Headache pain is felt in the head or upper neck of the body. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain (pain fibers). The periosteum that surrounds bones; muscles that encase the skull, sinuses, eyes, and ears; and meninges that cover the surface of the brain and spinal cord, arteries, veins, and nerves, all can become inflamed or irritated to cause a headache. This pain is a dull ache that may be sharp, throbbing, constant, mild, or intense.
Three Major Categories of Headaches
There are three major categories of headache based upon the source of the pain:
- Primary headaches: The most common types of primary headaches are tension, migraine and cluster. It occurs when pain-sensitive structures in the head do not work properly.
- Secondary headaches: These are a symptom of an injury or an underlying illness.
- Cranial neuralgia, facial pain and other headaches.
Causes of Headaches
Headaches are caused by different factors.
Primary headaches are caused directly by the over activity of, or problems with, structures in the head that are pain-sensitive. This includes the blood vessels, muscles and nerves of the head and neck, as well as chemical activity taking place inside the brain.
A number of conditions can cause secondary headaches, ranging in severity from an alcohol-induced hangover to a brain tumor. It can also be the result of conditions such as stroke, but can equally be a consequence of eating cold food too quickly. The following list can cause secondary headaches:
- Blood clots
- Brain freeze (ice cream headaches)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Overuse of pain medication (rebound headaches)
- Panic attacks
When to Seek Medical Care
Some headaches may be a sign of a serious illness. You need medical care when you experience one or more of the following:
- Your headache is affecting your daily activity.
- Your headache comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent.
- You are experiencing slurred speech, a change in vision, problems moving your arms or legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss with your headache.
- Your headache doesn’t get better even after 24 hours.
- You have fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting with your headache.
- Your headache occurs with a head injury.
- Your headache is severe and there is redness in one eye.
- Your headaches are associated with vision problems, pain while chewing, or weight loss.
- You have a history of cancer and develop a new headache.
Are You Suffering with Headaches and Need Medical Care? Call IMC
Headaches can be a symptom of a serious condition. Seek medical care in order to diagnose and treat the pain and avoid further pain or damages. Call IMC today for a personalized treatment plan. We have an experienced pain management team who will listen and discuss your pain and treat you accordingly. Call 845-535-9884.