Headaches are the most common disorders which can occur to people of all ages but women are highly prone to it. A headache can be a sign of stress or anxiety or a medical disorder such as migraine. Some major headaches can result in brain tumors. As per the reports of WHO (World Health Organization), half of the adults in this world experiences a headache in any given year.
There are almost 150 types of headaches. Some of them include tension headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, chronic, post-traumatic and migraine headaches among many others. As headaches are a serious condition, seek immediate medical attention if the pain is regular, persistent and more severe. Primary headaches can be a result of overactivity, problems with, structures within the head which are pain sensitive. Primary headaches include blood vessels, muscles, nerves of head and neck. Common primary headaches are migraine, cluster headaches, and tension headaches.
Basically secondary headaches are headache symptoms which can attribute to another cause. These can be caused by various factors like a brain tumor, stroke, concussion, Teeth-grinding night, dehydration and several other factors.
Tension headaches are most common in adults and teenagers. The basic reason behind these headaches can be the pressure of studies or work. The pain of tension headaches may be mild or moderate which can come and go over time. They usually don’t occur with any symptoms.
These headaches are the most severe ones as a patient can feel intense burning or pierce around both or around one eye. The pain can be so severe that a person can’t sit still and will often pace during the attack. Sometimes eye reddens, the pupil gets smaller and nostrils on side stuff up. These are known as cluster headaches as they usually occur in groups. There is no fixed period for its occurrence, you may experience it one or three times a week, which may last till 2 weeks or for months. Each headache attack lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours. These headaches can wake you up from deep sleep. Men are three to four times to get these headaches as women.
Mostly Migraine headaches are recognized as the pain of “Gas”, “Weak Eyes”, “Sinus”. It does not include only severe debilitating headaches. Its complications range from mild to severe, which varies from person to person. Migraine with aura (usually visual symptoms) is also called Classic migraine and occurs in 15% of patients. Migraine without aura (also called Common Migraine) occurs in 85% of patients. Most of the headaches suffered by people in the world are a migraine.
The management of headaches commences from clinical diagnosis or with the help of certain tests which rules out dangerous secondary headache disorders. The treatment of migraine involves Lifestyle changes, Preventive Therapy, Rescue therapy.
It is important to recognize and appropriately deal with these disabling headaches to prevent Medicine overuse headache (MOH) which occurs when people take acute medications. Overuse of pain killers can cause ulcers and kidney dysfunction. For the patients, who have daily headaches and went to the unbearable stage, for them therapies like “Botox” are available.
By Dr. Rajshekhar Reddi
Principal Consultant & Unit Head – Neurology
Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket