Get answers to your Pediatric Headache and Hospitalist questions.
Most people are familiar with headaches, the all too common affliction marked by throbbing, piercing, or vise-like pain around much or a part of the head. There are many different kinds of headaches, and they range from being an infrequent annoyance to a persistent, severe, and disabling medical condition.
The brain itself is insensitive to pain, so that is not what hurts when a headache arises. The pain, instead, occurs in the following locations:
Doctors categorize headaches as either primary or secondary, which helps to distinguish the many different kinds of headaches and to determine appropriate treatments for each.
Primary Headaches. A headache is considered primary when a disease or other medical condition does not cause it. Most primary headaches fall into three main types: Tension-type, migraine, and cluster headaches.
Symptoms of migraine and tension-type headaches often overlap, and a diagnosis is sometimes difficult.
Secondary Headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions, such as sinus infections, neck injuries, and strokes. About 2% of headaches are secondary to abnormalities or infections in the nasal or sinus passages, and they are commonly referred to as sinus headaches.
Chronic Daily Headaches. The International Headache Society's classification system includes a category called chronic daily headaches. They may originate as tension headaches, migraines, or a combination of these or other headache types. Chronic daily headaches affect 4 - 5% of the population.
Chronic daily headaches are defined as any benign headache that occurs at least 15 days a month and is not associated with a serious neurologic abnormality. Most people with these headaches have them daily, or almost daily, and they can be quite debilitating.
Chronic daily headaches are, in turn, subdivided into two categories:
General Description. Tension-type headaches, also called muscle contraction headaches or simply tension headaches, are the most common of all headaches. Tension-type headaches tend to have the following characteristics:
Types of Tension Headache. In 2004, the International Headache Society updated its original 1988 classification criteria. Tension-type headaches are now divided into the following four classifications:
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