Types Of Headache: Vascular Headaches


Dilation of the blood vessels and consequent throbbing are thus the essential features present in any kind of vascular headache. There are basically three types of vascular headache, which include:


Cluster headaches
As the name itself suggests, cluster headache takes place in specific clusters in the head. They occur over a period of 6-12 weeks and then go into remission for months or probably years, altogether. The pain may occur at night or at regular intervals throughout the day. The pain is non-throbbing and may survive for anything between a half an hour and an hour. It starts around one eye and then intensifies quite quickly.

No conclusive answers have been found as to what causes cluster headaches, but there can be a number of underlying causes including chronic high blood pressure, hyperlacrimation, Horner's syndrome and/or rhinorrhoea.

The symptoms of cluster headache are a stuffed and runny nose, droopy eyelids, sweatiness, restlessness and nausea.

Smoking and alcohol aggravate, and in some cases, also cause cluster headaches. This is because nicotine constricts the arteries whereas alcohol dilates them. Although the exact connection between these substances is not known, yet these two factors are thought to be the precipitating factors for a cluster headache.

The treatment for cluster headache includes medications, oxygen inhalation and facial nerve surgery.

Migraine headaches
A migraine pain can be said to be an intense throbbing or intense pulsating pain in one side of the head. It is about three times more prevalent in women than in men.

It might or might not be preceded by an ‘aura’. People having migraine have extremely sensitive constitutions and their migraine attacks can be triggered by trivial factors as lack of food or sleep, exposure to light, anxiety, stress, and in women, even by hormonal irregularities.

The treatment for migraine is based on a two-pronged strategy - preventing the symptoms in the first place and relieving them in the midst of an attack in the second place.

The medications used for epilepsy and depression form the preventive part of the treatment whereas triptans are taken to relieve pain and restore function. Hormone therapy may be taken by women whose hormones are imbalanced. Stress management, in this case, is also extremely important. It can be done by exercising, relaxing, aromatherapy, yoga or with the help of the various other therapies available.

Toxic headaches
A toxic headache is another kind of vascular headache that can be brought about by a fever resulting from illnesses like measles, mumps, pneumonia and tonsillitis. In such a case, it is imperative to consult a doctor as it may otherwise lead to complications.

There are other factors also which can cause a toxic headache. Insecticides, pesticides, organic solvents and some household cleaners may all trigger a toxic headache. This happens because the magnesium metabolism of the cell is destabilized and it triggers a whole host of biological and neurological reactions. Thus it is better to guard against such substances that trigger off a toxic headache.