Defining headaches

“I have a headache.”

When is a headache something to worry about?

A sign that something isn’t working properly in the body, headaches may be a symptom you need to pay attention to. It can be as simple as a sign of emotional distress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, or a stressful situation you may be going through. It can also be as a result of a medical condition such as high blood pressure or anxiety. Not every headache is a sign of a serious illness, but it is important to understand the cause so that you are able to treat it effectively.

A common ailment, headaches can affect anyone at any time, at any age, and are typically defined as a pain felt in any region of the head (in one or both sides of the head). Pain is felt for a variety of different reasons and as such may require specific types of treatment.

Pain may be sharp, dull or throbbing, and can develop suddenly or gradually, lasting for up to an hour or for several days at a time. Pain may begin in the head or upper neck, originating from the periosteum (tissue surrounding the muscles and bones, encasing the skull, ears, eyes and sinuses). This thin layer of tissue covers the surface of the spinal cord and brain (meninges), as well as the veins, nerves and arteries in the head. Pain signals inflammation and irritation, and can be constant, intermittent, mild or intense (severe).

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