When you’ve got a headache, all you want is relief. But different causes call for different treatments, so knowing your pain can be your gain. Migraines fall within a broad spectrum of head pain, which also includes the following:
Cluster Headaches/ These attacks are vascular—originating from blood vessels in the brain—and affect less than 1 percent of Americans, six times more men than women. The pain is intense and almost always occurs on one side of the head, often accompanied by eye redness, tearing and nasal drainage. Such headaches are short-lived, lasting 15 to 90 minutes, and may occur several times per day for weeks or months. New research indicates that people who get cluster headaches experience a drop in sleep-regulating melatonin during the night. These headaches are very difficult to treat.
Tension Headaches/ Also known as muscle-contraction headaches, these account for 90 percent of all headaches. Tension headaches occur when muscles tighten in the back of the neck and in the face or scalp; they are neither vascular nor migrainous and are unrelated to any disease. Myofascial pain dysfunction, also called temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), is characterized by teeth clenching and grinding and can contribute to tension headaches. Trauma, injury and environmental or internal stress can also provoke them. People who are prone to headaches often experience tension and migraine pain at different times; diagnosis can be difficult, as symptoms can overlap.
Mixed Headaches/ Striking some people almost daily, these share characteristics with migraine and tension headaches. People who experience mixed headaches often suffer from depression and sleep disturbances as well.