Facts

  • One of the most common sites of pain in the body is the head

Overview

A headache describes pain arising from the upper neck or head. This pain does not come from nerves but from tissues and structures surrounding the brain, as the brain does not have nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain. When tissues and structures surrounding the brain become inflamed pain may result. The pain may be sharp, achy, throbbing, mild, or intense.

Types

Headaches are classified based on the source of pain. The three major types of headaches are:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches

Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis/Tests

A history of your headache will be taken to help determine the type of headache. It is important to describe your headache characteristics and symptoms as completely as possible. Things to note include:

  • When the headaches occurs
  • How often the headaches occur
  • Symptoms that accompany the headache
  • Any triggers

Following a complete history, a physical and neurological exam will be performed
These exams will look for signs and symptoms of a condition or illness that may be the cause of your headache.

Causes

A headache may be the symptom of another disease or condition but for some there is no clear cause. A few conditions associated with headaches include:

  • Concussion
  • Dehydration
  • Ear Infection
  • Glaucoma
  • Meningitis
  • Stress

Treatment Options & Care

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Over the counter pain medications
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Hot or cold compress