Deﬁnition and Description
A headache involves pain in the head which can arise from many disorders or
may be a disorder in and of itself. The word headache is very broad. There is more than just one type of headache. There are three primary headaches. These would be tension-type, migraine, and rebound headaches. A tension-type headache is a muscular contraction headache (Vorvick) and a migraine is a vascular headache (Harder).
Rebound headaches are merely headaches that keep coming back (Vorvick). Just about everyone would at some point experience a tension-type headache. Headaches have an enormous impact on society due to missed work days/school days and productivity losses.
Scientists still do not completely understand what causes headaches. Dr. Stewart
Tepper, a neurologist and headache researcher at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says that there is a “switch in the brain” that when affected by stress or some other trigger ﬂips the switch, the brain releases chemicals that cause blood vessels in the head to swell. They then press on nerves which sends pain signals to the brain. The most common headaches, the tension headaches, are caused by stress making pain spread across the forehead or wraps around the whole head like a band. It is a steady pain.
Migraines usually effect one side of the head or the other. Migraine pain can come in beats or throbs. They often run in family genes and can be triggered by environmental factors along with certain foods. Headaches are not contagious. Fluctuating levels of
Serotonin, which is a chemical that relays messages to the brain, is thought to be the cause of migraines (“Headache Types Deﬁned”). Also, headaches can be caused by an injury to the head. These are normally called concussions, depending on the severity of the injury, and they cause massive migraine-like headaches (Vorvick).
With headaches, come symptoms. Some signs and symptoms of a tension
headache include dull and aching head pain, the sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head, and tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles (Vorvick). The symptoms are a bit different with migraines. The signs and symptoms of migraine headaches include throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain on one or both sides of the head, vision changes, and/or nausea (Harder). You may encounter neck pain, anxiety, memory problems, and the headaches persist throughout the day with rebound headaches (Vorvick). Depending on the headache, there could be a possible risk of brain lesions or stroke. Your doctor will more than likely diagnose the condition on the basis of your medical history and a physical exam, unless your headaches are unusual, severe, or sudden. If so, your doctor may recommend a variety of tests to eliminate other possible causes of the pain you are encountering (Harder).
The treatment for tension headaches is quite simple. Normally, the pain would easily go away with a correct dosage of either acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or even caffeine. People can even use combination medications to reduce the pain brought on by the headache; for example, Excedrin combines aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine (Mathews). To break the recurring cycle of rebound headaches, the amount of pain medication one uses on a daily basis would need to be restricted. When doing