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Headaches and Migraines

Man having a headache at home

 
Types of headaches


Headache symptom

Headache image A headache simply means a pain or discomfort felt in the head region – whether it is the face, back of the head, forehead, scalp, behind the eyes, etc. A headache can also be caused by referral from the upper neck or even teeth and sinuses. It can be present even though there is no actual organic cause for it (e.g. depression).

For more information, see Symptom: Headache.

Headache

Headache picture Headache is a very common complaint and virtually all people will suffer headache at least occassionally throughout their lives. Headache is not always severe enough for patients to seek medical advice, but nevertheless a large number of doctor consultations are due to headaches.

For more information, see Headache.

Tension headache

Headache picture A tension headache is a chronic, recurrent headache believed to be due to tension within the scalp muscles – usually as a result of worry or stress. It is felt as a tight band sensation, or a throbbing pain, or pressure behind the eye. Tension headache is very common, though many headaches are attributed to tension even though they may be caused by something else.

For more information, see Tension Headache.

Cluster headache

Headache picture Cluster headache is a particular type of headache that typically occurs in groups or clusters. It is characterised by repetitive headaches that occur for weeks to months at a time, followed by periods of remission. The headaches are generally severe but brief.

For more information, see Cluster Headache.

Migraine

Headache picture Migraines are recurrent headaches which can occur in conjunction with gastrointestinal and visual symptoms. The name is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘pain in half the head’, as migraines often produce a unilateral (one-sided) headache. There are several types of migraine – the two main types are classical migraine and common migraine.

For more information, see Migraine.

Chronic daily headache (incorporating chronic migraine and medication overuse headache)

Headache picture Chronic daily headache is a type of frequently occurring headache which may be further classified as either chronic migraine (previously known as transformed migraine) or medication overuse headache. Chronic daily headache is thought to most typically occur as a result of medication overuse, but may also occur without medication overuse, when tension-type, cluster or migraine headaches become more frequent and intense.

For more information, see Chronic Daily Headache (Incorporating Chronic Migraine and Medication Overuse Headache).


Interactive


Headache or migraine? Evaluation tool

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Dr Joe talks about headaches

Headache video picture The most common medical condition that people get around the world is headaches. Dr Joe Kosterich talks about headaches, including causes of headaches, why they are so common, different types of headache, simple ways to prevent or relieve headaches, and when to see your doctor.

Watch the video Headaches.

Dr Joubert discusses new daily persistent headaches

Headache video picture Chronic daily headache affects 4% of the population. Dr Jacques Joubert describes new daily persistent headache, a type of chronic daily headache.

Watch the video New Daily Persistent Headache.

My experience: The amazing case of Jack’s exploding head

My experience If you get headaches or migraines, you might want to read about Jack’s story: a rare tale of pain and recovery, dealing with an uncommon condition that can strike excruciating pain into the skull – at the mere onset of a cough or a sneeze.

For more information, see My Experience: The Amazing Case of Jack’s Exploding Head.


Treatments for headaches


NSAIDs

Headache picture Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a very commonly prescribed type of drug (many of which are available over the counter without prescription) that can reduce pain, inflammation and also lower the body’s temperature during a fever.

For more information, see NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).

CGRP and migraine attacks

CGRP image In people who develop migraines, the throbbing headache is due to an opening of blood vessels in the head, and CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) appears to be part of this process.

For more information, see CGRP and Migraine Attacks.

Support


Headache Australia

Headache Australia image Headache Australia is the only Australian charity that aims to support the more than 5 million Australians affected by headache and migraine. Headache Australia is an initiative of the Brain Foundation – a national charity raising funds for research from community donations.

For more information, see Headache Australia.

 

 

Dates

Posted On: 3 January, 2012
Modified On: 19 March, 2014

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