About Headaches

Cause of Headache

The exact mechanism of headache causation has not been definitively identified. It is thought that dilation of blood vessels in the brain, which is known to occur during headache, is the source.

There are no medical tests that can be used to diagnose headache.

Headache Types

According to the world headache authority, the International Headache Society (IHS) there are over 300 different types of headache. Some of these include the interestingly named:

Ice Cream Headache, Orgasmic Headache and Chinese Restaurant (MSG) Headache.

Primary Headaches

– Tension Type Headaches

The most common type of headache is Tension Type Headache. It affects 40% of the population. 42% of women and 36% of men suffer Tension Type Headaches. It is a dull and persistent headache with a ‘pressure or squeezing’ nature, usually over both sides of the head. It can cause difficulty concentrating and sometimes nausea and light sensitivity.

It can last from minutes to months or even years, often occuring daily.

– Migraine

Migraine affects about 10% of the population. 17% of women suffer migraine and 6% of men. Migraine pain can be intense and debilitating. Migraine sufferers (migraineurs) are often out of action from 2 hours to 2 days, needing to lie down in a dark and quiet room.

– Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches are not common but extremely painful and affect 0.1% of the population (about 14,000 Australians). They are episodic with 1-8 per day and they come in clusters of one to sometimes many days.

Other Headaches

– Cervicogenic Headache

This is a headache that is caused by dysfunction of the structures of the neck. Muscles, joints, ligaments, discs (and other structures) of the upper three cervical segments have been shown to cause headache.

It is usually one sided with pain radiating from the back of one side of the head to the forehead. It can also cause nausea and light sensitivity, so it can mimic migraine.