Headaches

Headaches can be more complicated than most people realize. Different kinds can have their own set of symptoms, happen for unique reasons, and need different kinds of treatment.
Once you know the type of headache you have, you and your doctor can find the treatment that’s most likely to help and even try to prevent them.

Headaches

A headache is a pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a viselike quality.
A headache may appear as a sharp pain, a throbbing sensation or a dull ache. Headaches can develop gradually or suddenly and may last from less than an hour to several days.


What Are the Types of Headaches?

There are 150 different types of headaches. The most common ones are:

Tension headaches: Also called stress headaches, chronic daily headaches, or chronic non-progressive headaches, they are the most common type among adults and teens. They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time.

Migraines: These headaches are often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually happen one to four times per month. Along with the pain, people have other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or belly pain. When a child has a migraine, she often looks pale, feels dizzy, and has blurry vision, fever, and an upset stomach.
A small percentage of children's migraines include digestive symptoms, like vomiting, that happen about once a month. They’re sometimes called abdominal migraines.
Though migraine causes aren't understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role.
Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.
Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved. Researchers are still studying the role of serotonin in migraines.
Serotonin levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal nerve to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain's outer covering (meninges). The result is migraine pain. Other neurotransmitters play a role in the pain of a migraine, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).

Mixed headache syndrome: Also called transformed migraines, this condition is a mix of migraine and tension headaches. Both adults and children can have it.

Cluster headaches: This type is intense and feels like a burning or piercing pain behind the eyes, either throbbing or constant. It’s the least common but the most severe type of headache. The pain can be so bad that most people with cluster headaches can’t sit still and will often pace during an attack.
They’re called “cluster headaches” because they tend to happen in groups. You might get them one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last 2 weeks to 3 months. The headaches may disappear completely (go into "remission") for months or years, only to come back again.

Sinus headaches: With these, you feel a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose. They happen when cavities in your head, called sinuses, get inflamed. The pain usually comes along with other sinus symptoms, such as a runny nose, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and swelling in your face.
Acute headaches: Kids get these headaches that start suddenly and go away after a short time. If there are no symptoms of other nerve problems, the most common cause is a respiratory or sinus infection.

Hormone headaches: Women can get headaches from changing hormone levels during their periods, pregnancy, and menopause. The hormone changes from birth control pills also trigger headaches in some women.
Chronic progressive headaches: Also called traction or inflammatory headaches, these get worse and happen more often over time. They make up less than 5% of all headaches in adults and less than 2% of all headaches in kids. They may be the result of an illness or disorder of the brain or skull.



What Causes Headaches?

The pain you feel during a headache comes from a mix of signals between your brain, blood vessels, and nearby nerves. Specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles switch on and send pain signals to your brain. But it's not clear why these signals turn on in the first place.

People often get headaches because of:
Illness: such as an infection, cold, or fever. They’re also common with conditions like sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), a throat infection, or an ear infection. In some cases, the headaches may be the result of a blow to the head or rarely, a sign of a more serious medical problem.

Stress commonly causes of tension headaches include emotional stress and depression as well as alcohol use, skipping meals, changes in sleep patterns, and taking too much medication. Other causes include eyestrain and neck or back strain due to poor posture.

Your environment, including secondhand tobacco smoke, strong smells from household chemicals or perfumes, allergens, and certain foods. Stress, pollution, noise, lighting, and weather changes are other possible triggers.

Headaches, especially migraines, tend to run in families. Most children and teens (90%) who have migraines have other family members who get them. When both parents have a history of migraines, there is a 70% chance that their child will also have them. If only one parent has a history of these headaches, the risk drops to 25%-50%.

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes migraines. A popular theory is that triggers cause unusual brain activity, which causes changes in the blood vessels there. Some forms of migraines are linked to genetic problems in certain parts of the brain.
Too much physical activity can also trigger a migraine in adults and children.
Did you know? Migraine Infographic






Sources
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20202434



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