Headaches are one of the most common health problems that medical practitioners treat.
Nine out of ten people in the world experience them on a yearly basis, and they can range from moderate to severe. While most people automatically attribute a severe headache to being a “migraine”, that’s actually not always true.
A migraine is simply one of the three common types of headaches; there are specific criteria required to identify a headache as a migraine; and all three common types of headaches can vary in severity.
The three types of headaches are:
1. Tension headache: Very common type of headache. It will mostly present as a dull, constant pain felt on both sides of the head. Symptoms might include a tenderness on the face, head, neck, and shoulders; sensitivity to light and sound; as well as pressure behind the eyes. Usually lasts 30 minutes up to sever hours.
2. Cervicogenic headache: a chronic headache that develops from the neck (atlanto-occipital and upper cervical joints) and feels the pain on the head and face one or more than one area. This type of headache is a secondary headache, which is often misdiagnosed due to their clinical presentation is complex and similar with the primary headache
3. Migraine headache: This almost always presents as very intense throbbing pain, usually on just one side of the head. Symptoms may also include seeing spots, flickering lights, partial loss of vision, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea. A Migraine attack may last between 4 hours up to 3 days at a time.
When Is It Time To See a Professional?
While most headaches subside in the span of a few hours, depending on the severity, it might be best to get a professional opinion. Take note of the following:
- Vision loss or impairment
- Confusion, dizziness, or fever
- Shortness of breath
- Slurred speech
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Symptoms that only gets worse with time or won’t stop