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Headache causes symptoms treatment 

Description of Headache

DefinitionAccording to dictionary definition  A headache is a pain in the head or neck.  Causes and Risk FactorsAccording to dictionary definition  A headache may occur due to many conditions that may be minor or serious. A headache may occur due to:1. Cold or flu2. Stress3. Lack of sleep4. Hunger5. Tiredness6. Eye strain7. Neck pain8. Sinus9. Dental problems10. Alcohol intake or withdrawal11. Migraine
The causes that may require immediate medical attention include:1. High blood pressure2. Stroke3. Bleeding in the brain4. Increase in cerebrospinal fluid in the skull5. Tumor in the brain6. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning7. Infection8. Inadequate blood supply to the head and the brain9. Problems with the artery that supplies blood to the brain  Signs and symptomsAccording to dictionary definition  The kind of pain, its location, severity, and duration depend on the type of a headache you have. It may be of the following types:1. Migraine headache2. Tension headache3. Cluster headache4. Paroxysmal hemicranias5. Hemicrania continua
Migraine headaches usually run in the family and are more common in women. They may last for several hours or even days and have the following symptoms:1. Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head2. Discomfort on exposure to bright light or loud sound3. Nausea4. Vomiting
Migraine headaches worsen with activity. Tension headaches are caused due to muscular contractions and may last for several hours or days. These usually have a family history. The symptoms include:1. Dull pain2. Pressure around the forehead on both the sides
Tension-type headaches get better with activity. Cluster headaches are more common in men. They may last for a few minutes to a few hours. Paroxysmal hemicranias and hemicranias occur more commonly in women. Hemicrania continua cause continuous stabbing pain on one side. Symptoms for these kinds of headaches are:1. Pain usually on the same side of the face2. Swollen eyes3. Drooping eyelids4. Runny nose5. Watery eyes
If any of these headaches stay for at least 15 days in a month, it is called a chronic headache. Risk factors for a chronic headache include:1. Being a female2. Migraine3. Obesity4. Overuse of medicines5. Stress  InvestigationsAccording to dictionary definition  The doctor will take a medical history that will include questions on:1. Injury or trauma to the head recently or in the past2. Pattern of a headache3. Severity of a headache4. Frequency of a headache5. Activity that usually begins a headache6. Exact area in the head and neck region where the pain occurs7. Other symptoms that come with the headache
Tests that may be done include:1. Complete blood count to check anemia2. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): It may be raised if there is damage to the artery that supplies blood to the head and the brain3. CT scan to look for signs of bleeding in the brain, changes in size of specific areas of the brain, blood flow, presence of any lesion, or tumors4. Lumbar puncture: A needle will be inserted into the spine at the lower back to collect the fluid inside (cerebrospinal fluid)5. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis to check for infections, tumor or buildup of fluid inside  TreatmentAccording to dictionary definition  Treatment of a headache will be directed at treating the underlying condition that is causing it. The doctor may prescribe the following to reduce the pain:1. Paracetamol2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen3. Opioids such as hydrocodone, fentanyl, and hydromorphone  Home remedies for a headacheAccording to dictionary definition  Several home remedies can be helpful in headaches:  1. Massage with peppermint oil or rosemary oil.2. Keep yourself hydrated and stay away from caffeine and high sugar drinks.3. Have a handful of almonds every day.4. Use a cold compress or a hot compress depending on what works for you.5. Chew a piece of ginger or boil it in some water and sip on it.6. Drink a tablespoon of fish oil every day. You can also use fish oil capsules.7. Inhale lavender oil by adding two drops of it in boiling water.8. Apply a paste of cinnamon powder in the water on your forehead.9. Chew a few basil leaves or prepare a decoction in water and sip it regularly. You can also inhale the steam by adding it in boiling water.10. Keep yourself active by exercising preferably in the fresh air. Do yoga regularly.  Complications and When Should You See a DoctorAccording to dictionary definition  The complications depend on the underlying cause of a headache. These may become chronic. See a doctor if your headache:1. Is severe2. Interferes with your daily activities3. Is accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting4. Causes vision problems such as double vision or loss of vision in one eye5. Causes mental confusion, loss of memory, and vertigo  Prognosis and PreventionAccording to dictionary definition  A headache is a symptom and an indication of other conditions. The prognosis will depend on what is causing it. Minor causes of a headache may or may not require treatment and usually do not occur once the underlying cause is taken care of.Migraines get better with age and when triggers factors are avoided. Acupuncture and biofeedback also help in migraine type headaches. Follow these tips for relief from a migraine:1. Get sufficient sleep2. Avoid food triggers such as alcohol3. Avoid bright light, loud sound, or strong odors
The doctor may prescribe medicines for frequent and severe headaches. These will depend on the cause of a headache. Preventive medicine for migraine headaches include:1. Beta-blockers such as propranolol and nadolol2. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen3. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline4. Anticonvulsants such as valproate and topiramate
Preventive medicine for cluster headaches includes:1. Calcium-channel blockers such as amlodipine2. Anticonvulsants such as valproate and topiramateIndomethacin may be prescribed for paroxysmal hemicrania and hemicrania continua.  ReferencesAccording to dictionary definition  Russi CS, Walker L. Headache. In: Walls M, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap17.Digre KB. Headaches and other head pain. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman €™s Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 398.  

 

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