While not usually life-threatening, headaches rank as one of the most annoying health problems that we face today. Most headaches fall into one of three categories: tension, migraine or sinus.
Tension headaches are the most common form of headaches (90 percent). They can be triggered by a number of causes, but most often psychological factors are the cause. The pain of tension headaches are usually dull and diffuse, involving the entire head.
Simple analgesics like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may not be effective in curing a headache and relieving the pain due to the anxiety and tension, and then prescription drugs like Valium and Xanax can be used for the anxiety, and drugs like Flexeril, Parafon or Robaxin may be used to relax the muscles.
Migraines or vascular headaches are caused by a swelling of blood vessels in the head. In most cases, a migraine is a throbbing, recurrent and severe headache that is limited to just one side of the head. It may be accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting.
People with a history of migraine headaches many times have warning signals that one is coming. These warnings are usually visual and might include blind spots, the appearance of flashing shapes or a sensitivity to light. An attack may last for hours or as long as days, and the pain may spread to both sides of the head. Because migraines can he diagnosed rather easily, the treatment can be specific and you can usually cure a headache immediately.
Physicians often prescribe drugs like Midrin, Ergomar, Cafergot and Sansert to cure this type of headache. These drugs are powerful and patients need to be monitored during therapy.
Sinus headaches occur as a result of an infection or some other cause of inflammation and congestion of the sinus cavities. These spaces are located in the front of the head around the eyes, nose and cheeks. Pain is usually described as a constant, dull ache.
Fever may be present as it is caused by an infection in most cases. Infection should be treated with antibiotics and if left untreated, sinus headache infections could lead to serious problems, much more serious than the original headache.
One final word. Don’t try to diagnose and cure a headache if they are recurrent and severe. Your physician and pharmacist are trained to help you, but you must communicate with them about your problem.