If your headache is:
*  a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head, you have a tension headache.
*  throbbing, begins on one side, and causes nausea, you have a migraine.
*  a throbbing pain around one red, watery eye, with nasal congestion on that side of your face, you have a cluster headache.
*  a steady pain in the area behind your face that gets worse if you bend forward and is accompanied by congestion, you have a sinus headache.

Although painful and troublesome, most headaches are minor health concerns and can be easily treated with pain killers or analgesics. However if they are recurring, or more severe and come with other symptoms - see a doctor immediately.

Very common headaches are tension headaches and they are brought on by an increase in the tension in the scalp muscle. They are usually easily fixed by a mild pain killer.

The worst type of headaches are migraines. This headache can usually be preceded by a sick feeling or a blurring of vision or flashing lights in front of the eyes. A migraine will usually begin with a fierce, throbbing pain on one side of the head. This pain may spread and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. A migraine can last for hours or days.

Migraines are caused by the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels on one side of the brain.

Sinus headaches are characterised by pain in the area behind the face.


Causes

Headaches strike for many reasons.

Sinus headaches typically result from hay fever and other seasonal allergies, or from a cold or the flu.

With tension headaches, stress is the most common trigger; or it may derive from some physical factor such as persistent noise. Eyestrain, poor posture, too much caffeine, or the grinding or clenching of teeth at night can also lead to tension headaches.

Migraines are somewhat more mysterious. Although much evidence indicates that constricting and swelling of blood vessels is involved, some researchers believe that the headaches are primarily neurological in origin. Because migraines often run in families, it seems likely that genetics can play a role.

Apart from these reasons, migraines have numerous triggers - among them are too much caffeine, various foods or scents, dry winds, changes in altitude or seasons, hormonal fluctuations or birth-control pills, missing a meal, or stuffy rooms. Migraines may also occur in the aftermath of intense emotions such as excitement or anger.

Treatment

Both conventional and alternative medicine can be very effective in dealing with headaches, and the two approaches may be combined.

Most tension headaches can be helped by mild pain killers, Sinus headaches are relieved by antibiotics and decongestants.

A wide range of medications are prescribed for migraines. If your migraine is very severe or you suffer more than 2 per month, your doctor may prescribe the appropriate medications.
Both conventional and alternative medicine can be very effective in dealing with headaches, and the two approaches may be combined.

Most tension headaches can be helped by mild pain killers, Sinus headaches are relieved by antibiotics and decongestants.

A wide range of medications are prescribed for migraines. If your migraine is very severe or you suffer more than 2 per month, your doctor may prescribe the appropriate medications.

Migraines brought on by stress may benefit from a combination of equal parts of hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), linden (Tilia spp.), wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and cramp bark (Viburnum opulus), taken three times a day as a tea or tincture. For migraines accompanied by nausea and vomiting, try taking ginger (Zingiber officinale) with water at the onset of the warning stage. Three daily doses of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) in tincture, tea, or powdered form may help reduce sinus headache pain.

Tension headaches may respond to valerian (Valeriana officinalis) when combined with skullcap and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).

Headaches