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3 Types Of Headaches And How To Treat Them   
 
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19-Feb-2014  
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If you think about it, it’s strange that headaches even exist. The brain itself can’t feel pain, so what gives? Experts now think surrounding tissues, brain chemicals, blood vessels, and nerves produce the pain signals.

“We know a lot more than we did 20 years ago about what causes headaches,” says Charles Flippen, MD, associate professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “We know what areas of the brain are generating pain, but we don’t have the whole picture.”

That said, here are 14 headache types, their causes, and more importantly—how to make them go away.

Rebound headaches
Much like overuse of nasal decongestants can lead to a perpetually stuffy nose, rebound headaches are chronic headaches caused by medication overuse.

How often is too often? Regularly taking any pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) more than twice a week, or taking triptans (migraine drugs) for more than 10 days a month, can put you at risk for rebound headaches in just a few months.

Don't try to treat these on your own. A doctor can help you stop the culprit drug, using alternatives until it's out of your system.

Tension headaches
This is the most common type of headache, which usually feels like a constant aching or pressure—rather than throbbing—on both sides of the head or at the back of the head and neck.

Triggers can include stress, anxiety, bad posture, and clenching your jaw, and these headaches can become chronic, although they usually aren’t severe. Experts aren’t sure of exact cause, although it may be due to altered brain chemicals or mixed signals in the nerves leading to the brain.

These usually respond to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Stress-relief may help.

Dental headaches
There are dental-related conditions that can trigger headaches or face pain, such as bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Bruxism is grinding your teeth at night, while TMJ affects the joints, located just in front of your ear, which connect the jaw to the skull.

TMJ can be caused by bad jaw alignment, stress, poor posture (like sitting at a computer all day), or arthritis, which affect the cartilage, muscles, or ligaments in the jaw.

Your dentist can help diagnose these types of headaches, and treatment includes stretching the jaw, hot or cold packs, stress reduction, and bite guards.
 
 
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