A headache is pain in any region of the head. It may occur on one or both sides of the head. A headache can be a sharp pain, throbbing sensation or a dull ache. It can last for only a few minutes or for several days.
There are many potential headache causes. Work with your health care provider for an accurate diagnosis. Headaches are generally classified into two main types: primary and secondary.
Primary headaches are caused by problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head and aren’t a symptom of an underlying disease or condition. Chemical activity in your brain, nerves, blood vessels or muscles of your head and neck may all be a factor in these types of headaches. They can be triggered by lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, foods, sleep patterns, posture and stress.
Secondary headaches are a symptom of a disease. Any number of conditions that vary from mild to life-threatening may cause secondary headaches.
Some of the sources of secondary headaches include:
As stated before, a headache can be a symptom of a serious condition. You should go to the Emergency Department or call 911 if you have the worst headache of your life, a sudden, severe headache accompanied by any or all of these:
You should schedule a visit with your health care provider if you experience headaches that:
There are several ways to treat headaches. You should work with your health care provider to help you manage them.
Headaches aren’t completely preventable, but there are a few things you can do to help:
Headaches can have a major effect on your quality of life. Staying positive plays an important role in managing your headaches, along with practicing proper treatment and prevention. Contact your health care team if you have any questions or concerns about headaches.