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Headache symptoms and definitions

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What could cause this pain in my head and when should I seek medical attention?


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replied August 8th, 2007
General Q and A Answer A1973
There are many types and reasons for headaches. Some follow:
1. TENSION headache. Tension headaches are due to tight, contracted muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression, or anxiety. Overworking, not getting enough sleep, missing meals, and using alcohol or drugs can make you more susceptible to them. Headaches can be triggered by chocolate, cheese, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). People who drink caffeine can have headaches when they don't get their usual, daily amount.
Other common causes of headache include: holding your head in one position for a long time (at a computer, microscope, or typewriter); poor sleep position; overexerting yourself and clenching or grinding your teeth. Tension headaches tend to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing, like a tight band or vice. Your shoulders, neck, or jaw may feel tight and sore.
2. MIGRAINE headaches are severe, recurrent headaches generally accompanied by other symptoms like visual disturbances or nausea. They tend to begin on one side of your head, although the pain may spread to both sides. You may have an "aura" (warning symptoms that start before your headache). Persons experiencing migraines may feel throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain.
3. CLUSTER headaches are sharp, extremely painful headaches that tend to occur several times per day for months and then go away for a similar period. They are far less common.
4. SINUS headaches cause pain in the front of your head and face. They are due to inflammation in the sinus passages that lie behind the cheeks, nose, and eyes. The pain tends to be worse when you bend forward and when you first wake up in the morning.
5. Headaches may occur if you have a cold, the flu, fever, or premenstrual syndrome.
6. RARE CAUSES of headache include: brain aneurism, brain tumor, stroke, TIA, brain infection.
You may ask for medical attention at any time.



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