A headache is pain in any part of the head, including the scalp, upper neck, face, and interior of the head.
Headaches are one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor.
Headaches interfere with the ability to work and do daily tasks. Some people have frequent headaches. Other people hardly ever have them.
What can cause Headaches?
Although headaches can be painful and distressing, they are rarely due to a serious condition. Headaches can be divided into two types:
- Primary headaches: Not caused by another disorder
- Secondary headaches: Caused by another disorder
Primary headache disorders include migraine, cluster headache, and tension-type headache.
Secondary headaches may result from disorders of the brain, eyes, nose, throat, sinuses, teeth, jaws, ears, or neck or from a systemic disorder.
A Cervicogenic Headache is where pain originating from the cervical spine localised to the neck & occipital region; pain is precipitated or aggravated by specific neck movements or sustained postures & may radiate to forehead, orbital region, temples or ears.
A primary neurovascular primary headache disorder characterised by severe, short duration, strictly unilateral pain (retro-orbital or periorbital), headaches accompanied by prominent cranial facial parasympathetic autonomic features Form of Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalagias (TAC).
International Headache Society (IHS) classifies by duration as episodic or chronic:
- Episodic: occurs in periods (clusters) lasting from 7 days to 1 year; clusters separated by pain-free intervals lasting at least 2 weeks, usually a cluster lasts 2 weeks to 3 months
- Chronic: occur for more than 1 year without remission or with remissions lasting less than 2 weeks; difficult to treat as it is resistant to standard prophylactic agents
A Migraine Headache is a recurring head pain due to changes in the brain & surrounding vasculature. Migraine headaches are one of the most common problems seen in doctors’ offices
Two types of migraine
Migraine without aura (common migraine) ~ 80% of migraines
Migraine with aura (classic migraine) ~20% of migraines
Aura or prodrome – symptoms of nervous system (usually visual or olfactory) that precede a migraine & are usually followed by headache within an hour
About 60% of patients will report a prodrome developing hours to days before the onset of the headache
What treatment may help me?