Prevention (Australia) - - Breakthrough Health -

There are more than 300 dif­fer­ent types of headaches, from the “brain freeze” peo­ple get if they eat ice-cream too quickly to de­bil­i­tat­ing clus­ter headaches that can last months. Here’s a run­down of the lat­est treat­ments for some of the most com­mon types.


Slow build-up of dull, squeez­ing pain across fore­head or en­tire head

Mild to mod­er­ate pain, typ­i­cally be­hind the eyes or across the bridge of the nose; fever; mu­cus dis­charge from nose

In­tense pain, of­ten around one eye; can in­clude eye swelling, red­ness, and tear­ing. Episodes can last 4 to 6 weeks, with an av­er­age of two headaches per day.

TRIG­GERS Fa­tigue, neck and shoul­der ten­sion, emo­tional stress

Usu­ally brought on by a bad cold or al­ler­gies Be­lieved to be ge­netic; cig­a­rette smoke, al­co­hol, changes in weather, strong smells, bright lights. Ten times more com­mon in men than in women, clus­ter headaches can be trig­gered by re­lax­ation, which is why they of­ten be­gin at night dur­ing sleep


Non-pre­scrip­tion pain re­liev­ers, such as as­pirin, ibupro­fen, or naproxen; mus­cle re­lax­ants

An­tibi­otics or cor­ti­cos­teroids for the un­der­ly­ing si­nus in­flam­ma­tion, an­ti­his­tamines

Trip­tan in­jec­tions and in­hal­ing pure oxy­gen to re­duce pain. Pre­ven­tive med­i­ca­tions in­clude the cal­cium chan­nel blocker ve­r­a­pamil, the steroid pred­nisone, and lithium. Sci­en­tists are test­ing CGRP drugs (see main story)


Re­lax­ation ex­er­cises and cog­ni­tive-be­havioural ther­apy

Acupunc­ture and re­lax­ation ex­er­cises Mela­tonin, which reg­u­lates the sleep cy­cle, has been shown in small stud­ies to help pre­vent clus­ter headaches

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