Things to Know About Headache

One of the common symptoms that brings people to visit a doctor is headache. It comes in various forms and patterns. It can be an isolated symptom or may be occurring concurrently or may precede other symptoms. In later case it evolves into a discrete neurological syndrome. Here I am giving reader an introduction to headache as a medical symptom with emphasis on migraine.

Some of the most common types include:

There are many different types of headaches, so identifying the location and nature of your pain can help determine the cause.

Tension headaches:

The pain from tension headaches tends to spread across both sides of the head, often starting at the back and creeping forward. This is the most common form of headache pain. Eyestrain, stress and hunger are frequently causes of tension headaches, and they can be chronic.

Sinus headaches:

These headaches often strike when you’re sick or feeling congested. They’re caused by swelling in the sinus passages, resulting in pain behind the cheeks, nose and eyes. The pain is often at its worst when you wake up in the morning and when you bend forward.


The changes in brain activity affect blood in the brain and surrounding tissues, causing a range of symptoms. In addition to severe head pain, migraine sufferers may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue

A migraine episode may occur in four different phases, though not everyone experiences every phase. The phases include:

  • Prodrome phase: Sometimes called the pre-headache phase, this stage features painless symptoms that occur hours or days before the migraine arrives. These include mood swings, food cravings and stiffness of the neck.
  • Aura phase: Auras refer to sensory disturbances that occur before or during a migraine. Auras can affect a person’s vision, touch or speech, though not everyone who suffers from migraines experiences auras. Examples of auras include blurred visions, blind spots that expand over time, numbness in the arm, and slurred or jumbled speech.
  • Headache phase: This is when the pain usually hits, and it may range from mild to debilitating. Physical activity and exposure to light, sound and smells may worsen the pain. However, some people can have a migraine without developing a headache.
  • Postdromal phase: The final phase is when the pain has subsided. People may feel exhausted, confused or generally unwell during this phase.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting lifestyle changes may also help prevent some types of headaches and migraines. These include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Making dietary changes to avoid trigger foods
  • Improving sleep habits
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, like yoga and meditation

Dr. Bhagyashri B Patil
M.D.(Respiratory medicine)
Respiratory Medicine

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