Common types of headaches that you may encounter

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Tension headaches usually affect both sides of your head, not just one spot. The pain and tension will begin at the back of your head and spreads forward. The pain may feel dull or a squeezing feeing like a rubber band has been placed over your head. The muscle tension often begins in your shoulders, neck, or jaw before spreading to your head. Your neck, jaw, shoulders and head will all feel tight and uncomfortable. The pain is normally dull and achy, not sharp. Tension headaches are often the result of stress, fatigue, issues of holding your head in one position too long or sleeping in an abnormal position.

Cluster headaches are a rare kind of headache where the pain is sharp and extremely painful. They tend to occur several times a day for months (hence the name ‘cluster’) and then go away for about the same amount of time they were there.  You can expect cluster headaches to visit you again.

 Sinus headaches cause pain and tenderness in the front of your head and face. This is because inflammation in the sinus passages that lie behind the cheeks, nose, and eyes causes you pain. The pain will be worse when you bend forward and first thing in the morning when you get up. Postnasal drip, sore throat, and a runny nose will accompany these headaches.

Migraine headaches are ones that are extremely painful and interfere with your daily activities.    They are usually accompanied by other symptoms like visual disturbances or nausea. They tend to begin on one side of your head, although the pain may spread to both sides. Before the painful throbbing headache begins, you may have an aura.  An aura is a visual disturbance which can include blurry vision, flashing lights, zig zaggy lights, or perceiving that chunks of your vision are missing. Migraines can make you photosensitive, sensitive to movement and sick to your stomach.

Anyone over the age of 50 who is having headaches for the first time should be aware of a condition called temporal arteritis.  In this condition your vision becomes impaired and you have pain when chewing. This can lead to blindness so you should seek medical attention immediately.

Other more rare causes of headaches include brain aneurysm, stroke, brain infections or TIA’s.

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