What are Headaches?

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What are headaches? Almost everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their life. There are different types of headaches which are triggered by different factors. If you are someone who has experienced a headache, you know how irritating it can be. I am going to discuss the different types of headaches, their classifications, causes, and the treatments that are available to help people minimize the pain effects that headaches have on a person.

Headaches are typically classified as Primary or Secondary. Primary headaches are those for which no specific structural etiology has been found (, 2014). More than 90% of headaches are considered primary (Painter, 2014). The four primary headache types include tension, migraine, cervicogenic, and cluster headaches and are not caused by other underlying medical conditions. (Painter, 2014)

Tension headaches are the most common primary classification and affect more than 75% of headache sufferers (Painter, 2014). They can be divided into three categories based on how often they occur:

1. Infrequent episode – When is happens less than once per month

2. Frequent episodic – When it occurs 1 – 14 times per month

3. Chronic – When it happens 15 days or more in a month

Tension type headaches usually cause pain that radiates in a band-like fashion. Tension headache can cause pain in the head, scalp, or neck and is usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas. Tension headaches can affect a person of any age however, it is most common in adolescents and adults. These headaches occur when the neck and scalp muscles become tense, or contract. People experience a dull, pressure-like pain and it is all over the head, not centralized ...

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...ymptoms, new or unusual type of headache, older age, immunocompromised state, sudden or worst headache of your life, fever, stiff neck, swelling of the optic nerves, or headache not responding to treatment or becoming increasingly worse. Secondary headaches are caused by some other condition that triggers the headache. Some common causes of secondary headaches are brain tumors, head and neck trauma, stroke, infection, or carbon monoxide poisoning. In order to treat secondary headaches, you have to diagnose what the primary cause of the headache is. Once that is determined and treated, the secondary headache should subside.

There is no cure for those that suffer from primary headaches but, there are options that allow some relief from the pain of these headaches. Secondary headaches can be relieved by treating the underlying problem that is causing the headache.
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