A headache is a pain in your head or face, and is often described as a constant, sharp, dull, or throbbing pressure. Headaches are a common condition most people experience during their lives. Research shows that they are the most common form of pain, and are a huge reason for people to visit a pain clinic.
Depending on the frequency, location, severity and the type of pain, headaches can differ greatly. While most of them are not dangerous, there can be specific types that can be a sign of some serious underlying conditions. There are more than 150 types of headaches. Headaches are mainly categorized into two groups:
1. Primary Headaches
These are typically caused by dysfunction or over-activity of pain sensitive features in your head. Primary headaches aren’t usually dangerous, but can still be painful and interfere with your everyday life. Here are some types of primary headaches:
- Tension-type Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Migraine Headaches
- New Daily Persistent Headaches
According to experts, some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors and situations. These include:
- Poor posture
- Skipped meals
- Alcohol, specifically red wine
- Foods such as processed meat that contains nitrates
- Changes in sleep routine
- Lack of sleep
- Consumption of nicotine
- Coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, laughing or crying vigorously
2. Secondary Headaches
These are usually caused by, and considered symptoms of underlying medical conditions. The following are the types of secondary headaches that aren’t necessarily dangerous once the underlying condition is treated:
- Dehydration Headaches
- Sinus Headaches
- Medication Overuse Headaches
On the other hand, there are some secondary headaches that can be a sign of life-threatening conditions. These include:
- Spinal Headaches
- Thunderclap Headaches
Anyone can have a headache. This includes children, adolescents and adults. Research shows that about 96% of people experience headaches at least once in their lifetime. Furthermore, around 40% people around the world go through tension-type headaches and about 10% have migraine headaches. If you or your child experience any of the following symptoms, visit a doctor right away:
- Sudden, new and severe headache
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, rash, or shortness of breath
- Headaches that occur after an accident or head injury
- Getting a new type of headache after age 55
On the other hand, if you experience following symptoms along with a headache visit the Best Neurologist in Lahore immediately:
- Severe weakness
- Abrupt loss of balance or falling
- Numbness or tingling
- Mental confusion
- Difficulty in speech
- Inappropriate behavior
- Changes in personality
- Changes in vision; double vision, blurry vision, or blind spots
When you feel pain during a headache, it comes from a mix of signals among your brain, blood vessels and nearby nerves. Certain nerves in your blood vessels and head muscles switch on and take the responsibility of sending pain signals to your brain. There are a number of causes for headaches. Here are some of them:
Emotional stress and mental conditions like depression can be a major cause of headaches. Often, these can be paired with consumption of alcohol, changes in sleep patterns, skipping meals, and taking too much medication. Other causes include neck and back strain due to poor posture.
This includes infections, colds, and fevers. Headaches are commonly associated with sinuses, throat infections, and ear infections. In some cases, they can be a result of serious head injuries too.
Poor environment can induce headaches. This includes constantly inhaling tobacco smoke, smelling strong chemicals and perfumes, and being exposed to allergens and certain foods. Pollution, noise and weather changes can also be possible triggers.
Research shows that genetics can be a cause of headaches. Migraine headaches specifically, are known to run in families, where parental history can increase the risk of headaches.
If your symptoms continue to worsen, it is a good idea to visit a Neurologist in Karachi for treatment. Treatment for headaches depends on the type. For primary headaches, treatment is done after crucial triggers are investigated. Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers, or prescribe other medications to alleviate the pain.
On the other hand, if the cause of your headache is an underlying medical condition, your doctor may begin by treating it first. They may also suggest counseling and stress management techniques to help handle your triggers better.