Headaches

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Get to know more about your headache

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Nearly all of us have suffered from a headache at some point. However, the headache you experience may not be the same as someone else’s. Headaches are usually classified as either primary or secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are usually the result of an underlying illness. Most headaches experienced are usually primary headaches. The three most common types of primary headache are tension, migraine and cluster headaches. Each type of headache has its own pattern of pain and cause, so once you know what type of headache you have, the better you’ll be able to deal with it. 

THE THREE MAJOR TYPES OF PRIMARY HEADACHES: 

TENSION HEADACHE

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, affecting as many as 8 out of 10 people from time to time*.

What does it feel like?

Tension headaches generally feel like  a tight band  of pain around your head.

What causes them?

It might surprise you to learn that a source of tension headaches is strained muscles in the head and neck. When you are stressed or tired, the muscles in your head and neck can become sore and tender. When these muscles become strained, the pain travels up to your head and you feel it as a headache.

What triggers them?

There are a range of triggers for tension type headaches, such as; stress, poor posture, bright lights and loud noises. 

Tension

Migraine headaches

What does it feel like?

Migraines generally feel like a throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of your head. You may also experience nausea and sensitivity to light, and even get visual problems such as flashing lights or zigzag lines.

What causes them?

It’s not fully understood what causes a migraine, but temporary changes in chemicals in the brain may be a factor. Genetics may also play a role as some migraine sufferers also have a close relative with the condition.

What triggers them?

Migraines can be caused by a range of triggers like stress, tiredness, they can also be brought on by environmental factors such as bright lights, certain foods and hormone changes.

Migraine

Cluster headaches

What does it feel like?

Cluster headaches get their name because the attacks come in groups (one to three headaches every day, for several weeks or months) and often with little warning. The attacks are usually sudden and the pain felt is generally severe and felt behind your eye or sometimes on one side of your head.

What causes them?

It’s not known what causes cluster headaches But it’s thought the hypothalamus (the brain’s ‘biological clock) is believed to play a role by releasing chemicals which are responsible for cluster headaches.

What triggers them?

Some people have their cluster headaches triggered by certain factors, for example an extreme increase in temperature or strong-smelling substances.

Cluster

WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT MY HEADACHE?

Most headaches are minor and are not a sign of a more serious illness. However, you should see your doctor immediately if:

  • Your headache is the result of a head injury
  • You develop problems with your vision such as blurriness
  • Headache symptoms become severe
  • Headache is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, vomiting weakness, slurred speech or confusion.

For more information or if you are concerned please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

FAST RELIEF FOR HEADACHE PAIN

There are lots of ways to help relieve headache pain. Reducing stress and avoiding common headache triggers can help ease a headache. You can also try an over the counter pain killer such as Nurofen which contains ibuprofen, a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. For fast pain relief, Nurofen Express is absorbed up to twice as fast as standard ibuprofen tablets.

Nurofen is indicated for other body aches and pains and works on other parts of the body.

Nurofen Express 200mg and Nurofen Express Maximum Strength 400mg tablets contain ibuprofen (as sodium dihydrate)

*https://www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/headache-lo-res-_v3mpages.pdf