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  About Headaches Home >> About Headaches >> An Overview  
Headache - An Overview

Headache’ is a very common problem in both adults and children but unfortunately it still continues to stay neglected. Recurrent head pain interferes with normal functioning and can be quite incapacitating. Frequent headaches can impair family, social and sex life. Despite the significant disability and all the recent advances, headaches in medical practice continue to be underdiagnosed and inadequately treated. Headache is therefore a huge public health burden in terms of loss of productivity and the amount spent on ineffective treatment.

The understanding of various types of headaches has advanced greatly over the last two decades. Research has now established beyond doubt that headaches are a biological problem and there is nothing psychological about most headaches. Present attitudes are unfair to headache sufferers for they may deprive them of the treatment to relieve their pain. Beliefs about headache and attitudes toward headache needs to change. So ‘headaches’ can no longer be passed off saying “It’s All in your head!”
Different Headaches have Different Treatment
Eyestrain, refractive errors, sinusitis and psychological tensions are not common causes for headache as is generally thought. Most headaches seen in practice are due to migraine. Identifying the type of headache is the starting point for determining the treatment plan.
All conditions that cause headache are broadly divided into 2 broad categories – Primary and Secondary. Almost 90% of headaches seen in practice, belong to the category of PRIMARY HEADACHES where examination and investigations are normal and diagnosis is arrived at by pattern recognition based on experience - some examples of primary headaches are Migraine, Cluster headache. Less than 10% of headache disorders seen in practice are due to serious life-threatening underlying structural causes that can be diagnosed on examination or by investigation. These are called SECONDARY HEADACHES.  Some examples of secondary headaches are those due to brain tumor, meningitis, brain hemorrhage. But regardless of whether the underlying cause of the headache is benign or serious, the pain can be just as severe.
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