What is headache?

Headache is a pain in any part of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head. It starts from a point in the head and spreads across the head or starts at a certain place.

This pain may appear in the form of intense pain or light pain that causes a sensation in the head. Headaches may occur slowly or abruptly and may last from one hour to several days.

Headaches are of two types – primary headache and secondary headache. Primary headaches include tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraine headaches. Secondary headaches include rebound and thunderclap headaches, stress headaches, caffeine headaches, etc.

The most common type of headache is a headache caused by tension. Tension-related headaches are due to the tightening (tightening) of your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw muscles. These headaches are often related to stress , depression, or anxiety . You are more likely to have a tension-related headache if you do too much work, do not get enough sleep, eat irregularities or consume alcohol.

(Read more –  Home remedies for headache )

Most people can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, giving the body enough rest and taking painkillers.

Not all headaches need to go to the doctor, but sometimes headaches warn of a serious disorder. If you have a severe headache suddenly, tell your doctor. If you have a headache after a jerk in your head or if you have a neck stiffness, fever, confusion, fainting or eye or ear pain with a headache, get treatment immediately.

Prevalence of headaches

According to the Global Year headache, headaches are the most prevalent neurological disorder and the most commonly occurring symptom. Headaches can occur during any year in up to 50% of the general population, and more than 90% of people have headaches that occur throughout their lifetime. The average age potential of migraine is 18% and the estimated average prevalence in the past year is 13%. The prevalence of migraine in children and adolescents is 7.7%. Stress-related headaches are more common than migraines, with a lifetime prevalence of about 52%. However, treatment of recurrent or chronic headaches is not possible. 3% of the general population suffers from severe headaches, such as headaches lasting more than 15 days per month.

  1. Types of Headache
  2. Headache Symptoms
  3. Headache Causes
  4. Prevention of Headache
  5. Diagnosis of Headache
  6. Headache Treatment

Type of headache

Type of headache

There are different ways to define a headache. The International Headache Society – IHS divides headache into two parts. First primary headaches that do not arise from any other problem, second secondary headaches, which have several main causes.

  1. Primary Headaches – Primary headache is an autoimmune disease that occurs due to hyperactivity of pain-sensory structures inside the head or problems arising in them. These include blood vessels, muscles, head and neck veins. They can also be the result of changes in the chemical activity of the brain.

Primary headaches include –

Migraine – Migraine is the second most common form of primary headache and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), migraines are the sixth largest cause of disability worldwide due to disability. Migraine can last from a few hours to 2 to 3 days. (Read more – Migraine symptoms, causes, treatment, medication and diagnosis)
Cluster headaches – Cluster headaches usually last 15 minutes to 3 hours. They may occur suddenly from one to eight times daily, for a few weeks or months. There may be no signs of headache between the two cluster headaches. This headache-free period can range from months to years.
Tension headaches – Tension headaches are the most common form of primary headache. Such headaches normally begin slowly in the middle of the day. Tension-related headaches can be either episodic or chronic. Episodic headaches usually last for a few hours, but may last for several days. Severe headaches occur for a period of at least 3 months for 15 or more days in a month.

  1. Secondary headaches – Secondary headache symptoms occur when any other factor stimulates the sensitive nerves of the head. In other words, the symptoms of a headache can be attributed to some other cause. A wide range of different factors can cause secondary headaches.

These include alcoholic hangovers, brain tumors, blood clots, black cataracts, nocturnal teeth grinding, excessive doses of pain medication known as rebound headaches, body movements, and strokes.

Secondary headaches include –

Rebound headaches – Rebound headaches are caused by excessive use of medication to treat the symptoms of a headache. These are the most common causes of secondary headaches. These usually begin during the day and continue throughout the day. With pain medicine they can be relieved, but the pain becomes very severe as soon as the effect of the medicine ends.
Thunderclap headaches – These are severely sudden headaches, often referred to as the “worst headache in life”. They reach their peak in less than a minute and last for more than 5 minutes. Often thunderclap headaches do not pose threatening conditions.
Sinus Headache – Pressure and swelling is felt behind the face, forehead and eyes due to inflammation or infection in the sinus.
Caffeine Headache – Withdrawal headache is caused by stopping the long-term use of caffeine.
Cervicogenic headache – It is like a tension-based headache and is caused by muscle spasms and stiffness. This pain spreads from the neck. It may be associated with cervical disc disease.
Stress Headache – This is another form of tension-related headache. This pain is the result of stress arising from any cause.
Spinal Headache – A headache that results from the spinal tape process (lumbar puncture). After the procedure, fluid can seep through the spinal column, causing severe headaches when standing.
Exertion Headache – This is a headache caused by excessive physical exertion. It may be a combination of tension-associated headaches and mild dehydration.
Allergic Headache – Similar to sinus headache, allergens in the environment irritate the nasal passages and sinus tissue, which can cause headaches.

Headache symptoms

Headache symptoms

Headache symptoms do not require immediate medical attention. These symptoms include a mild headache, usually with pain, pressure, or stretch in both parts of the head above the eyebrows.

These headaches can occur frequently and the time of occurrence of these can be estimated. People who have this type of mild headache often know the symptoms of their headache, as the pattern repeats itself for each episode.

Symptoms of a headache include the following –

  1. Stress-based headache – Its symptoms include pressure in both parts of the head and mild to moderate headaches. The pain usually spreads around the neck and back of the head.
  2. Type of migraine headache – This often produces moderate to intense pain on one side of the head. Headache may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  3. Cluster headache – Cluster headache is very acute, usually around the eye or ear located on one side of the head. Eye redness and watery discharge on one side of the face, runny nose and eyelid drying or swelling can also occur.
  4. Rebound Headache – This can cause neck pain, restlessness, nasal congestion and sleep deprivation. Rebound headaches can be the cause of many symptoms and the pain may be different every day.
  5. Thunderclap Headache – People who experience this sudden severe headache should undergo a medical examination immediately. This pain is often called the “worst headache of my life”.

Causes of Headache – Headache Causes

Why does a headache occur?

Headache occurs due to irritation or injury to pain-sensing structures present in the head. The structures that can feel pain may include the scalp, forehead, upper head, neck and head muscles, the head’s major arteries and nerves, the sinuses, and the tissues around the brain.

Headache can occur when there is pressure, cramps, tension, swelling, or irritation in these structures. Incidents that initiate mild headache occur widely among people who have headache disease. Each person has their own different pattern.

Causes of primary headache

Primary headache is an autoimmune disease that occurs immediately due to overactivity or problems in the pain-sensitized structures present in the head.

This includes blood vessels, muscles, head and neck veins. Primary headaches can also be caused by changes in chemical activity in the brain.

Causes of Secondary Headache

Symptoms of secondary headache appear when the pain-sensory nerves present in the head are stimulated by another condition. In other words, the symptoms of a headache can be attributed to some other cause.

Various factors can together cause secondary headaches. This includes –

  1. Alcoholic hangover (excessive intoxication)
  2. Brain tumor
  3. Blood clots
  4. Bleeding in or around the brain
  5. carbon monoxide poisoning
  6. Concussion
  7. Dehydration
  8. Black cataract (glaucoma)
  9. Fever
  10. Sleeping teeth at night
  11. Influenza
  12. Excessive intake of pain medication
  13. Nervousness
  14. Come on tour
  15. Tension
  16. Hormonal fluctuations before, during or after menstruation
  17. Back and neck muscle tension
  18. Exhaustion
  19. Feeling Hungry
  20. Medications (Many medications made to relieve pain can actually cause headaches when the drug is stopped after prolonged use.)
  21. Increased intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugar Headaches can cause serious problems. It is important to seek the advice of a doctor if you have severe or frequent severe headaches.

Headache prevention -How to stop a headache?

Headaches can be painful and weakening. Try to identify any behaviors that may activate your headache pattern.

  1. Medications – Headaches can occur when abruptly discontinued after taking any pain medicine for a long time. This is called rebound or withdrawal headache. If you take more medicines to relieve pain, the headache-rebound-headache cycle continues.
  2. Alcohol – Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can cause headaches and dehydration.
  3. Nicotine – Tobacco products have been reported to cause headaches. Staying away from these products can reduce headaches as well as improve overall health.
  4. Consider your food and drink – If you have a headache, write down everything you have eaten and drank before. If you see a similar pattern over time, stay away from those objects.
  5. Eat regularly – Avoid irregularities in food.
  6. Low intake of caffeine – Taking too much of any food or drink can increase migraine, but suddenly stopping eating or drinking them can also be the reason. So try to reduce caffeine intake slowly.
  7. Get regular and adequate sleep – If you have no sleep rules or you are very tired, then it increases the chances of migraine.
  8. Reduce your stress – There are many ways to do this. For this, you can do exercise, contemplation, prayer, spend time with your loved ones and do things that will make you happy. If you want to change something that bothers you, prepare a plan for it.
  9. Maintain your energy – Eat regularly and do not let the lack of water in you.

Headache test -Diagnosis of headache

When you have a mild headache that does not show any serious symptoms, it is not necessary to test it. Blood tests are generally not useful, as the results are almost always normal, unless other symptoms are present. X-rays or CT scans are usually not necessary in the event of injury. Even X-rays or scans are often not necessary when a head injury occurs. The physical examination done in a minor headache is usually normal except for pain in the muscles of the skull or neck.

If your headache is severe, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and medical history. He will also do your physical examination. This information will help determine the type and cause of the headache.

If you see these symptoms with a headache then tell your doctor –

They occur frequently or are severe.
They do not let you sleep overnight.
They have new patterns or change in frequency.
They are new or show new symptoms.
A physician can usually diagnose a particular type of headache through a description of the condition, type of pain, and the time and pattern of the pain. If the nature of the headache appears to be complex, tests may be performed to eliminate more serious causes.

Other tests may include –

Blood tests
Brain scans, such as CT scans and MRIs

Headache Treatment

Treatment of headache

The most common methods of treating headaches are restful and pain relieving drugs. Common pain relieving drugs can be purchased easily from any medical store or doctors can recommend preventive medicines. (Information about this is given below)

It is important to follow the advice of a doctor, as excessive use of pain-relieving drugs can cause headaches again. Treatment of rebound headaches includes reducing or discontinuing the dose of painkillers.

Medications for Headache

Treatment of the underlying problem stops recurring headaches. When no other problems appear, treatment is focused on stopping the pain. When you are ready to start preventive therapy, it can be suggested by your doctor –

Antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressant-tricyclic antidepressants) – such as nortriptyline (pamelor) (nortriptyline – pamelor) can be used to treat long-term headaches. These medicines can help treat problems with daily severe headaches, such as depression, anxiety, and irregular sleep. Other antidepressants, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarphem and others) can help treat depression and anxiety, but placebo for headache. Are not more effective than
Beta blockers – These drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure (high blood pressure) are also important in preventing episodic migraines. Some beta blockers include atenolol (tenoramine), metoprolol (lopressor, toprol-xl) and propranolol (Indrail, Innopran XL).
Anti-seizure medications – Some anti-seizure medications can also be used to prevent migraines as well as prolonged daily headaches. Options include topiramate (Topamax, Qdexy XR and others), Divaprox Sodium (Depakote) and gabapentin (Neurontin, Gryllis – Gralise).
Nosteroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Medications – Medications such as naproxen sodium (anaprox, naprelan) may be helpful in this situation if you stop taking other analgesics. They can be used periodically if the headache is more severe.
Botulinum toxin – OnabotulinumtoxinA – Botox injections provide relief for some people and can be a lifelong option for those who are unable to tolerate daily medications properly.

Relieve headache and self care

Additionally, self-care can also be taken to relieve headaches. There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the risk and pain of a headache –

Bake your head or neck with an ice bag or hot water bag, but avoid extreme temperatures.
As far as possible, avoid stress. Make plans to relieve stress.
Eat regularly. Try to keep the amount of sugar in the blood constant.
A hot water shower can help with a headache, although in some rare situations, the use of hot water can increase the headache. Exercising regularly and adequate rest and regular sleep reduces stress and keeps a person healthy.

Alternative treatment for headache

There are many alternative treatments available for headaches, but it is important to consult a doctor before making any major changes or starting any treatment option.

Alternative approaches include –

Acupuncture – Acupuncture is an alternative medicine, which can help relieve headaches.
Cognitive behavior therapy
Herbal and Nutritious Health Products
Meditation or contemplation
Research does not confirm that all these methods work.