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Headaches: Definition and Causes

Recent research shows that approximately 49% of adults all around the world have experienced a headache within last year. Headache disorders can be symptoms of other conditions or lead to the development of other ailments. Interesting fact, that depression is more likely for individuals with severe headaches than for healthy people.     

So, what is a headache?

Actually, headache is a term that comprises many different things. If to speak about the most comprehensive definition, headaches are pains that can occur in any region of the head: be on both sides of it or be isolated. They can travel across the head starting from the central point or can be concentrated in one at the same place. Pains can be characterized as sharp, throbbing, or dull, appear suddenly or gradually, and last for several days or less than an hour.

What can cause headaches?

According to the International Headache Society, there are primary and secondary headaches. Both types of pains have different reasons of appearing.

#1 Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are an illness which stands alone other diseases and are caused by the over activity or problems with pain-sensitive structures in the head, such as the blood vessels, muscles, and nerves of the head and neck. It is also can be a result of the changes in brain chemical activity.

The list of most typical primary headaches includes tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines. Some types of a headache can combine qualities of the primary and secondary. It can happen because they may be an isolated ailment or be a result of another illness. They can involve:

  1.    A headache that appears because of the direct physical stimuli (temperature or external pressure);
  2.    Pain that spread over the scalp (epicranial);
  3.    Physical strain;
  4.    Also, can be other miscellaneous headaches.

#2 Secondary Headaches

It is headaches which are symptoms of another condition that influence on the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. There are a great number of reasons that can cause secondary headaches, beginning with the severity of an alcohol-included hangover to a brain tumor.

Besides two listed above examples, secondary headaches can be caused by:

As you can see a headache can be a symptom of a serious disease, so you have to pay attention to any changes in common pain. For instance, if a headache becomes more severe and persistent than precious, hardly improves by the medication, and is accompanied by symptoms like fever, confusion, and sensory stiffness, it is of vital importance to seek medical help or advice.

Despite the fact that headaches are widespread ailments, not many people know how dangerous they can be if to left things drift.

Gary Starkman Dr. Starkman, a top Neurologist in NYC, is the Medical Director and founder of New York Neurology Associates. He is Board Certified in Neurology with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine.

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