Headache (cephalalgia)

Fig - Headache

Definition:
When a person has a headache, several areas of the head can hurt, including a network of nerves that extends over the scalp and certain nerves in the face, mouth, and throat. The muscles of the head and the blood vessels found along the surface and at the base of the brain are also sensitive to pain because they contain delicate nerve fibers. The bones of the skull and tissues of the brain itself never hurt because they lack pain-sensitive nerve fibers.

Types of Headache

Fig - Headache

There are two main types of headache:

Primary
Primary headaches include tension-type, migraine, and cluster headaches and rebound are not caused by other underlying medical conditions. More than 90% of headaches are primary.

Secondary
Secondary headaches result from other medical conditions, ranging from brain tumor to stroke to sinus infection. These account for fewer than 10% of all headaches.

Symptoms

If you experience the following symptoms, you may need professional help.

  • A headache accompanied by fever or vomiting.
  • A headache associated with blurred vision, difficulty speaking, or numbness or weakness of the arms or legs.
  • Headaches that seem to be increasing in intensity or frequency over time.
  • A "thunderclap" headache or headache associated with loss of consciousness.
  • Headaches that require daily use of pain-reliever medications.
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