Causes of Headaches

A headache, or scientifically known as cephalalgia is an ache or throbbing anywhere in the vicinity of both neck and head. The brain tissue on its own is impervious to pain as it does not come equipped with pain receptors. The headache is caused by an interruption of the pain-susceptible formations around the brain. Our heads and necks are structured in such a way that we have in-built pain susceptible formations, which are broken down into two kinds; inside the cranium (cranial nerves and blood vessels) and the cranium’s exterior (eyes, ears, mucous membranes, sinuses, muscle, nerves, arteries, veins, subcutaneous tissue).

Headaches can be classified in a number of ways; and the most renowned comes from the International Headache Society, accepted by the WHO. To treat a headache very much depends on the cause diagnosed, and ordinarily, analgesics are recommended. Headaches may also be categorized by harshness and acuteness that is onset. Some of us suffer from a form of headache where the attacks are swift and brutal; this is known as thunderclap headaches.

Headaches can be due to either serious or non-malignant causes.

For infections such as brain abscesses, encephalitis and meningitis, headaches on the neck and in the head can become primary symptoms. If any element increases the pressure inside the skull, it will definitely pilot towards a headache. Such examples comprise idiopathic intracranial hypertension and also brain tumors. Massive headaches can also be caused by bleeding inside the skull, resulting in a pressure elevation and inflammatory reaction. These bleeding circumstances include subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage and also intracranial hemorrhage. Severe hypertension, glaucoma and temporal arteritis may also cause painful headaches.

As earlier stated, the brain is impervious to any kind of pain because it does not have pain receptors. A few areas at the head and neck do possess nociceptors, which can detect pain. This would include the extracranial arteries large veins, head, neck, muscle and spinal nerves.

According to statistics, headaches are normally less serious and self limiting (primary), although a few forms of headache conditions may require detailed management or may be indicative of more serious ailments. It can be quite complex to determine between primary and secondary headaches.

It is often tedious to remember exact details pertaining to each headache, so patients are encouraged to keep a headache diary – and jot down the specifics i.e. time of attack, the kind of pains felt etc.

When a headache cannot be ascertained as one of the accepted primary headache syndrome, or perhaps when uncharacteristic signs occur, further examinations would be needed. If there are problems such as one sided weakness, difference in size of pupils, severe pain which is abrupt, HIV positive patients or a decline in consciousness level a CT scan may be warranted. In any ordinary year, 90% of the world’s population get headaches. Most are primary cases. However, the ones admitted (for more serious ailments) into emergency rooms is estimated at about 1%.

If you get a headache, chances are you may just be tired and need to rest.

Category: Disease and Conditions

Tags: cephalalgia, headache, headache causes