Introduction to Headache
Headaches are one of the most common health concerns experienced by people and can be indicative of a large range of conditions.
What is a Headache?
Headaches are one of the most common health concerns experienced by people and can be indicative of a large range of conditions. While most headaches are minor, everyday, and don’t require medication, they are occasionally indicative of a wide range of potential conditions and it is worth noting when it is appropriate to seek medical attention.
What causes a Headache?
It is unknown what causes many headaches, especially tension headaches, though there are number of conditions where headaches will present as a symptom, at which point the underlying condition will be treated.
Headaches can be caused by infection/inflammation of any part of the anatomy of the head, issues with the muscles of the jaw and face and blunt trauma.
Serious issues such as meningitis, intracranial haemorrhages or bleeds, stroke and intracranial aneurysms can all cause headaches. It is worth considering other symptoms that present alongside the headache: For example a headache caused by meningitis will also present alongside a selection of other symptoms such as a stiff neck, photophobia (extreme discomfort at and fear of bright lights) and a rash.
What are the symptoms of a Headache?
There are a few classifications for different headaches based on their symptoms: Tension headaches are normal occurrences and the overwhelming majority of people will have experienced them at some point. Migraines come accompanied with severe, debilitating pain and sensitivity to bright lights and harsh sounds. Cluster headaches tend to be experienced with a high frequency of nauseatingly painful headaches specifically in certain conditions, such as at certain times of the year or perhaps at certain altitudes.
There are a number of factors that could help determine whether a headache is a cause for concern: These can be the rapid onset of a headache you haven’t experienced before, it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a temperature and weight fluctuations, it may present alongside cognitive changes such as sensory problems or even personality changes. Additionally if the headaches progress in some way, such as if they become increasingly painful and frequent, it is worth seeking medical attention.
How is a Headache treated?
Treatment is dependent on the nature of the headache. For example infection will be treated with antibiotics or antivirals depending on their exact cause. If the headache has a vascular cause then many of the blood pressure related medications used for heart disease can be used.
However, it is important to note that an isolated, mild headache is not a major cause for concern and can be treated with over the counter painkillers if necessary. Should the headache present alongside other symptoms, with a history of headaches, or with an infection or new diagnosis it is worth seeking medical attention to allay any concerns you may have.