What Kind Of Headache Do You Have?

Is it just a tension headache? Your sinuses? A migraine? Here's our handy guide on how to tell. Tension headache The scoop: This is by far the most common type of headache, affecting as many 90 percent of people at some point in their life. It�s caused by tightness in the muscles of the scalp and the back of the neck. Symptoms: Dull pressure or tightness in a band around the head, especially the forehead. Usually no other symptoms. Pain: Mild to moderate Triggers: Stress or fatigue Treatment: Taking some time to de-stress�deep breathing, napping, or meditation�might also help. Migraine The scoop: Often mistaken for a tension or sinus headache, a migraine is a neurological condition caused by an overreactive "switch" in the brain stem. Symptoms: Throbbing pain; sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells; nausea and vomiting; and other symptoms. Twenty percent of sufferers have aura�symptoms such as visual disturbances that precede the onset of pain. Pain: Moderate to severe Triggers: Stress, hormonal changes, weather changes, some foods Treatment: Stress relief, lifestyle changes Sinus headache The scoop: It's extremely uncommon; most people who think they have one actually have a migraine. "Almost half of people with migraines have runny or stuffy nose or teary eyes with their headaches," Dr. Tepper explains. Symptoms: Pain around the nose and eyes; runny nose, often accompanied by fever. Pain: Mild to severe Triggers: An acute sinus infection Treatment: pain relievers and sinus meds Cluster headache The scoop: Rare, it affects 0.1 percent of the people, more commonly men. Because it tends to occur at the same time every day, doctors suspect the hypothalamus�the part of the brain that controls the body clock�is involved. Symptoms: Intense, penetrating pain behind one eye that usually starts shortly after you fall asleep. They last an hour or two but come in clusters of one or two headaches a day over several weeks. Pain: Excruciating Triggers: Alcohol. Also more common in smokers. Treatment: Triptans and other medications are used to treat an attack once it's started.