UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Headaches, no matter what kind, are a pain. They make it difficult to concentrate and interfere with your day. The good news is most headaches are treatable. It is, however, important to figure out what type of a headache is causing your pain. If you know your headache type, you can treat it correctly.
If you suffer from headaches, you may still be able to get a good rate on a term life insurance policy. Most life insurance companies will want to see a history of treatment for the most severe types of headaches. Below are the most common types, their symptoms and treatment options.
Most headaches are tension headaches. They are often triggered by things such as stress, depression, hunger and muscle strain. Tension headaches may come on suddenly or slowly. They often feel like a constant ache or pressure around the head, particularly in the temples or back of the head and neck.
A tension headache is constant rather than throbbing, and you usually feel the pain or pressure on both sides of your head. Over-the-counter treatments, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are usually sufficient to treat them.
Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining. The pain is usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever and facial swelling. Sinus headaches can be treated with antibiotics, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.
Cluster headaches typically affect more men than women. They are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. They appear suddenly and the main symptom of cluster headaches is a severe burning or sharp, piercing pain on one side of your head. The pain spreads out from your temple and eye. Your eye may become red, watery, or puffy. The eyelid may droop, and you may have a runny or stuffy nose on that side of your head. The pain usually gets worse within 5 to 10 minutes after the headache starts and can last for 30 minutes or longer.
Cluster headaches usually happen at the same time of day each time you get them but can occur at any time. During an attack, people often feel restless and unable to get comfortable; they are unlikely to lie down, as someone with a migraine might. There is no cure, but medication can cut the frequency and duration.
Overuse of painkillers for headaches can lead to rebound headaches. While over-the-counter analgesics are helpful in improving headache pain, they must be taken with caution because they could actually make your headaches worse if not taken correctly.
The overuse or misuse of analgesic medications such as exceeding labeling instructions, taking the drugs three or more days per week or not following your physician’s advice can cause you to rebound into another headache. When the pain medication wears off, you may experience a withdrawal reaction, prompting you to take more medication, which only leads to another headache and the desire to take more medication. Medicines that cause this include over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen as well as prescription drugs.
Migraine headaches often run in the family and can cause intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head. They are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.
Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms referred to as aura. Examples of aura include flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arms or legs. Certain medications such as antidepressants, antiseizures and Triptans can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If treatment hasn’t worked for you in the past, talk to your doctor about trying a different migraine headache medication.
Life Insurance Company Guidelines
Life insurance company guidelines for headaches vary, of course. Most companies will review your medical records to see if you have received treatment, for how long and how effective the treatment has been. They will also consider any medications you are taking as well as any CT scans or other nuerological tests you have had performed. Effective treatment courses combined normal test results should allow you to get Preferred rates on your term life insurance policy. Be sure to discuss your headache history with your agent or broker, so they can find a good life insurance company for you!