What could headache be a sign of?

 

what could headache be a sign of

 

Almost all of us have already experienced headaches. Sometimes it is within a short period of time but sometimes it can last several days. No matter of the cause, most of the time our answer to these headaches is simple: taking over-the-counter painkillers.

Often having a cup of tea and adequate rest along with painkillers are sufficient for getting rid of mild and short daily headaches. Moreover, it is known that headaches from prolonged fasting can be relieved by eating something sweet. However, it should be remembered that most of the time headaches happen due to another problem in our body which sometimes may require more serious attention than just taking a painkiller. In this article, we would introduce you to some of these so-called red-flag signs that need some medical attentions. Here is what you will read next:

 

What could headache be a sign of?

Causes of common daily headaches

When to see a doctor when having headaches? 

 

 

What could headache be a sign of?

It is interesting to know that our brain tissue has no receptors to feel pain. The pain we feel as a headache is in fact perceived only by specific areas of intracranial tissue. For example, the arteries inside the brain or skull have sensitive receptors that when they become stimulated, we feel it in the form of headaches.

In addition, the nerves that leave the brain and go all the way toward the head and neck, as well as the muscles, skin, skull and face can also trigger the headache specially when they get stimulated. In general, the main causes of headache can be summarized as:

 

Headaches are usually divided into two categories: (i) primary and (ii) secondary headaches.

1- primary headaches:

These headaches have no exact known causes and include:

 

Tension headache:

It is an annoying, non-throbbing headache that can sometimes be accompanied by tightness of the forehead, site of hair growth, scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles. Some people describe this headache as having a tight bandage wrapped around the head.

Tension headaches are believed to be caused by muscle contractions and spasms on the surface of the skull, head and neck, which are usually triggered by some events such as emotional and psychological stress, intense physical activity (such as having a busy day) or even by eating certain foods.

These headaches can usually be relieved by resting, adequate hydration, and taking common painkillers such as ibuprofen. Sometimes other anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, such as naproxen, indomethacin, and ketorolac, may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve the pain.

 

Cluster headaches:

These are headaches with burning or stinging sensations lasting for about fifteen minutes to three hours. The pain may be felt around the eyes, often just behind one eye and sometimes only in half of the face. When a cluster headache attack occurs, the person usually experiences swelling of the eyes, runny eyes, and nasal congestion in the left or right side of the face involved in the headache.

These headaches usually worsen in the fall and spring, and they often start at a certain time, for example, every day or month at a specific time. Calcium channel blockers (like Calan, Verelan, etc.) prescribed by your doctor can be an effective painkiller for this type of headache.

 

Migraine:

It is a severe and throbbing headache that can be felt in one or both halves of the head. The person having migraine headache suffers from photosensitivity (photophobia) and sometimes sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and prefers to stay in a completely dark and quiet room. This pain can last from four hours to three days.

Migraines are classified as follows:

  • Migraine with aura (classic migraine)
  • Migraine without aura
  • Basilar migraine
  • Migraine with ocular paralysis
  • Hemiplegic migraine
  • Status migrainosus
  • Complicated migraine
  • Migraines in children
  • Abdominal migraine

 

Unfortunately, the exact cause of migraine is still unknown and therefore its effective treatment.

2- Secondary headaches:

These headaches are caused by well-studied and known underlying factors. The most common causes of secondary headaches are as follows:

Post-traumatic headaches:

Headaches caused by cerebrovascular and intracranial vascular disorders

  • Cerebral aneurysms

Headaches due to central nervous system infections

Tumors

Consumption of drugs

Homeostatic disorders

Hypertension

Hypoxia

Headaches that originate in the components of the head and face:

Allergies

Psychiatric disorders and diseases

Today a new category has been added to the above two primary and secondary headaches which is:

Cranial neuralgia and facial pain

Sharp and short-term pains happening within a few seconds, which are:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
  • Nervus intermedius neuralgia
  • Superior laryngeal neuralgia
  • Nasociliary neuralgia
  • Supraorbital neuralgia
  • Other terminal branch neuralgias
  • Occipital neuralgia
  • neck-tongue syndrome
  • External compression headache
  • cold-stimulus headache

 

Causes of common daily headaches

Despite all the above reasons, it is good to know that our usual daily headaches are usually caused by the following reasons:

  • Dehydration:

Try to prevent dehydration by consuming fresh and clean water regularly

  • Neck and skull muscle spasm
  • Consumption of some foods like moldy cheese
  • Hunger
  • Toothache
  • Hormonal changes (for example, headaches in the days close to menstruation)
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Interruption in the regular consumption of foods and drinks high in caffeine like tea or coffee

what could headache be a sign of

 

When to see a doctor?

In the following situations, it is necessary to see a doctor to assess the causes of the headache and its proper treatment:

  • If you are experiencing the most severe headache of your life, you should go to an equipped medical center immediately
  • Bleeding in the skull causes severe headaches with a sudden onset that can be fatal if the treatment is delayed.
  • If the headache is accompanied by fever and stiff neck
  • If the headache is accompanied by a decrease in level of consciousness
  • Headache following a head injury accompanied by bloody discharges from the nose (rhinorrhea) and ear (otorrhea)
  • Headache with memory impairment
  • If the headache is accompanied by visual disturbances (severe headaches in the temporomandibular region that are accompanied by decreased vision can lead to blindness if left untreated. These headaches are called temporal arthritis.)
  • Headache with deviation of the tongue, or weakness of the limbs (for example inability to raise the arms)
  • Headache with speech disorders 

 

 

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