Headache

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Headache facts

  • The head is one of the most common sites of pain in the body.
  • The most common types of headache can be classified as 1) primary, 2) secondary, and 3) cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches.
  • The most common types of primary headaches are 1) tension, 2) migraine, and 3) cluster.
  • Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache and usually are treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications for pain.
  • Secondary headaches are a symptom of an injury or an underlying illness.
  • Patients should seek medical care for new onset headaches, fever, stiff neck, change in behavior, vomiting, weakness, or change in sensation.

What is a headache?

Headache is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of pain (pain fibers). The periosteum that surrounds bones; muscles that encase the skull, sinuses, eyes, and ears; and meninges that cover the surface of the brain and spinal cord, arteries, veins, and nerves, all can become inflamed or irritated to cause the pain of a headache. This pain may be a dull ache, sharp, throbbing, constant, mild, or intense.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/16/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Headache - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your headache?
Headache - Symptoms Question: What symptoms do you experience with your headaches?
Headache - Remedies Question: What is your best headache remedy?
Headache - Causes Question: What causes your headaches?
Headache - Nausea Question: Do you have nausea associated with your headaches?

Headache Types

A headache is a pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck.


STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!