A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine or high blood pressure, anxiety, or depression. It can lead to other problems. People with chronic migraine headaches, for example, may find it hard to attend work or school regularly.
Primary headaches are stand-alone illnesses caused directly by the overactivity of, or problems with, structures in the head that are pain-sensitive.
This includes the blood vessels, muscles, and nerves of the head and neck. They may also result from changes in chemical activity in the brain.
Secondary headaches are symptoms that happen when another condition stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. In other words, the headache symptoms can be attributed to another cause.
A wide range of different factors can cause secondary headaches.
bleeding in or around the brain
There are different types of headache.
Tension headaches are the most common form of primary headache. Such headaches normally begin slowly and gradually in the middle of the day.
The person can feel:
as if they have a tight band around the head
a constant, dull ache on both sides
pain spread to or from the neck
A migraine headache may cause a pulsating, throbbing pain usually only on one side of the head. The aching may be accompanied by:
sensory disturbances known as auras
Rebound or medication-overuse headaches stem from an excessive use of medication to treat headache symptoms. They are the most common cause of secondary headaches. They usually begin early in the day and persist throughout the day. They may improve with pain medication, but worsen when its effects wear off.
Along with the headache itself, rebound headaches can cause: