Headaches

Headache is defined as pain in the head that is located above the eyes or the ears, behind the head, or in the back of the upper neck. A headache is an aching or pain that occurs in one or more areas of the head, face, mouth, or neck. Headache can be chronic, recurrent, or occasional. The pain can be mild or severe enough to disrupt daily activities. Headache involves the network of nerve fibers in the tissues, muscles, and blood vessels located in the head and at the base of the skull.

There are four types of headaches:

Vascular - The most common type of vascular headache is Migraine. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and, at times, disturbed vision. Women are more prone to migraines than men are. The second most common type of vascular headache is the Toxix headache which is produced by a fever. Another examples of a vascular headaches is Cluster headaches which cause repetitive episodes of intense pain which results from high blood pressure. 90% of people that get cluster headaches are males between the age of 20-30. These attacks occur daily in clusters of weeks or months.
Muscle Contraction (also known as tension) - Muscle contraction headaches appear to involve tightening or tensing of facial and neck muscles. The pain is usually a dull ache on both sides of the head and has been described as feeling like a tight band across the head.
Traction - Traction headaches are symptoms of other disorders, ranging from a sinus infection to a stroke. Like other types of pain, headaches can serve as a warning signal for something more serious.
Inflammatory - Inflammatory headaches can serve as a warning signal for things such as meningitis as well as diseases of the sinuses, spine, neck, ears, and teeth.

Are Headaches Hereditary?

Yes, headaches, especially migraines, have a tendency to run in families. Most children and adolescents (90%) who have migraines have other family members with migraines. When both parents have a history of migraines, there is a 70% chance that the child will also develop migraines. If only one parent has a history of migraines, the risk drops to 25%-50%. A headache is not a disease, but it may indicate that something is wrong. Headaches are common and generally are not serious. Approximately 50% to 75% of all teens report having at least one headache per month.

Migraine

Migraine is a type of headache that is often severe. Although any head pain can be miserable, a migraine headache is often disabling. Migraine pain can be excruciating and may incapacitate you for hours or even days. Many factors can trigger migraine attacks, such as interruption in sleep or changing sleep pattern, missing or delaying a meal, medications that cause swelling of the blood vessels; daily use of medications designed for relieving headache attacks; bright lights, sunlight, fluorescent lights, TV and movie viewing; certain foods; and excessive noise. Stress and/or underlying depression are important trigger factors that can be diagnosed and treated adequately.

Some warning signs that you are getting a migraine are:

  • Sensory warning sign (aura)
  • Flashes of light
  • Blind spots
  • Tingling in the arms and legs.
  • Some symptoms of migraine are:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Sleep disruption
  • Depression
Some types of migraine are:



Additional Resources