Headache – discomfort or pain in the head or face – is second only to the common cold as the medical complaint heard most often. The pain from headache can be disabling causing people to miss work, school and social functions.
Headaches are also called cephalgias. Migraine are a different type of headache that has a list of different types of migraine symptoms.
Primary or secondary
Headaches that are described as primary aren’t blamed on any other underlying cause or condition. When the headache is a symptom of another disorder, injury or disease it is called a secondary headache. Most often, even if a it is caused by another disorder, the disorders are usually not serious.
Facts about headache
Each year, more than 10 million people go to the doctor or emergency room suffering from headaches
Headache is one the top 10 reasons people see the doctor
More than 80 percent of women in developed countries suffer from tension headache
Headache is also a leading reason children miss days from school
Over 100 million headache sufferers in this country with about 40% with migraine/migrainous headache
What makes the head ache
The pain in a headache can originate in the network of nerves that are spread over the scalp, in the face, mouth and throat. Headaches can also come from pain in the head muscles or in the blood vessels in the brain.
Most headaches are benign, harmless. However, in certain cases headaches can be a sign or symptom of a serious disorder or disease. Seek immediate medical attention if you have headaches with the following characteristics that:
Occur more frequently or increase severity
Happen every day
Occur suddenly and severely, similar to a thunderclap
Begin after age 50
Change in the pattern or nature of headaches
Cause seizures or confusion
Occur along with fever, severely elevated blood pressure, stiff neck, vision changes, changes in sensation, weakness, fainting or loss of coordination
Written by: Otesa Miles | Last reviewed: August 2014