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What Causes Headaches?

Flickr.com, Peter Hellberg

As I type this, a skull-splitting headache is rampaging through my brain. I don’t usually get headaches, but lately it seems like I’ve had one just about every day. The past two days, however, the little, slightly annoying headache has turned into a monster.

We’ve all had them, but what are headaches?

Headaches, as it turns out, are a lot more complicated than they seem. There are as many types of headaches as there are causes. Basically there are Primary and Secondary headaches.

Cluster headaches, Migraines, and Tension headaches fall in the realm of Primary Headaches. A primary headache is caused by dysfunction or overactivity of pain-sensitive features in your head.

Secondary Headaches include Arterial tears, Blood clots, Brain aneurysms, Brain tumors, Carbon monoxide poisoning, and Concussions. These are generally the words you never, ever want to hear come out of your doctor’s mouth.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a headache can be a symptom of a more serious condition. Go to a hospital emergency room or call 911 if you have a sudden, severe headache or a headache accompanied by:

  • Confusion or trouble understanding speech
  • Fainting
  • High fever, greater than 102 F to 104 F
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Stiff neck
  • Trouble seeing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble walking
  • Nausea or vomiting (if not clearly related to the flu or a hangover)

This is your brain people. Don’t mess around with headaches.

I just heard from my physician. If my headache hasn’t broke by tomorrow, I have to go to the Emergency Room at St. Luke’s for some kind of Migraine Treatment. It certainly sounds fun. Well, hopefully that will get rid of this headache.

[Via Mayo Clinic]

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