In its variety of headaches, there is no equal. It can be long and aching, or sharp and unbearable, it can cover the entire head or be felt only in the temples.
Causes of headache
Headache is one of the most frequent complaints with a therapist or neurologist. At the same time, the headache is considered something not very serious: with episodic pain, most prefer to drink an analgesic tablet and consider the problem resolved. We prefer to go to the doctor only if there is very severe pain, or if there are more seizures.
The causes of the headache are a great many: changes in blood pressure; inflammation, trauma and brain tumor; neuralgia; autonomic dysfunction; solar and thermal shocks; intoxication and much more. In some diseases, for example, with migraine, an intense headache is the main manifestation of the disease.
In its variety of headaches, there is no equal. It can be long and aching, or sharp and unbearable, it can cover the entire head or be felt only in the temples. So, under what conditions does the headache occur, and what is it?
Aching bilateral headache and its causes
A aching bilateral headache often accompanies arterial hypotension. Usually such a headache appears after sleep in the morning and is felt in the temporal areas. There is a headache with physical exertion, drinking beverages containing caffeine – for example, tea or coffee.
Contrary to popular belief, hypertension rarely causes a headache if the pressure is increased continuously. But if it jumped dramatically, most people feel headache and tinnitus, combined with the flashing of flies before their eyes, a feeling of tightness in the back of the head, a thud in the temples and dizziness. To such a state should be taken seriously, it can become a sign of a developing hypertensive crisis. A crisis, in turn, can lead to complications: stroke and myocardial infarction.
Widespread and so-called psychogenic headache. Under this name, the headache is combined from mental or physical stress, as well as pain in anxiety and depression. With such conditions it can be difficult to describe the nature of pain – it can be either aching, now pressing, then concentrated in the occipital, temporal or frontal areas, then spread throughout the head. Diagnosis and treatment of headaches are individual for each patient and often require the involvement of specialists in medical psychology and psychoneurology.
Headache is the main and often the only manifestation of migraine – a disease associated with a violation of the tone of the cerebral vessels. Migraine often affects women: the first bouts begin at the age of 10 to 30 years. When a classic migraine first appears aura in the form of blurred vision, obscuring objects, etc. Then a one-sided pulsating headache builds up, which can give into the eye and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sound and photophobia.
There are many other forms of migraine. With them, the pain can begin without an aura, be accompanied by neurological disorders, appear in the face, be sudden, short-term and intense (“thundering”). Sometimes seizures may follow one after another for several days, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. This condition is called a migraine status.
Horton’s (histamine) headache
It manifests as periodic short (15 minutes – 2 hours) seizures. Usually, such headaches occur late at night or early in the morning. The pain is extremely strong, burning, drilling, piercing; appears suddenly and is usually concentrated on one side in the orbit. During the attack the patient can not lie or sit, but walks around the room (unlike the patients with migraine who try to find a dark, quiet place and fall asleep). Typically, seizures occur daily for several weeks or even months, after which they disappear for years. Most often, the Hortonian headache affects men over 20 years old.
Headache from meningitis
If a severe headache occurs simultaneously with fever, it can signal the onset of meningitis – inflammation of the meninges. With meningitis, the headache is severe, it can be pressing on the eyes, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. At the same time, there are other manifestations of meningitis – for example, it is impossible to touch the chin to the chest, there may be disturbances in consciousness. On the other hand, high temperature itself causes a headache, which, however, occurs after taking aspirin or paracetamol.
Sudden severe headache
A sudden severe headache (often with loss of consciousness or a sensitivity disorder in any area of the body) occurs with a hemorrhage in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). As a rule, it occurs with an increase in blood pressure and atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels. The headache in stroke is often described very emotionally: “this is the most terrible headache I’ve ever experienced,” “something seemed to burst in my head.” This formidable condition often ends pitifully: subsequent persistent disruption of movements and sensitivity, or even death. The prognosis largely depends on timely and qualified medical care, so in such cases, “first aid” should be called forth immediately.
Headache as a symptom of a brain tumor
If the headache episodes began for no apparent reason and quickly became regular and intense, you should not postpone the visit to the neurologist – this pain is often the first manifestation of a brain tumor. Often the pain is accompanied by nausea, dizziness, double vision. Similar pain can also be observed with a hematoma (blood clump) under the cerebral membrane or with an abscess (suppuration) of the brain.
Headache as a symptom of diseases of the spine
Quite often, the cause of the headache lies outside the cranial cavity. For example, cervical osteochondrosis, spondyloarthritis, radiculitis and other diseases of this part of the spine are often accompanied by a headache. The cause of pain in the frontal and temporal areas can be inflammation of the paranasal sinuses – for example, sinusitis or frontalitis. When otitis headaches capture the parotid space, can be very strong and sharp (“shoots in the ear”). Strengthening the headache against otitis media or spreading it to other parts of the head, along with the occurrence of nausea and vomiting, may be a sign of the spread of infection and requires immediate medical attention. Headache and impaired sensation of the face become a manifestation of neuralgia of the trigeminal or facial nerves. “Masked” headache may also be the disease of the joints of the lower jaw.
Another type of headache is toxic. It occurs when poisoning with various chemicals or as a side effect of taking medications. For example, headache is often caused by drugs that lower blood pressure, nitrates, psychotropic drugs and many other substances. A special case of toxic headache is the popularly known hangover; with it the head hurts because of the action of acetic aldehyde – a toxic product of the decomposition of ethyl alcohol.
A diffuse headache may occur in a perfectly healthy person in a stuffy room (due to a banal lack of oxygen for the brain). It can cause carbon monoxide, car exhausts, evaporation from drying paint and just sharp smells, even pleasant ones. A severe headache accompanies sun and heat strokes.
As you can see, the causes and manifestations of the headache are many. And it is not surprising, because pain is a signal that the body gives us in case of danger. These signals are especially alarming when it comes to such a complex and sensitive organ as the brain and adjacent tissues.
Well, in order not to wait for a headache, it is necessary to train the vessels with moderate physical exertion, to be more often outdoors, not to drink without measure and not to abuse medicines. And if your head aches, visit your doctor or neurologist and follow his recommendations carefully and accurately.