What is headache?

Headache, colloquially known as headache, is one of the most common pain aches in the human race. It comes in different forms, depending on its intensity and symptoms. The most common types of headaches are migraine, tension headache, chronic daily headache, cluster headache, as well as other primary headaches.

Any change in the pattern or nature of the headache may be a symptom of a more serious health problem.

What are the symptoms?

The intensity of the pain is usually moderate to severe. Occasionally, it can become disabling for the patient, forcing him or her to stop activity. The headache can be localized in a specific area or affect the whole head in a more general way.

On the other hand, the frequency of headache episodes varies, ranging from one to five per month. The duration of each episode does not normally exceed 24 hours.

In addition to these symptoms, headache may present other visible symptoms such as:

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Tearing
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Facial spasms
  • Anisocoria: difference in pupil dilation.

Headache is a common complaint.

Medical tests for headache

Usually, there is no need for specific tests to diagnose headache; a detailed consultation, in which the physician will ask specific questions about the symptomatology, will suffice. However, in rare cases, it may be necessary to perform a CT or MRI scan to confirm the nature of the disease and identify the problems causing the headache. More detailed clinical tests may be required to detect the pathologies causing the headache, such as blood pressure monitoring, urinalysis, and fundus examination.

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Causes of headache

The most common causes of headache are:

  • Heredity: most people with migraine have parents or siblings who also have migraine.
  • Age: Migraine in childhood is less frequent and occurs equally in boys and girls. However, after puberty it is more frequent in women.
  • Stress
  • Foods: chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, nuts, citrus fruits, fermented cheeses and junk food additives, among others.
  • Alcohol
  • Hormonal changes: migraine worsens in women during ovulation and menstruation, as well as when taking oral contraceptives. During pregnancy it usually improves.
  • Climatic changes
  • Lack or excess of sleep
  • Drugs

Can it be prevented?

Headache itself cannot be prevented, but it is possible to prevent it from developing beyond what it should. Some of the recommendations of the specialists are:

  • Practicing physical exercise on a regular basis
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Avoid medication and caffeine abuse.
  • Eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

What does the treatment consist of?

First of all, it is necessary to know the type of headache the patient suffers from. There is no definitive cure for headaches, although many treatments can alleviate the symptoms or prevent them from worsening, such as certain drugs or therapies through the administration of pure oxygen.

Which specialist should you contact?

If you have a headache, you can contact specialists in Internal Medicine, Neurology, Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry.