Headache is perceived as pain that occurs in the head or neck area. Headache is caused by tissues that cover the skull or brain and structural factors of the brain entirely. However, the brain does not have nerves that cause pain (known as pain fibers). A thin layer of tissue surrounding the bones (known as the periosteum), muscles, sinuses, eyes, ears, as well as lean tissues (meninges), arteries, veins, and nerves all surrounding the brain, sinus, eyes, ears, as well as inflammation or irritation may cause a headache. Why could it be?
Headache can be dull, sharp, pulsating, continuous, intermittent, mild, or intense forms.
What are the types of headaches?
In 2016, the International Headache Society published the types of headaches. Because many people suffer from headaches at any stage of their lives, and sometimes it isn’t easy to treat, so classifications are required. Also, the instructions for species are extensive. There are three main types of headaches, depending on the source of the pain. These;
- Primary Headaches
- Secondary headaches
- Cranial neuralgia, facial pain, and other headaches.
Also, reports suggest that a patient may have symptoms consistent with more than one type of headache and that more than one type of headache may appear simultaneously.
What is primary headache?
Primary headaches include migraine, tension, and cluster headaches:
- Tension-type headaches are the most common primary headache type. Tension headaches are more common in women than in men. According to the World Health Organization, one in every 20 people suffers daily from one of the primary headache types.
- Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Before puberty, men and women are equally affected by migraine headaches, but women are more affected than men after puberty.
- Cluster headaches are a scarce type of primary headache. Although women and children also suffer from this type of headache, it affects men aged 21-22.
Primary headaches may affect social life activities. While these types of headaches are not life-threatening, they may be associated with symptoms that mimic paralysis. Many patients interpret severe headache migraine, but the amount of pain cannot determine migraine diagnosis.
What is a secondary headache?
Secondary headaches are caused by a structural or infectious problem in the head or neck region. This is an extensive medical condition that is life-threatening, such as any bleeding in the brain, encephalitis, or meningitis-like infections, as well as pain from an infected tooth or an infected sinus. Traumatic headaches and headaches after concussion fall into this category. This headaches group also includes headaches associated with substance abuse and overuse of drugs used to treat headaches. Hangover headaches also fall into this category. People who drink too much alcohol may wake up with a painful headache because of the effects of alcohol and dehydration.
What are cranial neuralgia, facial pain, and other headaches?
Neuralgia means nerve pain. Cranial neuralgia is an inflammation of one of the 12 cranial nerves coming from the brain that controls the brain’s muscles and carries sensory signals (such as pain) from the head and neck. Perhaps the most widely known example is trigeminal neuralgia, the sensory nerve that affects the cranial nerve V (trigeminal nerve), nourishes the face, and can cause intense facial pain when irritated or inflamed.
Different types of headaches, depending on the class to which they belong. Some common types of headaches are:
- Primary tension headaches that are episodic,
- Chronic primary blood pressure headaches,
- Muscle contraction headaches,
- Primary migraine headaches,
- Primary migraine headaches without aura,
- Primary cluster headache,
- Primary paroxysmal hemicrania (a group of cluster headaches),
- Headache caused by primary cough,
- Primary headache proportional to sexual intercourse,
- Hypnic headache (headaches heavy enough to wake you from sleep),
- Hemicrania continua (persistent headaches on one side only),
- Daily stubborn headache (a type of chronic headache),
- Afford headache,
- Trigeminal neuralgia and other types of cranial nerve inflammation are headaches.
What are the causes of a headache?
Migraine headaches are caused by inflammation or irritation of structures surrounding the brain or affecting its function. Although the brain doesn’t have pain nerve fibers, it can cause headaches in the neck, skull, and face. Systemic diseases, including infection or dehydration, may have associated headaches. Changes in blood flow or after trauma can also cause headaches. Changes in brain chemistry may also be associated with headaches. For example, drug reactions, drug addiction, and drug withdrawals can cause pain.
Every person’s body anatomy is different, so past headaches are essential.
What causes tension headache?
Although tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache, the cause is unknown. The most likely reason is the contraction of the muscles covering the skull. When the muscles surrounding the dome are stretched, they may become inflamed, enter spasms, and cause pain. Common areas include:
- The head’s base into which the trapezius muscles of the neck enter.
- The region of the muscles that move the jaw.
- The forehead.
There has been little research to determine the exact cause of tension headaches. Tension headache is caused by stress in the muscles in the head region. For example, this stress can cause muscles, teeth, and spasms in the skull area. Physical strains occur in complex and prolonged manual labor or in people who concentrate for a long time sitting at a desk or working on a computer. Emotional stress can also cause the muscles surrounding the skull to contract, causing tension headaches.
What are the symptoms of tension-type headaches?
Common symptoms of tension headaches are:
- Pain starting from the back of the head and neck is often described as any tension or high pressure. This pain can spread in the area to completely cover the head.
- Intense pressure is felt on the forehead or the eyebrows with temporal and anterior muscles.
- The intensity of the pain may vary. Generally, however, this pain does not deprive people of social activities. The pain usually affects both sides of the head.
- Does not cause pain, nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound.
- The pain is very irregular. However, in some patients, it may occur frequently and even daily.
How are tension headaches diagnosed?
The procedure for making any headache diagnosis is the start date given by the patient. The doctor asks questions about headaches to help make the diagnosis. These questions attempt to define the severity, amount, duration, and associated pain symptoms. People with tension-type headaches often complain of mild to moderate pain in both parts of the head area. Persons with tension-type headaches describe the pain as a non-throbbing tension that does not worsen with activity. Often there is no nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. The physical examination, especially the cerebral part of the test, is critical in tension-type headaches. However, there may be sensitivity to the scalp or neck muscles.
How are tension headaches treated?
Tension headaches are painful and painful. Although it is not life-threatening, this type of headache can make it difficult to perform daily activities. To treat this problem, the doctor may recommend the following drugs:
If the effect of these drugs fails, different treatments may be used. The most critical supportive treatment method is massage therapy. The following are the points that should be considered when using medicines;
- Aspirin should not be used in children and adolescents because of a life-threatening complication that may occur when there is a viral infection and when this medication is taken.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are anti-inflammatory drugs that can irritate the stomach and cause bleeding in the intestines. People with peptic ulcer disease should be used with caution.
- Most anti-inflammatory drugs can cause bleeding anywhere in the body and should not be used if blood thinners are taken.
Excessive consumption of aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can cause kidney damage.
- Acetaminophen may cause liver damage or liver failure if consumed in amounts more significant than the recommended dose. Also, people who consume substantial quantities of alcohol or have liver disease should be used with caution because even lower doses than customarily recommended may be dangerous.
- Headache caused by excessive drug use can be mistaken for chronic tension headaches.
What are the causes of cluster headache?
Cluster headaches occur every day simultaneously and are often strong enough to awaken the patient in the middle of the night. The cause of cluster headaches is unclear. However, it may also be due to the sudden release of histamine and serotonin in the brain. The hypothalamus, an area in the brain, is responsible for the body’s biological clock and may also be the primary source of such headaches. The abnormal activity was detected in the hypothalamus after a brain scan in people with cluster headaches.
What are the symptoms of cluster headaches?
Cluster headache is a type of headache that does not occur for many years and causes daily pain. A person may experience severe headaches daily for weeks or months, and then for many years, there may be no pain at all. This type of headache affects men much more often. This type of pain usually begins during puberty and may last until middle age. Other symptoms include;
- In the case of cluster headaches, the pain usually occurs 1 or 2 times a day. However, some patients may experience pain more than two times a day.
- Each pain session lasts from 30 to 90 minutes.
- Pain attacks co-occur every day and often have the power to wake the patient from night’s sleep.
- Due to pain, some patients’ eyes may be red, inflamed, and watery.
- The nose, which is also affected by the pain, may be clogged and runny.
- Unlike people with migraine headaches, those with cluster headaches will be restless. Cluster headache is a very distressing disorder.
How are cluster headaches diagnosed?
The diagnosis of cluster headache is made based on the patient’s history. The definition of pain and relapse is usually sufficient to diagnose. The patient is often in a painful crisis, with ruptures in the eyes and nose.
How are cluster headaches treated?
Treatment of cluster headaches can be complicated, and trial and error methods are applied to find the specific treatment method that will work for each patient. Since headache recurs daily, there are two treatment options.
Initial methods of treatment include one or more of the following:
- High oxygen inhalation,
- Injection of triptan drugs of common migraine medications (such as sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and rizatriptan),
- Spraying or dropping the local anesthetic lidocaine into the nostrils,
- The use of dihydroergotamine, which causes narrowing of blood vessels, is the first treatment option.
Second treatment methods include:
- Calcium channel blockers such as verapamil and diltiazem,
- Antidepressant drugs,
- Use of antiseizure medications, including Divalproex and topiramate.
How to prevent cluster headaches?
Cluster headaches may be intermittent over the years, and medications taken daily may not prevent the discomfort, as it is unpredictable when a new cluster section may occur. Lifestyle changes will help minimize the risk of cluster headache attacks. Quitting smoking and minimizing alcohol consumption will positively prevent further cluster headache symptoms.
Which diseases cause secondary headache?
Headache is a symptom associated with many different diseases. Although headaches are a problem with primary headaches, secondary headaches are directly associated with illness or injury. The headache symptom will also be controlled by performing diagnostic tests to identify the underlying condition. Some of the causes of secondary headaches can be life-threatening and fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential if the damage is limited. Some of the problems that cause secondary headaches are;
- Head and neck trauma: Head injuries, bleeding between the meninges, the surrounding tissue layers (subdural, epidural, and subarachnoid spaces), or brain tissue itself (intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral hemorrhage) can cause headaches. Edema or swelling not associated with intracranial hemorrhage can cause pain and change in mental function. Headaches may also occur after shaking of head injury without bleeding. This may be one of the signs of concussion syndrome. Neck injuries also cause headaches.
- Blood vessel problems in the head and neck: Stroke or transient ischemic attacks, inflammation of the carotid artery (vascular inflammation), and temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery)
- Non-blood vessel problems in the brain: Brain tumors, seizures, and hypertension can also cause headaches. The cause of this condition is not precisely known, and although it may occur at any age, it usually affects young and obese women. Although idiopathic intracranial hypertension causes a significant headache, it can even cause blindness if left untreated.
- Drugs: Drugs used in treating erectile dysfunction (impotence), blood pressure, or other cardiac medications can also cause headaches. Excessive drug use when painkillers are taken too often can lead to chronic headaches.
- Infections: Meningitis, inflammation in the brain, HIV, AIDS, and systemic diseases (e.g., pneumonia or influenza) can cause headaches.
- Changes in the body: High blood pressure (hypertension), hypothyroidism, and dialysis cause headaches.
- Problems with the eyes, ears, nose, teeth, sinuses, and neck: Sinus infection, toothache, glaucoma (eye pressure), inflammation of iritis also cause headaches.
How are secondary headaches diagnosed?
The first action to diagnose secondary headache is the patient’s history. After knowing the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory and radiological tests are required. In some cases, urgent procedures may be necessary. For example, a patient with headache, fever, stiff neck, and confusion may have meningitis. Since meningitis can be fatal, antibiotic treatment can be initiated before blood tests, and a lumbar puncture is performed to confirm the diagnosis.
What is the treatment of secondary headache?
Patient history and physical examination is the first way to understand the cause of secondary headaches. Tests that can help diagnose other diseases that cause headaches will depend on the physician’s thinking and what illness or injury that causes the headache is considered (known as differential diagnosis). Standard headache tests include:
- Blood tests,
- Computed tomography of the neck (CT scan),
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans,
- Lumbar puncture tests.
Blood tests: Blood tests provide information to help diagnose history and physical examination. For example, an infection or inflammation in the body can cause an increased white blood cell count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), or C-reactive protein (CRP). These two tests are not very specific; that is, they may be abnormal in any infection or inflammation. These abnormalities do not indicate a particular diagnosis of the cause of the disease or inflammation. Blood tests can also be used to assess various other potential problems involving electrolyte imbalances, organs such as the liver, kidney, and thyroid.
Computed tomography: Computed tomography (CT scan) can detect bleeding, swelling, and some tumors in the skull and brain.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MR): MR shows the brain’s anatomy, the layers covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges). MRI is more accurate than computed tomography. This type of screening may not be available in all hospitals.
Lumbar puncture: The cerebrospinal fluid, which is the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, can be obtained with an injector inserted into the spine in the lower back. The examination of the liquid is on the infection (such as meningitis caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or tuberculosis) or bleeding. In almost all cases, computed tomography is performed before lumbar puncture to ensure no bleeding, swelling, or tumor in the brain. The pressure in the cavity can be measured when the lumbar puncture needle is inserted.
When to get medical help for headache?
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- In case of severe and different pain than usual headaches,
- If there is pain that starts suddenly and aggravates by coughing, bending, or sexual activity,
- If problems with persistent nausea and vomiting occur,
- If the pain begins with fever and neck stiffness,
- If seizures occur,
- If head trauma occurs,
- If there are changes in vision, speech, or behavior,
- If there is a weakness or sensation change on one side of your body that may indicate a stroke,
- Unable to respond to treatment
- If the medication consumed for pain is consumed more than the recommended dose,
- If headache interferes with work and quality of life, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How does headache relieve?
It is essential to know that an unusual headache may need to be evaluated by a doctor. However, primary tension headaches can be treated at home in most cases. Headache at-home methods include;
- The first step is abundant reproduction and sufficient water consumption during the day.
- Managing and minimizing stressful situations will eliminate headaches.
- Rubbing or massaging the muscles behind the forehead or neck will help relieve pain in relaxing applications such as hot compresses.
The Most Effective Herbal Treatment Methods for Headache
- Apple cider vinegar and water mixture: Apple cider vinegar anti-spasm (antispasmodic) will be very good because of the headache. 1,5-2 tablespoons apple vinegar can be mixed with 1 cup of hot water and drink. It will alleviate the headache in a short time.
- Lavender oil: This oil will cure headaches as soon as possible, thanks to its refreshing properties. Put a few drops of lavender oil into two glasses of boiled water and breathe the steam. Your headache will alleviate in a short time. In addition to lavender oil, you can use mint oil simultaneously.
- Chamomile tea: This tea with high antioxidant and anti-spasm properties will remove the headache quickly. You can get rid of headaches by having 2 cups of chamomile tea during the day.
- Green Apples: This apples with high antioxidant properties will relieve pain by loosening the head and neck muscles. You can consume as many green apples as you want during the day.