A headache is pain that occurs in the head and upper neck region of the body. It can affect a small portion of the head, such as the eyes or temples, or it can affect the entire head. The pain may be sharp or dull, and may come along with a variety of other symptoms like light sensitivity or nausea. Whatever the specifics may be, headaches are extremely common. About seven out of 10 Americans will have one this year. Over 45 million people in the United States suffer from chronic headaches, which are headaches that return with some frequency.
Headache symptoms can vary between different people, but there are three main types: tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches.photophobia and phonophobia), and occasionally with nausea and vomiting. Women are nearly three times more likely to have a migraine than men, with 17 of women experiencing a migraine during their lifetime. Migraine headaches can occur with or without an aura, a group of symptoms that occur before a headache starts.
Other HeadachesOccasionally headaches may be caused by a more serious medical condition. A severe headache associated with fever could indicate meningitis, or an infection of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. In the elderly, a headache accompanied by tenderness of the temple and scalp could be a sign of temporal arteritis, inflammation of a major artery of the scalp. In any case, a headache lasting over 24 hours or associated with severe symptoms, such as vomiting or visual changes, should be reported to a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Cluster Headache. Worldwide Cluster Headache Support Group. Retrieved: August 21, 2008. http://www.clusterheadaches.com/about.html
Headache. American College of Physicians. Retrieved: August 18, 2008. http://www.acponline.org/patients_families/diseases_conditions/headaches/
NINDS Headache Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Retrieved: August 19, 2008. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/headache.htm