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Headache definition and facts

  • The head is one of the most common sites of pain in the body.
  • Headache or head pain sometimes can be difficult to describe, but some common symptoms include throbbing, squeezing, constant, unrelenting or intermittent. The location may be in one part of the face or skull, or may be generalized involving the whole head.
  • Headache may arise spontaneously or may be associated with activity or exercise. It may have an acute onset or it may be chronic in nature with or without episodes of increasing severity.
  • Headache is often associated with nausea and vomiting. This is especially true with migraine headaches.
  • Head pain can be classified as being one of three types: 1) primary headache, 2) secondary headache, and 3) cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches.
  • Common primary headaches include tension, migraine, and cluster headaches.
  • Home remedies for tension headaches, the most common type of primary headache, include rest and over-the-counter (OTC) medications for pain.
  • Secondary headaches are usually a symptom of an injury or an underlying illness. For example, sinus headaches are considered a secondary headache due to increased pressure or infection in the sinuses.
  • Medication overuse headache (rebound headache) is a condition where frequent use of pain medications can lead to persistent head pain. The headache may improve for a short time after medication is taken and then recur (The term "rebound headache" has been replaced by the term "medication overuse headache".)
  • Individuals should seek medical care for new onset headaches or if headaches are associated with fever, stiff neck, weakness, change in sensation on one side of the body, change in vision, vomiting or change in behavior taht may be caused by the development of serious infections.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: veronica, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 29

I have had migraines for 42 years. I have tried so many, many abortive medications and a couple pain medications. My husband and I know what works, and they will not give it to me. Demerol and Phenergan knock me out for a few hours and that is the only thing that helps and also to at least have a few hydrocodone pills. I stress that I am not a dope addict but since some other people who are dope addicts and have ruined us in pain, I do not get my pain medicines. I need to find a doctor who will listen and disperse me just a few. They do not give me rebound headaches.

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