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Information About Vascular Headaches

Information About Vascular Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of underlying medical conditions like brain tumors, hypertension, and even eye-related issues. But headaches can also be health conditions on their own in the sense that there are no underlying illnesses and injuries resulting in the painful sensations (i.e., throbbing pain, dull pain, or right pressure) experienced by the affected individual. Such is the case of vascular headaches.

Group of Headaches

It must be emphasized first that vascular headaches are actually a group of headaches instead of just being a single distinct type of headache. Said group are characterized by the abnormal sensitivity of the arteries in the brain in relation to the stimuli provided by a wide range of triggers.

Basically, the size of the arteries undergoes a rapid change brought by spasms or constrictions as the arteries react to the triggers. The arteries in the scalp and brain then open – dilate, in medical terms – and, thus, the first signs of throbbing pain in the head are experienced. The throbbing pain may or may not radiate to the surrounding areas including the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Among the group of vascular headaches, the most common is migraine, thus, the following discussion.

Multiple Symptoms

Undoubtedly, migraines are the worst type of headaches for several reasons. For one thing, the individuals suffering from migraines experience severe pain around the head that adversely and significantly affect their quality of life. Even simple everyday tasks can be exercises in torture because of the pain, which can last for several hours to several days at a time.

For another thing, the severe pain is accompanied by other symptoms that worsen the individual’s suffering. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting and light-headedness as well as uncharacteristic sensitivity to light and/or noise and visual disturbances. Indeed, most individuals with migraine would rather curl up in a dark corner to block out the stimuli from the outside world.

Multiple Types

Migraines also come in two main types, said types of which are necessary in choosing the best possible treatment.

  • Migraine without aura does not have the aural phase
  • Migraine with aura has symptoms preceding the main phase, said symptoms of which include zigzag lines and flashing lights at least 30 minutes before the attack
  • Migraine without aura is the most common type and, more often than not, is also the easiest to treat between the two.

Multiple Phases

Unlike other forms of headaches (i.e., tension and cluster headaches), migraines usually have four distinct phases, namely: (Note: Not all individuals will experience each phase at each attack)

  • Premonition phase wherein mood or behavior changes are observed a few hours or days before the actual attack
  • Aura phase wherein the pre-attack symptoms (i.e., numbness, muscle weakness, and even hallucinations) are experienced
  • Headache phase is the full-blown attack itself with symptoms like throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head coupled with fatigue, anxiety and/or depression.
  • Headache resolution case wherein the painful symptoms progressively lessen but are then replaced by feelings of fatigue, irritability, and difficulty in concentration.

Fortunately, migraines can be prevented and even treated with modern-day medical advancements! Each individual’s case will be different in terms of triggers, medications, and lifestyle habits so it is best to consult with your doctor.


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