Definition of Headaches

By definition, a headache is pain in the head and/or the upper neck. In terms of pain, a headache is the most common pain experienced by a person and can have many causes.

Classification of Headaches

Headaches are classified into three categories:

  • Facial pain, cranial neuralgias and other kinds of headaches
  • Primary headaches
  • Secondary headaches

Facial Pain, Cranial Neuralgias and Other Kinds of Headaches

Pain in your face as well as other pain above the neck is generally categorized as a headache. Cranial neuralgia is the pain in the nerves located above the neck. This type of headache often is felt as a clump of headaches since the upper neck and head nerves become severely inflamed resulting in what seems as many kinds of headaches being felt all at once.

Primary Headaches

These types of headaches may include cluster headaches, tension headaches and migraine as well as other types of headache.

Cluster headaches – These are headaches that affect only one out of a thousand people. Cluster headaches are usually suffered by males in their late twenty’s although children and women can suffer from these types of headache also.

Tension headaches – This is the number one type of (primary) headache suffered by people in the United States for many years now. This kind of headache is so common that almost all (around 90%) have experienced or will experience it. Again women are more prone to tension headaches than men.

Migraine headache – This type of headache ranks second as the most common type of headache in the United States where around 12% of its population suffer from this kind of headache each year. Adults and children can suffer from this condition. Prior to puberty girls and boys equally can be affected by migraine. After puberty, women tend to have a higher risk of getting migraine than men. About 18% of women and 6% of men will experience at least a migraine during their lifetime.

People react differently to primary headaches. Some may be able to quickly resolve their headache while others may suffer from longstanding and debilitated pain in the head.  Primary headaches are not fatal but they sometimes may be connected to symptoms that can mimic intra-cerebral bleeding or strokes.

Secondary headaches

These are types of headaches that are caused by a more fundamental structural problem in the neck or head. Some examples of secondary headache include:

  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Brain tumor
  • Hemorrhaging in the brain
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