What is a Headache?
Headache can be described as varying levels of pain anywhere in the region of the head.
A headache can be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary is where the symptom is the actual condition and secondary means something else is causing it. (1)
This symptom can cause varying levels of the pain, from mild to severe, last only a short time or linger for days. but in most cases it can causes severe pain that can affect everyday performance and functions. Headache can be of no concern, however it can also be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
When it comes to headache, we don’t have stereotip of cause. Drinking alcohol, sleep deprivation, wrong pillow, cold and flu, head injury, sinusitis are just some of things that can cause pain in the head, along with weather change and other influence.
There are about three hundred different kinds of headaches, but only about 10 percent of them have direct cause.
Most common cause for headache is a stress, and it’s a response of elevated percentage of headaches in recent years.
Very often, in case of repeated headache, additional investigations are necessary in order to rule out serious conditions. (2)
The causes of headaches can be defined as primary or secondary, here we will look at the most common in both:
In terms of prevalence, a tension headache is number one. This is what we call everyday pain and often try to ignore it and carry on regardless.
The best way to describe it would be like feeling a circle of pressure around your head, as though its being constricted.The best way to describe it would be like feelings circle of pressure around the head and pressure on both sides.
They can last for several days.
There are many risk factors for this type of headache, some of which include: excess caffeine, stress, tired eyes and drinking alcohol. (3)
Migraines are an intense type of headache, much more so than that of the tension variety. They bring on a pounding sensation which normally affects one side of the head or a specific spot on the forehead.
Usually they develop in teenage year, and they are most intensive in middle age. Rearly they can occur after age of 60.
Migraines can intensify light and sound, which is why many sufferers feel the need to reside in a quiet, dark room.
Migraines are more common in women than men, and it’s thought hormonal changes play a big part.
This cause of headache is considered most relentless out of all primary offenders. It’s has a tendency to hit in regular bouts for a period of time, yet it can also go away for months.
Pain is excruciating and usually localized around one eye. One can experience other symptoms such as, a stuffy nose, puffy or lazy eyes and excessive facial sweating. (5)
A headache can be the symptom of nasal congestion or an infection.
Sinusitis is one such condition which can cause pain in the forehead, around the nose and upper cheeks. It can replicate the feeling of intense pressure around the nasal region.
These types of headaches are often confused with migraines, except you don’t experience nausea or any issues with light. (6)
Overdose Medication Headaches
It is side effect of taking specific kind of medications.
Usually it occurs after overdose of painkillers. Pain will disappear after medications are not used any more.
Pain rate is from mild to extremely strong.
In some cases, in periods of redrawal headache can reappear. (7)
Hormones influence headache in certain period of the month.
Common triggers of this kind of pain can be contraceptive pills, menopause or pregnancy.
It starts in adulthood, and it is similar to cluster headache, but it last less. It occurs up to forty times per day and it can last two to forty five minutes.
It is more common in women, but pain is stronger in male population.
Strong sharp pain is pressing one point and then spreading round the head. In individual cases massage, yoga and similar non medicational thing can help.
Non prescription painkillers like paracetamol, and enriched calcium medications can prevent initial pain. Otherwise, doctor prescription medications can stop it. (8)
One of the kind that occurs during the night, mostly after age of 50. There is no known trigger for this kind.
Range of pain is different. This kind of headache has same effect on male and female.
Lasts usually between five and fifteen minutes. (9)
Ice Cream Headaches (Primary Stabbing Headache)
Some people get sharp pain when they suddenly swallow something cold. It is sharp pain in one spot, feeling like stabbing.
Although they can not be described as migraines, mostly people who suffer from migraine can have this kind also.
Usually it lasts few minutes.
They don’t have significant health consequences or issues.
Recommendation is to warm the food in the front of your mouth. (10)
High Blood Pressure
Secondary headaches are caused by illness or injury. They are connected directly to diseases and diagnosed according to source.
Cancer that is inside head is growing and pressing wall of the head, brain and blood vessels, causing pain to appear. (12)
Stroke is connected with lack of normal brain function, and it result can be severe head pain.
Normally it doesn’t appear before age of fifty. Blood clot jams the vane
It is known that in some cases pain can be similar to migraine, and that can be fatal if doctor is not to be contacted. (13)
Same like in cases of over using of medications, drugs and or other opiate, headache can appear when we stop using it. Usually it follows with other withdrawal symptoms like sweat, hallucination, vomiting.
This kind of headache can be extremely painful.
Migraine-like headache pain may occur during or after a seizure.
Headache can not always be categorized, but it is always pain in the area above neck. That area can be in scalp, above the eyes, or up the cheekbones.
The symptoms of a headache can cover the entire spectrum as far as the following are concerned: type of pain, duration, and intensity.
The level of pain can span from dull annoying discomfort across the board to that of extremely painful. Interpretation will also vary according to the pain threshold of the host.
The spell of a headache can last just few short hours to days at a time. They can come and go or be persistent and prolonged.
Types of pain could be anything from, piercing, throbbing, pounding, pressure,
In certain cases headache can be detected in early stage, because it has slow start. On the other hand, in other it will come on rapidly and with sharp pain.
Diagnosis for headache is established by the doctor according to pain characteristics, intensity and location.
In order to establish what kind of headache patient have, good and honest relation has to be between doctor and patient. After doctor – patient interview, first thing is to determine is it primary or secondary headache. This can be done by series of simple tests that includes lights and sounds.
First is to establish preliminary diagnosis. After that, if it is necessary, doctor will recommend diagnostic test to establish kind of secondary headache.
In order to do all this, history of patient and exams must be detail. Prerogative is to make sure that headache is not fatal.
Sometimes this is hard task, because headaches can have similarity in symptoms. In those cases physical investigation is necessary. Lately two kind of test are conducted after first interview, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT). (15)
As additional tools we can use, monthly calendar for woman, family history, insomnia, specific stress, etc. (16)
What is a headache? Any pain that appears in area above neck, mild to strong, lasting from few seconds up to several days.
What causes a headache? A headache can be down to many reasons. Triggers can be simple thing as weather change. Sometimes it is hormonal disbalance, or it can be serious like a head injury or a brain tumor.
When you should go to the doctor with a headache ? When it comes to headaches, head injury, or long lasting pain with unsteady balance and vision is emergency sign.
Can you prevent a headache? Prevention will always be dependent upon cause. For situations such as dehydration, depending on the cause of the headache. Healthy food, plenty of water, good night’s sleep and lot of exercise can be good prevention. (17)
How do doctor test for a headache? Initial interview is necessary with a patient. After that if it is necessary physical test as blood work, EEG and others can be conduct.
Can you relieve a headache? In many cases pain can be reduced with simple non medical remedial (18)
Can you prevent a headache? There are many techniques to reduce chance of getting headache. Most effective are regular sleep, remaining hydrated and healthy food.
Is a headache dangerous? In most of the cases it is just mild discomfort, but if it is persistent, it is sing to be careful and look for a doctor. (19)
Headache is most common pain in a body and it can occurs daly, but in rare cases it is terminal.
Most of the time headaches are harmless and respond to simple measures, like non – prescription medications.
Best measures to prevent headaches are: manage stress level, balanced diet, regular exercise, plenty of sleep and water. If prevention is not possible or it is not working range of medication can be used.
Headache can be treated by non prescription medication, and only in a cases that is going out of standard pain, doctor should be involved.
In any case of doctor involvement, honesty is prerogative. In order for physician to make correct diagnosis we must give accurate data. Doctor must be involved in cases that it stops regular everyday activities, or have some physical symptoms.
In some cases more detail investigations have to be done in order to establish correct cause and therapy. (20)