80% of headaches originate from the neck. Usually an increased amount of stress and tension held in the shoulders causes contractions of all of the surrounding neck muscles. When these muscles contract, vertebrae can become misaligned causing pressure on spinal nerves, and ultimately pain. With a typical cervicogenic (neck origin) headache, a person usually feels pain starting at the base of the skull which radiates into the temples, eyeballs, and forehead.
There may be several other causes of headaches, so a proper examination is needed to determine the actual cause. Here are the different types of headaches that you may be experiencing:
Tension headaches: Also called chronic daily headaches or chronic non-progressive headaches, tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. These muscle contraction headaches cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time.
Migraines: The exact causes of migraines are unknown, although they are related to blood vessel contractions and other changes in the brain as well as inherited abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, or odors; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and stomach upset or abdominal pain. When a child is having a migraine they often look pale, feel dizzy, have blurred vision, fever, stomach upset, in addition to having the above listed symptoms.
- Migraine with aura – Migraine with aura is a migraine that’s preceded or accompanied by a variety of sensory warning signs or symptoms, such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your hand or face.
A small percentage of pediatric migraines include recurrent (cyclic) gastrointestinal symptoms, in which vomiting is most common. Cyclic vomiting means that the symptoms occur on a regular basis, about once a month. These types of migraines are sometimes called abdominal migraines.
Mixed headache syndrome: Also called transformed migraines, this is a combination of migraine and tension headaches. Both adults and children experience this type of headache.
Cluster headaches: The least common, although the most severe type of primary headache, the pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing quality that is throbbing or constant. The pain is so severe that most cluster headache sufferers cannot sit still and will often pace during an attack. The pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides. The term “cluster headache” refers to headaches that have a characteristic grouping of attacks. Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely go into remission for months or years, only to recur.
Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.