“It’s tough to keep your face in a book for hours at a time. When I have a lot of reading to do, I take a 10 minute break for every hour I am studying to stop getting headaches.”
– Amy C., Michigan State University
Headaches are one of the most common health complaints, not just for college students, but for adults and even children.
Symptoms depend on the type of headache.
Most headaches are this type. Signs and symptoms:
Tension headaches are caused by tense or tight muscles in the face, neck, or scalp. You can get a tension headache from a number of things:
Migraine headaches happen when blood vessels in your head open too wide or close too tight. Signs and symptoms:
Migraines can occur with or without an aura. With an aura, spots or flashing lights or numbness occurs for 10 to 30 minutes before the headache. Ten percent of all migraines are this type; 90% occur without an aura.
Migraine headaches occur more often in females than in males and tend to run in families.
Certain things trigger migraine headaches in susceptible people. They include:
A sinus headache occurs when fluids in the nose aren’t able to drain well and a buildup of pressure occurs in the sinuses. A cold, allergies, and airplane travel can cause a sinus headache. Signs and symptoms include:
A headache can be a symptom of other health conditions. Examples are allergies, depression, infections, and dental problems.
Self-care can treat headaches caused by tension, fatigue, and/or stress. Certain over-the-counter medicines and prescribed medicines can treat migraine headaches.
Biofeedback has helped many people who have suffered from headaches.
Headaches that are symptoms of health conditions are relieved when the condition is treated with success.
Is the headache associated with any of the following?
Has the headache come on suddenly and does it hurt much more than any headache you have ever had?
Does a severe, persistent headache occur with any of the following signs and symptoms of meningitis?
Has the headache been occurring for more than 2 to 3 days and does it keep increasing in frequency and intensity?
Do you have signs and symptoms of a migraine headache listed above?
Is the headache not relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers and does it occur with any signs and symptoms of a sinus infection?
Has the headache occurred at the same time of day, week, or month, such as with a menstrual period and is it not relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers?
Do you have to take a pain reliever more than 3 times a week for at least 3 weeks for headaches?
Have you noticed the headache only after taking newly prescribed or over-the-counter medicines?
National Headache Foundation | 800.843.2256 | www.headaches.org