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5 types of headaches, what they mean and how to cure them

Headaches come in different forms and can make it hard to focus or enjoy the day.

Headaches are uncomfortable and disturbing [iStock]

Headaches are a common health issue that can range from a minor nuisance to a severe disruption in our daily lives.

They can make it hard to concentrate, work, or enjoy time with friends and family. But not all headaches are the same. By understanding the different types of headaches, what causes them, and how to relieve them, we can take steps to feel better and stay active.

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Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They feel like a constant ache or pressure around the forehead, temples, or back of the head and neck. Stress, dehydration, and staring at screens for too long are often to blame.

To ease the discomfort, try taking a break to rest and relax. Deep breathing exercises, a short walk, or gently stretching your neck and shoulders can help. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may also provide relief.

Migraines are known for causing a throbbing or pulsing pain, usually on one side of the head. Some people might also feel sick to their stomach or become sensitive to light and sound.

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Triggers vary and can include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, or changes in the weather. When a migraine strikes, lying down in a dark, quiet room can help. Applying a cool cloth to your forehead might also bring some relief. If migraines are frequent or very painful, it's a good idea to see a doctor who can suggest other treatments.

Cluster headaches are less common but can be very painful. They are characterised by intense burning or piercing pain, often around one eye or on one side of the head. These headaches come in groups, or "clusters," lasting for weeks or months at a time.

Because of their severity, it's important to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment. A doctor can recommend specific medications or therapies to manage the pain and reduce the frequency of these headache episodes.

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Sinus headaches occur when your sinuses become inflamed, leading to pain and pressure around your forehead, cheeks, and eyes. Common causes include congestion from a cold, flu, or allergies.

Over-the-counter decongestants can help relieve the congestion, and warm compresses might reduce the pain and pressure. If sinus headaches are a regular problem, it's worth checking in with a doctor to explore other treatment options or to confirm that sinus issues are indeed the cause of your headaches.

Dehydration headaches happen when you haven't drunk enough water. These headaches often feel like a dull ache that gets worse when you move around. The solution is simple but important: drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carrying a water bottle and sipping regularly can help prevent these headaches. Eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables also contributes to your overall hydration.

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If your headaches are severe, don't seem to go away, or are accompanied by other symptoms like vision changes, difficulty speaking, or weakness, it's important to seek medical advice. A doctor can help identify the cause of your headaches and recommend the best treatment plan for you.

This content was created with the help of an AI model and verified by the writer.

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