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Headache

One of the most widespread types of pain.  A headache is hardly ever a symptom of a serious underlying disorder.  The pain is caused from tension in the meninges (the membranes around the brain), and in the blood vessels and muscles of the scalp.

Headache can be felt all over the head or can arise on only one side, or in the back of the neck or forehead.  Occasionally the pain moves from one area to another.  The pain of headache can be sharp and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and visual or other sensory disturbances or can be superficial throbbing.

Types

Most headaches are usually a response to some adverse stimulus, like hunger.  Headaches like these often clear up quickly.  Tension headaches, caused by tightening in the scalp, neck, and face muscles are a result of poor posture or stress, they are also widespread and can last for days or weeks.  Migraine can be an extreme, debilitating headache that is accompanied by visual and/or stomach disturbances.  Cluster headaches create an extreme pain behind one eye. 

Causes

Ordinary causes of headache include noisy or stuffy environment or hangover.  Certain headaches are brought on by the overuse of painkillers.  Other plausible causes include toothache, head injury, sinusitis and cervical osteoarthritis.  Food additives can also be another causant.  Among the unusual causes of headache are hypertension (high blood pressure), brain tumour, temporal arteritis (inflammation of arteries in the face, scalp, and neck), an aneurysm (ballooning of a blood vessel) and heightened pressure within the skull.

Treatment

The majority of headaches can be alleviated by pain killers and rest.  If a neurological cause is suspected MRI or CT scanning can be carried out.


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