A headache is ache or pain located in the head, scalp, or neck. Everyone has headaches young or older. Most headaches are caused by things that you can change. You may find that if you learn to relax and reduce your learned response to stress you will feel better. You also can sometimes reduce the number of headaches you get by making some life style changes. Headaches seldom have a serious or life threatening cause.

Tension headache

The most common kind of headache is a tension headache. They are triggered by stress and can be of short duration or last several days. They often come back the next time your stress level gets out of hand.

A tension headache is often felt on both sides of your head. You will first notice the headache at the back of your head, and then the pain will move forward encircling your skull in a squeezing band. If you think about how you’re feeling when you have a tension headache, you will realize that the muscles in your shoulders and neck are tightly contracted. You may also notice these areas, as well as, your jaw feel sore.

This is not surprising since stress is one of the triggers for tension headaches, and these areas are the places where most people carry their stress. In fact for many years, it was believed the tightening of the muscles in these areas were the cause. However, new studies suggest that the cause is chemical changes in the brain. Depression and anxiety are also known to be triggers for tension headaches.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are a less common type of headache. They occur on one side of the head and involve a sharp level of pain. You may also have running, teary eyes and/or a stuffy nose with a cluster headache. You can get a cluster headache several times a day or, your cluster headache can happen every day at the same time. Either way, this type of headache seems to drag on for weeks or months then, disappears for roughly the same amount of time.

Certain lifestyle situations can make you more likely to develop a cluster headache like skipping meals, overworking, and not sleeping enough. Alcohol or recreational drug use may trigger headaches. Heavy caffeine drinkers can develop headaches when they consume less than the amount they are accustomed to drinking. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) a food preservative, cheese, and chocolate are known headache triggers.

Sinus headache

Sinus headaches are experienced as a throbbing type of pain in your forehead and other parts of your face. The headache is a result of inflammation and congestion in your sinuses which are the four air cavities behind the bones in your face. This is known as sinusitis and often is cause by a cold or allergies. The symptoms of a respiratory infection, sore throat, nasal discharge and post nasal drip are usually present.

All four sinus cavities have an opening into the nose. This allows air and mucus to flow in and out for drainage. Each sinus is also joined to the nose by the same mucus membrane.

Your nasal and sinus passages are very narrow. If the mucus membranes become swollen, they overproduce mucus. Too much mucus fills in the narrow passageways of your sinus cavities and may completely block them. The cilia, microscopic hairs that move the mucus, may also become overwhelmed by the increased amount of mucus and be unable to keep it moving normally. When either of these two things happen, pressure builds up inside your sinuses causing pain. The bacteria within the mucus can multiply and become infected resulting in sinusitis.

Exposure to cold damp air and bending over often worsens the pain of a sinus headache. These headaches quite often appear in the morning. The pain gradually ebbs through the course of your day and can be completely gone by the afternoon.

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