what is headache?
Headaches are one of the most common complaints patients present with in primary care settings. They are often correlated with stress, tension and a litany of existing medical conditions. Often, patients will live with headache pain for months or even years before seeking care. Over the counter remedies like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are often used to reduce symptoms of pressure and pain prior to seeking medical advice. The following information is intended for patients that suffer from chronic headache pain and are looking for ways to better manage symptoms, increase function and improve quality of life.
There are actually two main types of headache, primary and secondary, and can differ greatly in intensity, frequency and duration.
Primary headaches include, but are not limited to, tension-type and migraine headaches and are not caused by other underlying medical conditions. Over 90% of headaches are considered primary.
Secondary: headaches result from other medical conditions, such as infection or increased pressure in the skull due to tumor, disease, etc. These account for fewer than 10% of all headaches.
Tension type headaches are the most common, affecting upwards of 75% of all headache sufferers. As many as 90% of adults have had tension-type headache These headaches are typically a steady ache rather than a throbbing one, and affect both sides of the head Distracting but usually not debilitating People can get tension-type (and migraine) headaches in response to stressful events or a hectic day These headaches may also be chronic, occurring as frequently as every day
Less common than tension-type headaches, migraines affect approximately 25 to 30 million people in the United States and cause considerably more disability, lost work days and lost revenue. As many as 6% of all men and up to 18% of all women (about 12% of the population as a whole) experience a migraine headache at some time.
HEADACHE: Types, Tips & Treatment Suggestions
Roughly three out of four migraine sufferers are female
Among the most distinguishing features is the potential disability accompanying the headache pain of a migraine
Migraines are felt on one side of the head by about 60% of migraine sufferers, and the pain is typically throbbing in nature
Nausea, with or without vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound often accompanies migraines
An aura --a group of telltale neurological symptoms--sometimes occurs before the head pain begins. Typically, an aura involves a disturbance in vision that may consist of brightly colored or blinking lights in a pattern that moves across the field of vision
About one in five migraine sufferers experiences an aura
Usually, migraine attacks are occasional, or sometimes as often as once or twice a week, but not daily