Getting a throbbing or pounding pain in your head is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Naturally, you will wonder what type of headache you are dealing with. Could it be a tension headache, migraine, or something else entirely? And will the usual ibuprofen or paracetamol help with the pain?
The International Headache Society states that people can experience up to 150 headache categories. Thankfully, you can identify which kind is likely causing that pounding in your head by noting where they occur. This lets you determine what may have caused it and the treatments that can relieve the pain.
The different kinds of headaches and their locations
The location of your headache can provide you with key information about the type of headache you are experiencing. The most common headaches people experience include:
- Sinus headache
These headaches affect the entire face as well as the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, behind the eyes, and forehead.
- Tension headache and new daily persistent headache (NDPH)
The pain for these headaches typically comes from both sides of the head, but tension headaches can also form as a band around it.
- Migraine headache and cluster headache
Migraines and cluster headaches generally only affect one side of the head, the only difference being that the latter specifically comes from around or inside the eye.
Below, we go over in more detail about these common headaches and their best treatment options.
A sinus infection, allergy, and common cold cause a mucus buildup, resulting in a sinus headache. Pain generally spans across the entire face and is accompanied by a dull ache from the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, behind the eyes, and forehead.
Treating a sinus headache starts with curing its underlying cause. You will need antibiotics or antifungal medicine if the infection results from a bacteria or fungus. Antihistamines are the best solution for allergy-related symptoms, while decongestants can remedy common colds to reduce swelling in your sinuses.
There are many potential causes for tension headaches, including fatigue, temporary stress, and lack of sleep. This condition is associated with non-throbbing mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head that starts from the back of the head and neck, temples, or forehead. It can also feel like a band is compressing your skull. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen are often enough to alleviate the pain.
It is yet to be confirmed what causes NDPH, but medical experts believe there may be an underlying inflammatory process behind it. NDPH commonly starts out of the blue, brings mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head, and lasts for weeks or months.
Most medications are ineffective at relieving this type of headache, so it is important to get an online medical consultation to rule out any secondary causes like brain tumours, infections, or vascular issues. For example, people with COVID-19 may develop NDPH and need behavioural and medical management to treat its symptoms.
Migraines occur due to changes in the chemical and blood vessel activity in the brain, which can be triggered by various factors such as hormones, weather changes, and certain foods. Migraine headaches can range from mild to severe, accompanied by throbbing and pounding on one side of the head. Over-the-counter medication can help relieve the pain from a mild migraine. In contrast, other treatment options like prescription medication, biofeedback, relaxation training, and vitamin therapy may be necessary for more intense migraines.
Healthcare providers believe cluster headaches occur due to chemical reactions in the brain, causing severe pain and an intense throbbing, piercing, or burning sensation behind one eye. These headaches often occur one to three times per day in a given ‘cluster period’ that usually lasts between two weeks to three months. Prescription medication and oxygen are the go-to treatments for this condition.
Headaches can be disruptive to our day-to-day life. By paying attention to where they affect your head, you can better understand the type of headache you are dealing with and have an easier time finding the treatment you need.
While most headaches pose no danger to your health, a virtual doctor in Singapore can help you identify the exact kind of headache troubling you and how to resolve it. As the leading app for telemedicine in Singapore, MYCLNQ makes this process easier by making it easier to access the medical services you need at the click of a button, from medical consultations to private ambulance services and more.
Contact us today to learn more about the medical services you can access on your phone!