Pain - head; Rebound headaches; Medication overuse headaches
A headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck. Serious causes of headaches are very rare. Most people with headaches can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, and sometimes by taking medications.
The most common headaches are likely caused by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw. These are called tension headaches. They are often related to stress, depression, or anxiety.
Overworking, not getting enough sleep, missing meals, and using alcohol or street drugs can make you more likely to get them. Headaches can be triggered by:
People who drink caffeine can have headaches when they don't get their usual daily amount.
Other common causes include:
Tension headaches tend to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing, like a tight band or vice. Your shoulders, neck, or jaw may feel tight and sore. The pain is usually persistent, but it does not get worse with activity.
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that usually occur with other symptoms such as vision disturbances or nausea. The pain may be described as throbbing, pounding, or pulsating. It tends to begin on one side of your head, although it may spread to both sides.
You may have an "aura" (a group of warning symptoms that start before your headache). The pain usually gets worse as you try to move around. For more information on this type of headache, see: Migraine.
Other types of headaches:
Headaches may occur if you have a cold, the flu, fever, or premenstrual syndrome.
If you are over age 50 and are getting headaches for the first time, a condition called temporal arteritis may be the cause. Symptoms of this condition include vision problems and pain that gets worse when you chew. There is a risk of becoming blind with this condition, so you should get treatment right away.
Rare causes of headache include:
Boes CJ, Capobianco DJ, Cutrer FM, et al. Headache and other craniofacial pain. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 73.
Kwiatkowski T, Alagappan K. Headache. In: Marx JA, Hockberger Rs, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 101.
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