Causes of Headaches
The ICHD defines two types of migraines: ‚Äúclassic migraines‚Äù and ‚Äúcommon migraines.‚Äù Classic migraines are those accompanied by an aura (a visual disturbance). Auras are painless and usually precede the pain of classic migraines. Classic migraines frequently occur within families, suggesting the existence of a migraine gene. Common migraines are those wherein no aura is present.
Secondary headaches occur suddenly and are symptomatic of underlying disorders or diseases, many of which are life-threatening. Auto-immune disorders, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington‚Äôs disease cause headaches, which are thereafter referred to as secondary. Secondary headaches are accompanied by difficulty moving limbs, confusion, and vomiting. Pain may worsen with the movement of the skull. Because of their severity, secondary headaches usually serve as red flags that direct individuals to specialists for examination.
What are the treatments for headaches?
Treatment for headaches is varied. Primary headaches, which are caused by minor ailments, usually require only the treatment of analgesics, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and opiate-based pain-killers like hydrocodone and morphine. Because secondary headaches are caused by underlying conditions, the above mentioned analgesics may temporarily relieve pain, but will not ultimately address their cause.