Causes of Headache

There are many different causes of headache. Headache is an extremely common symptom, experienced in one form or another by most people at one or more time in their life. The vast majority of headaches experienced by most people are benign tension headaches which are a nuisance but harmless, not associated with any serious underlying nervous system diseases. However, fortunately relatively rarely, some types of headache can be associated with severe, potentially life-threatening neurologic disease, such as meningitis, aneurysms and brain tumors, to name a few.

While all of these causes of headache have pain in the head as a common symptom, all vary somewhat in other associated symptoms that can set them apart from each other. Read on to learn more about the different types, how they differ and their implications for your health.

Types of Headache:

There are many types of headaches. Learn about them and what distinguishes them here. Read more about the specific types below.

  • Tension Headache: One of the most common causes of headache, a benign tension headache, also called a stress headache, is almost always, as the name implies, harmless and not due to any other underlying nervous system disease.
  • Migraine Headache: Another common type of headache, migraines often have other symptoms and features that distinguish them from the common tension headache.
  • Cluster Headache: A rare form of headache, it too has specific symptoms that set it apart from other types.
  • Meningitis Headache - Headache and Fever: One of the potentially life-threatening causes of headache, meningitis is an infection in the space around the brain and spinal cord.
  • Cerebral Aneurysm and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Another potentially life-threatening, though rare, type of headache, subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding around the brain typically due to rupture of a cerebral aneurysm.
  • Brain Tumor Headache: While many people worry about brain tumors when they have a headache, most headaches are not caused by a tumor. However, a tumor in or around the brain is a potential cause of headache. Learn more about what may distinguish these headaches from other benign types.

Headache Symptoms:

While the most obvious symptom of headache is pain in the head, other related symptoms may accompany headaches and may help to identify the underlying cause of the headache and distinguishing serious types from more benign headaches.

Headache Treatment:

Treatment of headache ranges from simple rest and over-the-counter analgesic medications (Tylenol, Advil, etc.) to more specific types of treatment used for specific types of headaches such as migraines, cluster headaches and others.

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Important Note: This site is not intended to offer medical advice. Every patient is different, and only your personal physician can help to counsel you about what is best for your situation. What we offer is general reference information about various disorders and treatments for your education.

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