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Overview

Headache, also known as cephalgia, is any kind of pain in the head, face, or neck. There are two types of headaches: primary headaches and secondary headaches.

Primary headaches, despite their pain, are seldom dangerous and are not linked with underlying disease or structural problems.

Secondary headaches are often characterized by a sudden onset and severe pain. These are often the result of an underlying illness or trauma that activates pain receptors. Secondary headaches are less common than primary headaches, but they are often considerably more severe and are accompanied by additional symptoms produced by the underlying illness.

Other types of headaches are:

Tension headache: Adults and teenagers are the most often afflicted by the most common kind of headache i.e. tension headaches. They may cause moderate to severe pain. This type of headache develops and goes over time without any other symptoms.

Cluster headache: It is the most intense type of headache. It is possible to have severe searing or piercing pain behind or around the eyes. Its intensity may be pulsating or continuous. Cluster headaches may be severe enough that the majority of sufferers are unable to sit still and often pace throughout an episode. It often occurs in clusters of three or more. Each headache episode lasts between 15 and 3 hours on average. They are capable of awakening the person from a deep sleep.

Sinus headache: It is characterized by throbbing pain in one or more of the following areas: the forehead, bridge of the nose or the cheekbones. They are caused by inflammation of the sinuses. Additional sinus symptoms, such as anear fullness, runny nose, fever, and a swollen face, may develop in addition to the pain.

Migraine: It is described as pumping and throbbing that cause the headache behind the eyes. It may last from four hours to three days. Patients may have pain, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to noise, light, or smells, and lack of appetite.

Cervicogenic headache: It occurs when pain is sent to the brain from the neck. This discomfort is often characterized as a constant aching or dull sensation.

Causes

Pain is produced by a mix of impulses transmitted between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. Primary headaches are caused mostly by chemical activity in the brain, nerves or blood vessels. Individuals with particular genes may be genetically prone to severe headaches.Pain signals are sent to the brain when certain neurons in the blood vessels and head muscles are activated.

The most common kind of headache is tension headache, which affects the top of the head. They are thought to be caused by factors such as poor nutrition, a lack of physical activity, stress or insufficient sleep. They are distinguished by a dull ache, tightness, or constant pressure leading to headache on top of head.

Headaches may occur because of a blow to the head or, less often, as a symptom of a more severe medical condition such as cancer.

Some of the causes of headache are listed below:

Illness: Infections, fevers and colds are the common illnesses with the symptom of headache. Similarly, covid infection also results in covid headache.

Stress and Lifestyle factors: Emotional discomfort and sorrow, excessive alcohol use, altering sleep patterns and skipping meals are all risk factors. Other possible reasons include neck and back discomfort caused by improper posture.

Trauma: Headaches may occur because of head trauma after a fall or car accident due to trauma.

Brain tumor: aneurysm or brain tumor may induce headaches. Pressure is exerted to the brain when the skull is congested with blood or additional tissue, causing pain.

Other secondary causes of headaches include:

·         Brain freeze i.e. ice cream induced headache

·         Panic attacks

·         Dental issues

·         Glaucoma

·         Hypertension

·         Meningitis

·         Hangover

·         Encephalitis

·         Stroke

Waking up with a headache is also a common occurrence due to a number of sleep or health issues. Sleep apnea and insomnia are the main causes of headaches in this case.

When to see a doctor

Whenever you have your worst headache, see a doctor immediately. If you lose vision or consciousness or vomit uncontrollably, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have a headache that lasts more than 72 hours with just a few hours of pain-free time, consult a doctor immediately. In case your headache gets worse with time, you need to consult a physician. To get rid of the headache, you need to rest and have painkillers. Sometimes hot or cold compresses are also advised.


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