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Everyone has experienced headache at some point in their lives. Its pain, anywhere in the region of head or neck.

Pain is caused by the disturbances of the pain sensitive structures around the brain as brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain.

In majority of them, the pain subsides on adequate sleep or taking a Paracetamol or in some cases as during cold, flu and during viral illness, the pain lasts longer.

You will probably visit the doctor when you have exhausted your methods to get over it.

Types of Headaches:

  • Tension headache
  • Migraine Headache
  • Temporal headache
  • Cluster Headache

Tension headache is associated with pain in head, scalp or neck area associated with muscle tightness.

Migraine: Common type of headache associated with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Temporal headache is usually in women over 60 years of age.

Cluster headache is very rare type which usually awakens the patient from sleep. Pain is intense, cyclical with periods of normalcy in between, on one side of the head.

Other causes are

  • Hypertension
  • Sinusitis
  • Meningitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Subarachnoid Haemorrhage
  • Tumors
  • High altitudes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Encephalitis

MIGRAINE: Most common cause of vascular headache, afflicting 15% of women and 6% of men.

Its defined as benign and recurring syndrome of headache, nausea, vomiting and other neurological dysfunction.

Migraine activators are

  • Red wine
  • Menses
  • Hunger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Glare
  • Estrogen
  • Worry
  • Perfumes

Migraine deactivators are

  • Sleep
  • Pregnancy
  • Exhilaration

Headache symptoms which suggest serious underlying disorder and requires the patient to call emergency are

  • Worst headache ever
  • First severe headache
  • Vomiting precedes headache
  • Disturbs sleep and present immediately upon awakening
  • Worsening over days and weeks
  • Onset after 55 years of age

Table of Contents


1. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine

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