difference can help you understand what is happening and how you should seek relief.

What Are the Different Types of Headaches?

Most headaches aren’t anything more than an annoyance. They can be triggered by things like stress, dehydration, or can be a symptom of another medical issue. Knowing to spot the signs of different types of headaches can be difficult. However, there are key differences between them.

One of the most common types is the tension headache. It is typically caused by stress or muscle tightness. That’s something that many people can relate to. Most people report feeling the pain of a tension headache across the front of their head. Some say that it feels like a band is squeezing their head.

Another very common type of headache is caused by sinus issues. Sinus headaches typically affect the face, specifically the area around the eyes and nose. Everyone has hollow sinus cavities in their head which are located in these areas. When something like an infection or allergies causes drainage to build up in them, a sinus headache can result. This type of headache often comes with a throbbing sensation in the face and may also cause pounding in the ears.

In the United States, it is estimated that as many as 50 million people suffer from migraines. While they aren’t as common as the two types mentioned above, migraine headaches do occur frequently. They are also one of the most debilitating types of headache. Most people report that their migraine only affects one side of their head and results in a sharp, throbbing pain. During a migraine, many people are sensitive to light and sound as well.

A fourth type of headache is the cluster headache. This is the most painful type and generally results in shooting pain behind one eye. Some research suggests that cluster headaches may have a seasonal connection.

Headaches That Need Immediate Medical Care

While most headaches aren’t problematic from a medical standpoint, there are some exceptions. Certain types of headaches can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition and need to be assessed by a professional immediately.

A particularly concerning type of headache is one that comes on suddenly. Most benign headaches gradually build up in intensity. One that appears within minutes could be worth visiting the doctor to rule out something serious.

On top of this, headaches that come with additional symptoms (other than sinus symptoms) could warrant a visit. A severe headache accompanied by a stiff neck and fever could be a sign of meningitis—a life-threatening inflammation of the central nervous system. A headache that occurs with neurologic symptoms like confusion, slurred speech, or blurred vision could be a sign of a stroke. In either of these cases, it’s important to call 911 immediately or visit the nearest emergency department.

How to Get Rid of a Headache at Home

As discussed, headaches can be caused by a variety of factors. This means that treating them doesn’t always take the same approach. What works for a migraine might not do anything for a sinus infection, and vice-versa.

Still, some basic measures can be taken to treat a headache at home. Things like relaxing in a dark, quiet room, drinking plenty of water, and “sleeping it off” are enough to get rid of most headaches.

Speaking of sleep, that is one of the best ways to prevent headaches from occurring in the first place. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night—six to eight hours for adults—can prevent headaches.

Meanwhile, those who experience reoccurring headaches may want to consider keeping a headache journal. This may identify patterns and triggers that can help a healthcare provider get you better treatment.

Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help

If you are suffering from headaches, Velocity Urgent Care is here to help. Our friendly, board-certified providers will perform an assessment to determine what type of headaches you’re having and the best way to treat them. We can prescribe medications or refer you to a specialist to ensure that you get the care you need.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing.

Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment!

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is also an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.