Everything You Need to Know About Headache
Headaches or head pain sometimes can be difficult to define, but some common symptoms include throbbing, squeezing, persistent, unrelenting, or intermittent. Generally, the location may be in one part of the face or skull or may be generalized involving the whole head. The head is one of the most common sites of pain in the body.
Headaches can sometimes be mild, but in many cases, they can cause severe pain, making it difficult to concentrate at work and perform other daily activities. most headaches can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
Particularly normal headaches are usually caused by dehydration, muscle tension, nerve pain, fever, caffeine withdrawal, drinking alcohol, or eating certain foods. They may also happen as a result of toothache, hormonal changes, or pregnancy, or as a side effect of medication.
Primary causes of headaches
Such as primary causes of headaches are causes that aren’t related to separate medical conditions. These pain are the result of an underlying process in the brain. Examples of common primary pain include migraine, cluster, and tension.
Secondary causes of headaches
Secondary headaches are those that are due to an underlying medical condition. Examples of secondary headache causes include:
Brain tumor or brain aneurysm
In particular, the presence of a brain tumor or brain aneurysm (brain bleed) can lead to headaches. This is because there is only so much room in the skull. When the skull starts to build up with blood or extra tissue, the compression on the brain can cause a headache.
Cerviogenic headaches occur when discs start to degenerate and press on the spinal column. The result can be significant neck pain as well as headaches.
Medication overuse headaches
Generally, if a person takes a significant amount of pain medications daily and starts to taper them or discontinue them together, a headache can result. Examples of these medications include hydrocodone.
In particular infection of the meninges, which are the membranes that line the skull and enclose the spinal cord and brain.
Sometimes a person will experience headaches after trauma to the head, sustained during an event like a fall, car accident, or skiing accident.
Generally, inflammation in the normally air-filled sinus cavities in the face can cause pressure and pain that leads to a sinus headache.
A spinal headache can occur due to a slow leak of cerebrospinal fluid, usually, after a person has an epidural, spinal tap, or spinal block for anesthesia.
For the most part, several different headache types exist. Examples of these headache types include:
In particular tension headaches are the most common type of headache and occur most frequently in women over age 20. This pain is often described as feeling like a tight band around the head. Generally, they are caused by a tightening of the muscles in the neck and scalp. Poor posture and stress are contributing factors.
Tension headaches usually last for several minutes, but in some cases, they can last for several days. They also tend to be recurrent.
Generally, Cluster headaches are non-throbbing pain that causes excruciating, burning pain on one side of the head or behind the eye. In particular, they usually cause the eyes to tear up and produce nasal congestion or rhinorrhea (runny nose). This pain can last for extended periods of time, known as the cluster period. The cluster period can be as long as six weeks.
Cluster headaches may occur every day and more than once a day. The cause is unknown; however, this type of headache is rare and generally affects men age 20 to 40.
For the most part Migraine headaches are severe headaches that can cause throbbing, pounding pain, usually on one side of the head. Several different types of migraine headache exist. Such as this includes chronic migraines, which are migraines that occur 15 or more days a month.
In particular Hemiplegic migraines are those with symptoms resembling that of a stroke. A person can even experience migraines without head pain, which means they have migraine symptoms such as nausea, visual disturbances, and dizziness, but without head pain.
Rebound headaches are those that occur after a person stops taking medications they used regularly to treat headaches. A person is more likely to experience rebound headaches if they take medications such as acetaminophen, triptans (Zomig, Imitrex), ergotamine (Ergomar), and painkillers (like Tylenol with codeine).
Thunderclap headaches are abrupt, severe pain that often comes on very quickly. They will usually appear without warning and last up to five minutes. These headache types can signal an underlying problem with blood vessels in the brain and often require prompt medical attention. A significant number of headache types exist.
Headaches vs. migraine
Migraines are the most severe and complex type of headache. Researchers believe they may be caused by changes in the activity of nerve pathways and brain chemicals. Genetic factors and environmental factors are also thought to affect a person’s susceptibility to developing migraines.
Migraines are very intense, throbbing headaches that affect one side of the head. They can also increase sensitivity to light and noise. They may last anyplace from several hours to several days.
Incidence and types of migraines
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly 1 out of every 4 households in the United States includes someone with a migraine. Migraines are one of the top 20 most disabling illnesses in the world.
Among adolescents, migraines are more common in boys than in girls. Among adults, however, migraines occur more frequently in women than in men. They are also more likely to affect those who have family members that often experience migraines.
There are two basic types of migraine headaches: migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Auras are visual disturbances that consist of bright spots, flashing lights, or moving lines. In some cases, auras cause a temporary loss of vision. These visual disturbances occur about 30 minutes before the migraine begins and can last for 15 minutes.
Migraine with aura tends to be less severe and disabling than migraine without aura. However, most people experience migraines without aura.
Hemiplegic migraines are another type of migraine. These migraines are accompanied by stroke-like symptoms, such as slurred speech and numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
Migraines have three phases: prodrome, peak headache, and postdrome.
Prodrome is the period leading up to the migraine. This is the time when auras can occur. The prodrome phase may affect concentration, mood, and appetite. This phase may also cause frequent yawning.
Peak headache is the period when migraine symptoms become the most severe. This phase may last for several minutes.
Postdrome is the 24-hour period after the migraine. During this time, drowsiness can occur and mood can fluctuate between feelings of sadness and feelings of joy.
The exact cause of migraines isn’t known. However, there are numerous factors that are known to trigger the onset of migraine episodes. These include:
- fluctuating hormone levels, especially among boys going through puberty, and women
- stress or anxiety
- fermented and pickled foods
- cured meats and aged cheeses
- certain fruits, including bananas, avocados, and citrus
- skipped meals
- too little or too much sleep
- bright or strong lights
- fluctuations in atmospheric pressure due to changing weather
- alcohol consumption
- caffeine withdrawal
Because some non-migraine headaches can be severe, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two.