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Headache is pain that may occur in any region of the head. It is a common persistent pain syndrome affecting the community. Headaches may be isolated to a certain location of the head or may occur on both sides of the head. It could also radiate across the head from one point to another region of the head. Usually, people may experience headache as a sharp pain or a throbbing sensation. Headaches may last from less than an hour to several weeks and can develop gradually or suddenly.

There are many potential causes. It is important to rule out serious and treatable conditions with careful assessment and diagnosis from your doctor because some headaches may result from a life-threatening condition requiring emergency care. However, most headaches aren’t the result of a serious illness

Different kinds of headaches can have their own set of symptoms which may require different treatments. Once your doctor can find the treatment, it will most likely help and even try to prevent them.

Primary headaches vs Secondary headaches

Primary headaches are usually caused by lifestyle factors. A primary headache is when the headache itself is the main problem and not a symptom of an underlying disease. It is caused by overactivity of pain-sensitive structures such as nerves or blood vessels surrounding the skull, or muscles of your head and neck. Below are a few types of primary headaches:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Cough headaches
  • Exercise headaches

Some factors that could trigger headaches are:

  • Illness- infections, colds, fevers, sinusitis, throat and ear infections.
  • Stress- Physical stress, emotional stress, depression, skipping meals, consumption of alcohol, changes in sleep patterns
  • Environment- second-hand smoking, smell from household chemicals such as perfumes and allergens. Certain foods. Weather changes.
  • Genetics- family history of migraine headaches.


Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying medical condition such a disease, infection, severe injury, tumors, and bleeding in the brain. The pain-sensitive nerves of the head are activated due to the underlying medical condition. Secondary headaches are extremely important to recognise and treat as they are serious and may be life- threatening due to a serious medical condition.

Listed below are among the most likely causes of secondary headaches:

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Blood clot
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Stroke
  • Meningitis
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Glaucoma
  • Ear infections
  • Dehydration
  • Concussions
  • Brain tumor
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning


How are headaches treated?

Doctors might recommend different types of treatments so that the symptoms can be relieved or stopped completely. The type of treatment you need will depend on the how often you experience the headache, the type and cause of the headache. See a doctor if you experience headaches that reoccur more than usual or more severe than usual after appropriate use of over-the-counter drugs. Headaches can cause you distress and keep you from working, sleeping or participating in normal activities. It is best to seek medical help as soon as the headache keeps reoccurring or getting severe.

If you are experiencing a sudden, severe headache or a headache accompanied by confusion, fainting, trouble seeing, trouble walking, trouble speaking, trouble understanding speech, high


The contents contained within this page are not a substitute for health professionals’ advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We advise that you seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner. We fully disclose that any surgical or invasive procedures come with risks.

For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most.

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