head discomfort

A headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck. Serious causes of headaches are very rare. Most people with headaches can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, and sometimes by taking medications.

Causes and Types of Headaches

  • Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are caused by tightness in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw muscles. These headaches can be related to stress, depression, anxiety, head injury, or abnormal positioning of your head and Tension headaches tend to encompass your whole head and the often start from the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may vary from dull to squeezing pain with your shoulders, neck, or jaw also feeling tight or sore.
  • Migraine headaches are severe headaches that usually occur with other symptoms such as vision changes or nausea. The pain may be throbbing, pounding, or pulsating. It tends to begin on one side of your head, and may spread to both sides. The pain typically gets increases as movement increases. These headaches may be triggered by foods such as chocolate, certain cheeses, or MSG. Caffeine withdrawal, lack of sleep, and alcohol may also trigger these types of headaches.
  • Rebound headaches are headaches that keep coming back -- may occur from overuse of painkillers. These may also be called medication overuse headaches. Patients who take pain medication more than 3 days a week on a regular basis can develop this type of headache.
  • Cluster headaches are sharp, very painful headaches that tend to occur several times a day for months and then go away for a similar period of time.
  • Sinus headaches cause pain in the front of your head and face. They are due to swelling in the sinus passages behind the cheeks, nose, and eyes. The pain tends to be worse when you bend forward and when you first wake up in the morning.

**Headaches may occur if you have a cold, the flu, a fever, or premenstrual syndrome.