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What is a headache?

Headache is a pain in any region of the head or face that is characterized by pressure or pain which can be throbbing, constant, sharp, or dull. It might occur on one or both sides of the head or isolated to a certain location.

Headache differs with the type of pain, severity, frequency, and location. It is a very common condition that occurs in the life of every individual, most especially people that work every day and do not take their time to rest well.

Most of the time, headaches are not a cause for alarm although certain types can be a sign or symptom of a medical condition.

Classifications of Headache

According to causes they are listed below:


It is a type of headache that does not have a specific causative factor, although it can be due to overactivity of the pain structures of the brain which could be the chemical activity, nerves and blood vessels, and the muscles of the head and neck which could result to primary headache. Common examples of primary headaches are listed below:

  • Migraine
  • Cluster headache
  • Tension headache
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TAC), such as cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania
  • Hypnic Headache


It is the most common type of headache that sometimes happen on one side of the head, which lasts for about two to seventy-two hours, and is often associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light/sound, and throbbing pain.

There are several forms of migraine which are listed below:

  • Aura/Classic Migraine: this type of migraine occurs by giving a warning sign
  • Complicated Migraine:
  • Hemiplegic Migraine
  • Ocular Migraine
  • Ophthalmic Migraine
  • Acephalgic Migraine

Triggers of Migraine

  1. Being thirsty
  2. Hungry
  3. Stress
  4. Changes to the usual routine

Cluster headache

It is a type of primary headache that doesn’t relatively last long; instead, it lasts for about twenty minutes to about two hours. It always affects one side of the face/head.

Signs and Symptoms of Cluster Headache

  1. The stuffy nose on one side
  2. Teary eye
  3. Enlarged pupil
  4. Facial sweating
  5. Redness of the eye on one side
  6. Swelling in the affected eye
  7. Unilateral pain

Complications of Cluster Headache

  1. Vasculitis
  2. Eye pain
  3. Rhinorrhea
  4. Blindness

Tension headache

It is a type of headache that is like with migraine, the pain always feels like a tight band over the head with a big weight on top of your head, this also causes pressure on the shoulder and neck due to the heaviness felt in the head. It lasts from hours to days in an individual sometimes they also co-exist with migraines.

Signs and Symptoms of Tension headache

  1. Dull and aching head pain
  2. Tenderness of the neck and shoulder muscles
  3. Tightness of the head
  4. Irritability
  5. Difficulty in focusing

Complications of Tension Headache

The complication of tension-type headache is that due to the frequent pain felt there is reduced productivity in the individual.

Hypnic Headache

It is a type of headache that is rare in nature that occurs mostly at night daily between the periods of 1 am to 3 am in older people with an age range of 50 to above 60 years of age lasting for about an hour.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypnic Headache

The signs and symptoms are listed below:

  1. Running eyes or nose
  2. Nausea
  3. Sensitivity to light or sound
  4. Dull or throbbing pain affecting one or both sides
  5. Sleep Apnea due to the frequent pains felt at night


A secondary headache can be defined as a type of headache that is caused by an underlying disease or condition in which the pain ranges from mild to moderate and more which affects mainly the head and neck.

Causes of Secondary Headache

Some things cause secondary headache which is listed below:

  1. Hangover
  2. Infection
  3. Hypertension
  4. Dehydration
  5. Insomnia
  6. Aneurysm
  7. Stroke
  8. Hydrocephalus
  9. Blood vessels issues
  10. Mental Health Issues

Symptoms of Secondary Headache

The clinical manifestations of secondary headaches are listed below:

  1. Headaches lasting for more than 60 minutes
  2. Nocturnal headaches mostly occur between 1 am and 3 am
  3. Pain around the head and neck of every individual
  4. Stabbing, pressure, explosive and dull pain
  5. Dizziness
  6. Unsteadiness
  7. Fainting
  8. Facial and upper limb numbness

Types of Secondary Headaches

The types of secondary headaches are listed below:

  1. Post Traumatic Headache
  2. Rebound Headache
  3. Thunderclap Headache

Post Traumatic Headache

This type of headache occurs after a traumatic experience to the head which causes pain around the head and neck, which usually starts two to three days after the injury. The clinical manifestations of this type of headache are listed below:

  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble in concentrating

Rebound headache

It can be defined as a type of headache that occurs after long-term use of analgesics or pain reliefs to treat headaches for a long period.

Thunderclap Headache

This type of headache is a very severe form of headache which lasts for about 5 minutes and happens very suddenly.

Causes of Thunderclap Headache

The causes of Thunderclap headaches are listed below:

  1. Head Injury
  2. Rupture of the blood vessels
  3. Hemorrhagic stroke
  4. Ischemic stroke
  5. Narrowed blood vessels around the brain

Prevention of Headache

The preventive measures for headaches are listed below:

  1. Ensure that an individual has normal hours of sleep daily to prevent any tiredness that could cause a headache.
  2. Watch your intake as a person and eat an adequate diet daily without eating too much junk.
  3. Learn relaxation techniques that help an individual relax and reduce emotional stress, which may be caused by overwork, job loss, family problems, and financial difficulties.
  4. Do regular exercises
  5. Prevent eye strain, which can occur when reading with dim light and overstrain the nerves of the brain.

Treatment of Headache

The medical management of headaches is done by the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Analgesics to relieve the pain experienced by an individual.

The home remedies that can be done are listed below

  1. Rest well
  2. Eat adequate diet
  3. Avoid noisy environment
  4. Reduce stress

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