Headache is a term used to define pain involving head and neck. It is technically referred to as cephalalgia. It is a non-specific but most common symptom of disorders involving the nervous system. According to the reports published by WHO in 2012, the prevalence of headache in adults was about 47%. In a similar report published by the national foundation of headache, about forty-five million Americans were estimated to suffer from chronic, recurrent headaches.
Types of Headache
Headache is divided into two types, primary and secondary. Primary headaches are headaches in which no underlying disease or a morphological cause of the headache can be found out. Migraine, tension, and cluster headaches are all different types of primary headaches and we will see them in more detail later.
Secondary headaches are headaches occurring due to an underlying disease, such as sinusitis, meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, aneurysms, tumors, glaucoma, and vasculitis.
Migraine is characterized by the headache that varies in intensity from moderate and severity and usually involves on side of the head. It is typically preceded by an aura that is usually auditory or sensory. In the case of a visual aura, the patient perceives flashes of light, may see objects that are not there in reality and may even have a transient vision loss before the attacks. In the case of sensory aura, a patient may complain of numbing and tingling sensations involving hands and feet before the actual migraine attacks. The duration of a migraine attack usually ranges from a couple of hours to even a couple of days. In addition to headache, the patient may also experience symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Tension headache occurs as a result of some kind of stress or tension, for example, heavy workload, anger, sorrow etc. Scientifically it is believed that it occurs due to contractions of muscles around the neck which interferes with the blood supply of the brain. A change in the balance of neurotransmitters present in the brain is also found to cause a tension headache. Unlike migraine, it usually occurs on both sides and back of the head
Cluster headache is a rare variant of headache. This type of headache is limited to one side of the head and it also causes other symptoms such as irritation and watering of the eye as well as congestion of nose. It is relatively difficult to cure.
Sinus headache is a type of secondary headache. It occurs due to a sinus infection. Frontal sinusitis is a common form of sinusitis that usually involves a forehead and causes severe headache. Other types of sinusitis may also present with headache along with other symptoms. The common cause of sinus headache is an infection so antibiotics are needed to treat such headache along with decongestants.
Abrupt withdrawal of painkillers may cause this type of headache. Brian adapts itself in those people who use painkiller for a long time. When the abruptly stop the use of painkillers, this cause headache and this type of headache is referred to as rebound headache.
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