Headaches: Causes, Types, treatments and preventions.

Headaches: Causes, Types, treatments and preventions.

Headache is one thing that we all have experienced, it can be very annoying and excruciating. Most times, they are usually nothing to worry about. Depending on the type of headache you have, you can present with various symptoms that might require you to see a doctor. The brain does not feel pain ( it lacks pain receptors). Other areas around the head and neck have this receptor so they can easily sense pain (areas like blood vessels and muscles of the head and neck).

Some of the causes of headaches include:

  1. Stress: Lack of sleep and adequate rest, depression, work overload, poor posture, relationships.
  2. Illnesses: Infections (meningitis), fever, colds, ear, brain tumor and sinus infections.
  3. Trauma: Accidents, blow on the head and injury to head and neck leading to bleeding into the brain.
  4. Environmental: Inhalation of toxins such as smoke, chemicals such as perfumes, nail polish and nail polish removers, dehydration, allergies, noise, food, bright lights, etc.
  5. Compression of the head: By a tight cap, scarf or helmet
  6. Others like a brain tumor, genetic disorders, auto-immune disorders, caffeine etc

Types Of Headache

  1. Primary Headaches

A. Migraine headache: This is usually described as a pounding headache. You might have felt it before. It can last between 4 hours to 3days, often on one side of the face. People with this kind of headache may also present with symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, and sound; nausea and vomiting, dizziness, blurry vision. Migraine usually presents with a symptom known as aura just before it starts. Auras include flashing light, zig-zag lines, stars, tingling sensation in one side of the face and arm, etc. but it occurs only in a few people. Migraine headaches can run in the family but it occurs mostly in women. It can be improved by lifestyle change, although people require medication to control the pain.

Treatment includes:

  • over the counter medications such as ibuprofen. aspirin and paracetamol;
  • prescription medications (triptans) such as sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan ( Zomig)

B. Tension headache: This is a mild to moderate type of headache occurring on both sides of the face and usually presents like a band-like tightness causing pain around the forehead. It is the most common type of headache. The pain is constant and can last between 4-6hrs. They do not have any other symptoms.

Treatment: It is treated mostly with over-the-counter medications. Examples include:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol)

C. Cluster Headaches: This is the most severe. It is usually one-sided and concentrates on one eye causing a very intense stabbing pain around the eye. It can lead to tearing and redness of the eye on the side of the pain. It can also cause a runny and stuffy nose and it is mostly seen in men.


  • Oxygen
  • Prescription medications (eg. triptans) such as sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig).
  • Dihydroergotamin

D. Sinus headache: It causes a deep pain around the forehead and bridge of the nose. It is usually due to infections. Mucous from the nose tends to be greenish or yellowish unlike those from other types of headaches that are clear. It can present with a runny nose, fever, and ear fullness.

E. Hormonal headache: This can occur due to changes in hormonal levels usually due to low estrogen levels in women. An example can be at the beginning of menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Also, it can occur from taking hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills.

allergy, medical, allergic

2. Secondary types:

This is usually from another cause that triggers sensitive areas in the head and neck to produce pain. It is more serious than a primary headache. It can be triggered by other underlying conditions such as those listed in the causes of headaches (Above).

Some of the general preventative measures include:

  1. Get an adequate amount of sleep
  2. Reduce stress
  3. Proper Hydration
  4. Avoid triggers like light, loud noises, caffeine, tight caps, and headbands (dark quiet room)
  5. Regular massage

Knowing the exact type of headache before initiating treatment will help in proper management.

Emergency cases are:

  • headaches after an accident or injury
  • headaches that get worse despite treatment
  • A very severe headache, the worse headache you have ever felt

These symptoms might accompany a severe condition, so see your doctor immediately and get adequate treatmen

(16) Comments

  1. Tochi says:

    Nice one

    1. judith_kanu says:

      thankyou dear

  2. Jamez says:

    Thanks doc

    1. judith_kanu says:

      You are welcome🤗

  3. Was helpful …thank u

    1. judith_kanu says:

      Thankyou for reading🤗😘

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nice article

    1. judith_kanu says:


  5. Amarachi says:

    Nice article

    1. judith_kanu says:

      Thanks dear😍

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very helpful.

    1. judith_kanu says:

      I’m glad i could help🤗

  7. Kanu chika says:

    Thanks Judy more grace

    1. judith_kanu says:

      You welcome🥰🤗

  8. King says:

    Great lesson. Thanks

    1. judith_kanu says:

      i’m glad to have you.

Comments are closed.