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While nearly everyone has experienced a headache at least once, you may be someone who suffers from more severe and/or frequent versions of headaches. If you do, you'll be able to find compassionate care from HonorHealth.
Primary headaches occur due to the headache itself — not another condition. The three types of primary headaches are tension, cluster and migraine headaches.
The most common type of headache is the tension headache. You'll feel squeezing and/or dull pressure on both sides of the head. Your symptoms can be mild to severe, but activity does not make the headache any worse.
You can experience a tension headache as a chronic condition (15-plus days a month) or episodic (fewer than 15 days a month).
Although doctors aren't sure what causes tension headaches, stress is believed to be a factor.
Treatment options include pain relievers or hot showers and compresses on your neck. For chronic headaches, your doctor may prescribe medication.
A cluster headache refers to the centralized location of a headache, not a group of headaches that happen around the same time.
Pain from a cluster headache is typically focused on one side of the face, around and behind one eye. This pain can be severe, so much so that many people feel the need to pace to relieve the pain. You may also experience a drooping eyelid, watering from your eye or a runny nose on the same side of the face you're experiencing the headache.
Cluster headaches are rare, affecting one in 1,000 people. Cluster headaches are more common in men and in smokers.
Over-the-counter pain relievers typically do not stop a cluster headache.
Your doctor will work with you to help you create a treatment plan, which may include:
Migraine is a neurological disease defined by periodic intense head pain that can be accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. These additional symptoms make migraine headaches very different from non-migraine headaches. A typical non-migraine headache occurs on both sides of the head; a migraine headache often occurs on only one side.
Phase 1, prodrome: This phase is sometimes called preheadache or premonitory phase. Its symptoms include aphasia, or difficulty speaking; excessive yawning; tiredness; difficulty concentrating; constipation or diarrhea; increased urination; mood changes; and neck pain. This phase can last for up to two days or as little as two hours before the next phase begins.
Phase 2, aura: Only about 25 percent of migraine sufferers experience this phase. Symptoms can include visual disturbances; hypersensitivity to touch, difficulty speaking, hearing imaginary sounds, loss of hearing, confusion, dizziness, and numbness or tingling.
Phase 3, headache: This is most often the worst phase of migraines. Symptoms include one-sided headache that can pulse or throb. It's made worse by physical activity and lasts up to 72 hours. The pain can shift from one side to the other, become noticeable on both sides, or start out on both sides and stay that way throughout the episode.
Additional symptoms include:
Phase 4, postdrome: After the headache phase passes, many people experience fatigue, moodiness and reduced ability to concentrate.
Your HonorHealth neurologist will:
Your treatment could include: