Headache: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Reviewed by Dr. Hasan Feroz, M.D,

Overview

Headache is a common condition causing pain in the head, scalp, neck, forehead.It is most common in all the groups and about 10 percent of people face this condition atleast once in a year.

Headache may be mild, moderate and sometimes severe in many cases, they may cause pain, discomfort and lack of concentration but most of the headache can be manageable by self treatments, OTC medications and proper sleep and rest.

There are different 150 types of headaches and their symptoms are also differs from each other. When you have a headache your doctor may diagnose the exact type and will treat you accordingly.

Classifications of Headache

There are different types of headaches nearly 150 types but only few of them is very common. These are:

Tension Headaches- Tension headache is the most common types of a headache affected teens and adults. They causes mild to moderate pain in the forehead and behind the eyes. It usually resolve over time and proper sleep.

Migraine Headaches- This headache is known for severe pain in half of the head. It causes throbbing, Pounding pain lasts 4-5 hours a day but sometimes it takes more than that time. It causes a lot of pain and you cannot do anything when you have a migraine and you may feel nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light etc. Migraine can be resolved with the help of some medication especially made for migraine.

Cluster Headaches- Cluster headaches are not throbbing pain but causes excruciating, burning pain in one side of the head or behind the eyes. It tends to create nasal congestion and a runny nose. This headache may last for a long time up to six weeks.

it is known as cluster headaches because it tends to happen in clusters like if you have a cluster headache you may feel it three to four times in a day. Each headache episode may last 15 minutes to 3 hours.

Sinus Headaches- Sinus headache is the result of a sinus infection. it causes pain in the areas of the sinus like around the nose, forehead,cheek. This happens when our sinus inflamed and get infected. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, fullness in ears and swollen face. In sinus headache your nose stuff i.e. gunk looks like yellow color instead of normal white color.

Brain Tumor or Brain Aneurysm Headaches- The presence of a brain tumor or brain aneurysm causes headache. This is due to the internal structure of the skull as it is so tight that there is no option for anything else to enter or grow insight the brain. When brain tumor or aneurysm (bleeding) occurs the nearby parts of the brain pressed and causes severe headache.

Cervicogenic Headaches-Cervicogenic headaches occur when our cervical discs start degeneration and reducing the space. This causes a lot of pain and stiffness in the neck and head.

Causes of Headaches

The pain we feel during the headaches comes from the signals which is sent by the nerves, veins and blood vessels to the brain. Then brain switches on the signals of pain that we realizes as headache. There are many causes of headaches some are known like:

Illness- During the illness period we all face the headache problem. This illness may be infections, fevers, certain diseases. In all the illness we generally feel fever and headache that tell us that something is not good in our body.

Mental Tension or Stress- Stress or emotional stress may also cause headache. If you are an alcoholic, drug abuser and taking some long use medications you may face the problem of headache.

Environment- Your environment also contributes to your health. If you are living in an area where a lot of pollution exists like noise, air pollution you may face the problem of headache.

Diagnosis of Headaches

Most of the headaches we face during our lifetime resolve overtime and required no treatment. But if you have headaches which is not resolving within a week you must have to talk to your doctor for the diagnosis and treatment. Tell in details about your headaches and their exact location and tell him the symptoms when the headache occurs.

Generally, a headache does not require any tests but if you have any disease or infection your doctor may ask you to do certain tests based on the symptoms. He may ask you to go for CBC, Widal Tests, CRP test. In many cases, if your doctor has doubt he may prescribe you for a CT-scan or MRI test as per the requirement for the diagnosis.

Treatment of Headaches

As earlier mentioned that simple headache does not require any medical intervention and if the patient is not getting relief from the headache he may use acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin for the headache. if you have any underlying disease then the treatment of that disease will reduce your headache symptoms and gradually your headache will be vanished.

There are certain medications which is used for the treatment of headaches are as follows:

Use of Beta-blockers

Calcium channel blockers

Antidepressant

Topiramate

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