Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Headache Types Explained

Close to 90% of the population will suffer from some type of headache during the year. The good news is that about 95% of all headaches are just that - headaches - in that they are not caused by some type of underlying condition. Only about 5% of all headaches fall under the category of secondary, meaning that they are caused by another condition such as sinusitis, meningitis, brain tumors, etc.

Tension headaches account for about 85% of all headaches. Pain usually centers around the back of the neck and on the scalp, and is generally considered mild to moderate. Contrary to popular belief, men and women suffer from tension headaches at an equal rate, and the pain can last for just a few hours or up to a full day.

Migraine headaches are the second most common primary headache, and they affect women more often than they do men. Pain ranges from mild to debilitating, and often is concentrated on one side of the head, sometimes behind the eye, although the pain can shift from side to side. Symptoms can also include changes in vision, such as seeing spots, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. If headaches occur frequently, it is advisable to seek professional help, as over the counter medications are often not effective in targeting these types of headaches.

The least common and most painful type of primary headache is the dreaded Cluster. The name is appropriate since the pain occurs in clusters that can last for a few minutes to a few hours, at least once a day for several weeks/months, often at the same time of day. Men are affected more often than women, and those who smoke and/or drink heavily are at greater risk. Symptoms of cluster headaches are unusual as well and include red, watery or swollen eyes, facial swelling and nasal congestion. Cluster headaches also have a tendency to strike a few hours into one's sleep.

There are many different "triggers" for headaches, ranging from environmental factors such as weather and air quality, foods, food additives and posture. Since it can be difficult to determine the cause of your headaches, it might be useful to keep a headache journal. Note the time of day your headache begins, the duration, any pain relievers taken, what you ate, where you were and what you were doing.

Meanwhile, an easy fix is simply to ensure that you are maintaining proper posture both during the day and at night. Poor posture for even brief periods can directly result in headaches and related problems. Contour Living is a leader in the comfort and support industry and provides many products designed to alleviate these problems.

Contour is the brand leader in ergonomic products designed specifically for comfort and support. Products include support pillows and back and bed wedge cushions and more. Visit Contour Living for more information on solutions to improve posture, sleep better, correct support problems and live more comfortably.