Pay a Bill
NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.
Everyone has experienced the pain of a headache, which can range from mild and annoying to debilitating (they don’t call them “splitting headaches” for nothing).
Different types of headaches are caused by different things, and some are easier to relieve than others.
The most common type of headache, tension headaches result from the things we do when we’re stressed out or anxious — clenching the jaw, skipping meals or skimping on sleep.
Pain from a tension headache is most often concentrated on both sides of the head, but can center behind or between the eyes, or across the cheeks or forehead.
Migraines are a chronic illness that typically features recurring moderate to severe pain on one side or both sides of the head. The throbbing, pulsating pain typically lasts between four and 72 hours if left untreated.
“The most common associated symptom of migraine is fatigue and feeling drained of energy,” said Steven Meyers, MD, a neurologist with NorthShore University HealthSystem.
A migraine also causes sensitivity to light, smell and noise, nausea and vomiting. Simply moving, coughing or sneezing can make the pain worse.
Poor posture and neck or shoulder tension can trigger a migraine. Alcohol consumption can too.
Most people who get migraines have a family history, and they’re likely genetic. Migraines can occur any time of day, but most frequently happen in the morning. Sometimes they happen before menstruation or a period of stress.
Cluster headaches are rare, but severe. They strike suddenly, are very painful and concentrate on one side of the head near or behind one eye.
“Cluster headaches are notorious for rapid escalation to a severe retro-orbital headache often within 15 minutes,” Dr. Meyers said. “They occur like clockwork at the same time every day for anywhere between weeks and months.”
The headaches then subside for months or years before reoccurring.
They sometimes include a pre-headache aura and nausea. They often wake people up while sleeping and may cause redness, swelling or tearing to the eye, and a stuffy or runny nose on the affected side.
Interventions that may work
Fortunately, relief is possible for many headaches. Here are some interventions that may work:
Preventing headaches, including migraines, requires some self-regulation. Try to include these activities in your daily schedule:
If you suffer from migraines or other forms of headache, the neurologists at the NorthShore Neurological Institute headache clinics can help. Learn more or call 877-570-7020 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.
Need a doctor? With hundreds of board-certified physicians to choose from, you’re likely to find the perfect doctor for you close by. Find a doctor at NorthShore