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Author: Dr. William Rappaport
Date: July 2017


Not all Headaches are the same

We all get headaches. Kids, teens, adults, seniors and even babies. Headaches can be brought on by factors such as stress, food, the environment, infection, or even the need for eye glasses. Headaches fall into different categories with the most common being tension, migraines, cluster, and sinus. Knowing the symptoms can help your doctor determine the type of headache you or your child is suffering from and how to treat. 

Tension Headaches come and go throughout the day. Episodic tension headaches can be the most common among kids and teens causing mild to moderate pain. They come and go when the child is under a great deal of stress or suffers from an anxiety. The pain usually begins gradually and occurs in the middle of the day then subsides. Chronic tension headaches can last all day. The pain intensity comes and goes but is constant. They occur more than 10-15 times a month. Tension headaches whether chronic or episodic have symptoms such as irritability, mild sensitivity to noise and light, poor concentration, and often are felt upon waking. Most tension headaches are often described as pressure or pain around the forehead. 


Migraines are different from tension headaches in that the pain is constant affecting the entire head or shifting from one side to the other. There is sometimes blurred vision, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, dizziness and fatigue along with the head pain. Some people experience something called an aura where they see lines or bright dots. A migraine can be debilitating and is often described as the worst pain a person has ever felt. They can be triggered by an allergy to a food, hormones or an environmental factor, as well as, a family history of migraine’s. 

Cluster Headaches are intense pain on one side of the head that is constant or throbbing. It’s usually felt behind one eye. They can occur for a short period of time then reoccur throughout the day sometimes even wake a person up at the same time each night. 

Sinus Headaches are usually felt around the sinus’s. Pressure builds up around the nose and temples causing chronic pain. A feeling of a fullness in the ears along with facial swelling usually occurs along with sinus symptoms such as post nasal drip, runny nose, and scratchy throat. 

Treatment for all types of headaches depend on a number of factors. It is important to be aware of what occurred, what was eaten, and where you have been in the hours leading up to these annoying and painful facts of life.


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