What is a headache?
A headache is pain or discomfort in the head or face area. Headaches vary greatly in terms of pain location, pain intensity and how frequently they occur. Several categories of headache have been created by the International Headache Society to more precisely define specific types of headaches.
What causes a headache?
Headaches may be caused by a number of conditions, such as disorders of the neck, eyes, brain, jaw or teeth. Headaches with an underlying medical condition are classified as secondary headaches because they are related to the condition. An example of this would be a headache due to neck injury or sinus infection.
Other headaches are classified as primary because the headache itself is the main medical problem, although underlying non-medical causes, such as muscle tension or foods, may be identified. Other contributing factors may include medications, dehydration or changing levels of hormones. These factors that influence headaches are sometimes called headache triggers.
For what types of headaches can I get treatment at Missouri Neurosciences Center?
What are the most serious symptoms of a headache?
Headache symptoms depend upon the type of headache. The frequency of headaches and the intensity of the symptoms may vary as well. Symptoms that may suggest a more serious headache include any of the following:
- Changes in vision
- Headache that starts early in the morning
- Headache that becomes more severe or continuous
- Pain that is worsened by strain, such as a cough or a sneeze
- Personality changes
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Sudden onset of pain and the "worst headache" ever
- Vomiting without nausea
- Weakness in the arms or legs
To schedule an appointment with one of our headache specialists, please call (573) 882-1515.