Posted on Feb 3, 2013 in Health & safety
I get headaches every now and then, and they’re different types. Some make me sensitive to light, others feel like I have someone grabbing my head. How can I find out what is causing a headache?
NOTE: I am not a doctor, but I played at being an EMT for a few years. Don’t take what I say or anything you read online as gospel truth. Consult with your healthcare provider for more definitive answers.
Some of the most common headache types include:
Both The American Headache Society and the National Headache Foundation (yes — there really are two such organizations) have information covering all of these, along with the broad “other headaches” category. See the NHF’s Headache Type guide, as well as the AHS types of headache information for patients.
There are actually about 130 different diagnostic headache categories — with causes ranging from harmless to life-threatening — so a quick and easy diagnosis isn’t often practical. Not that you can’t try! Discovery Health has an interactive headache type assessment tool,
But don’t despair. Before you go running to your doc and begging for a CAT scan, see if you can try to figure out what’s causing your headaches. If you do, you’ll be a lot closer to finding relief. The National Pain Foundation has a comprehensive list of signs, symptoms and triggers that you can use. Check out the NPF’s extensive resources at NationalPainFoundation.org. (Yet more questions to ask yourself can be found at Headaches.org.)
Everyone gets a headache now and then. Most of them are harmless, and all of them are annoying. However, if you have persistent, painful headaches, please go see your doctor.
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