Headache, or also called cephalalgia, is one of the most common ailments among human beings. Headaches are often located on the head itself, and can reach up to the upper neck. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain. It varies from mild to severe and may last less than an hour or prolonged for days.
Headaches are caused by a number of conditions. A head injury, tense head or neck muscles, or throbbing arteries in the scalp can be a few causes. Eye strain, fever, sinus infection, or an allergic reaction can also lead to headache. In relatively few cases, brain tumor or some other brain diseases are related to headache. Some who experience headache may have additional symptoms such as neck pain or upset stomach, or become extremely sensitive to light and noise.
Kinds of Headache
Headaches are generally categorized into two, acute and chronic. Acute headaches occur infrequently and mostly for a short time. Acute headaches occur occasionally to most people, but very few seek a physician’s advice since the pain does not persist. Usually, rest and nonprescription drugs relieve the discomfort.
Chronic Headaches happen frequently or may go on for several days. Two of the most common types that fall under chronic headaches are migraine and tension headache.
Migraine, also called sick headache, is one of the most painful type of headaches. It is oftentimes associated with nausea and vomiting. Several factors attribute to migraine. Migraine is cause by increased stretching, swelling, and throbbing of the arteries in the head. For some people, food such as chocolate and various cheese trigger migraine.
Migraine occur many times and often are very painful that the victim needs to stay in bed. Some people suffer from migraines as frequently as two to three times a week. For other cases, attacks occur several months in between or even years apart. Each migraine attack follows a certain pattern. Before the pain begins, the victim usually experiences fatigue, dizziness, blindness or intense sensitivity to light. Then, extreme pain follows and often include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and cognitive confusion. As the pain subsides, the victim is left feeling tired, sore and slightly confused.
Migraine Surgery is defined as any surgical operation performed to reduce or prevent migraine. Though there are many successful clinical outcomes, migraine surgery is still under study since there are no accurate estimation about the effectiveness or long-term harm. The American Headache Society and others urge caution about this procedure.
This treatment involves relieving pressure on various branches of the trigeminal nerve (nerve ends triggering migraine attack). The surgeon creates a small laceration on the eyelid crease to remove the muscle causing the pain. This muscle, not the nerve, is removed so the trigger area will no more be stimulated and thus migraine symptoms are eliminated.
Tension Headache is the most common type of headache. The pain can come from the lower back of the head, neck, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body. This type account for nearly 90% of all headaches. The pain ranges from mild to moderate or to severe. Several factors cause tension-typed headaches. These include stress, lack of sleep, bad posture, hunger, or eyestrain. Usual treatment for this type of headache is analgesics such as ibuprofen, paracetamol/acetaminophen, and aspirin. Other treatment include amitriptyline, mirtazapine, and venlafaxine. In cases when pain is completely unbearable after the above medications, barbiturate treatments such as fioricet and fiorinal may be prescribed as a drug of last resort.