Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints. Most of us experience them at some point in our life. They can affect anyone regardless of age, race, and gender.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that almost half of all adults worldwide will experience a headache in any given year.
A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine, high blood pressure, anxiety or depression. People with chronic migraine headaches, for example, may find it hard to attend work or school regularly.
The symptoms of a headache can depend on the type.
Tension headaches are the most common form of primary headache. Such headaches normally begin slowly and gradually in the middle of the day.
Tension-type headaches can be either episodic or chronic. Episodic attacks are usually a few hours in duration, but can last for several days. Chronic headaches occur for 15 or more days a month for a period of at least 3 months.
A migraine headache may cause a pulsating, throbbing pain usually only on one side of the head. The aching may be accompanied by:
Migraine is the second most common form of primary headache and can have a significant impact on the life of an individual. According to the WHO, migraine is the sixth highest cause of days lost due to disability worldwide. A migraine can last from a few hours to between 2 and 3 days.
Migraine can often be associtaed with paralytic attack (hemiplegic migraine), severe tummy pains and vomiting (abdominal migraine), severe vertigo and sudden loss of awareness ( vertebrobasilar migraine)
Rebound or medication-overuse headaches stem from an excessive use of medication to treat headache symptoms. They are the most common cause of secondary headaches. They usually begin early in the day and persist throughout the day. They may improve with pain medication, but worsen when its effects wear off.
Along with the headache itself, rebound headaches can cause:
Rebound headaches can cause a range of symptoms, and the pain can be different each day.
Cluster headaches usually last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and they occur suddenly once per day up to eight times per day for a period of weeks to months. In between clusters, there may be no headache symptoms, and this headache-free period can last months to years.
The pain caused by cluster headaches is:
The affected area may become red and swollen, the eyelid may droop, and the nasal passage on the affected side may become stuffy and runny. When severe patient may wish to tie a towel around their head or even bang their head against things.
These are sudden, severe headaches that are often described as the "worst headache of my life." They reach maximum intensity in less than one minute and last longer than 5 minutes.
A thunderclap headache is often secondary to life-threatening conditions, such as intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral venous thrombosis, ruptured or unruptured aneurysms, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RVS), meningitis, and pituitary apoplexy. Therefore, people who experience these sudden, severe headaches should seek medical evaluation immediately.
Our doctor will take a detailed history of the episode, the type of pain, and the timing and pattern of attack which will help us in diagnosing the type of headache. If the nature of the headache appears to be complex, tests may be carried out to eliminate more serious causes.
Based on the history and the test results (if done) the treatment will be tailored prioritizing the patients age and gender. (often certain medications can cause unwanted weight gain or cosmetic disturbances)
We will also educate on self-care techniques which will you help in avoiding episodes and managing pain during the episodes.