Headaches are painful sensations that affect the head. Depending on the cause of headache, the pain may be dull or sharp, and it can worsen with movements such as standing up, bending down, or merely turning your head.
Headaches are usually managed with pain medications, but the underlying cause must be examined to avoid a more serious complication. For example, headaches caused by hemorrhagic stroke is as a result of bleeding and require emergency management. Paracetamol won’t fix a headache caused by massive bleeding in the brain. Therefore assessing the cause is very vital.
Possible causes of constant headaches
- Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose): the brain and other organs of the body need glucose for them to function correctly. The absence of glucose cause the brain to act out and headache is one of the ways it acts out.
- Stress: emotional, psychological, physical, or combination of all types of stress can cause massive pressure and tension that can be felt in the head as pain and discomfort. The best way to handle stress is to figure out the major source of stress and find ways to fix it. For example, taking on a lot of responsibilities at work can cause stress that manifests as headache, planning more spa sections with your friends, self-care, good sleep. And delegating certain tasks to others at your office will help reduce the stress you feel and, in turn, combat your headache.
- Inadequate sleep (sleep deprivation): Lack of enough sleep at night can cause headaches.
- Incorrect prescription eyeglasses
- Exposure to loud noise
- Use of tight head scarfs or caps
- Exposure to unnecessary bright light
- Concussion: likewise known as a mild traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head or a drastic shaking of the head and body with or without loss of consciousness. The symptoms of concussion include headache, lack of coordination, confusion, memory loss, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and tinnitus.
- Acute bacterial sinusitis
- Common cold
- Use of recreational drugs
- Severe head injury
- Rapid ingestion of cold foods or beverages
- Ruptured aneurysm
- Brain tumors
- Intracranial hemorrhage: is also known as intracranial bleed, is bleeding within the skull. It is classified into intracerebral bleeds, subarachnoid bleeds, epidural bleeds, and subdural bleeds.
- Temporal arteritis
- Celiac disease
- Irritable bowel disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Hepato-biliary diseases (liver and gallbladder diseases)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Alcohol-induced hangover
- Blood clots
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
- Allergics (excessive sneezing)
How are headaches diagnosed?
Headaches are classified according to the cause (primary and secondary) and characteristics of pain. Diagnosing headache requires:
- History taking on when the headache start, trigger factors, is this a new or old headache? Does the headache run in the family? For instance, migraines are usually inherited and tend to run in families, duration of headache, how long does the headache last for? Characteristics of headache and intensity of headache.
- Diagnosis of cause
- Head CT scan
- Lumbar puncture
- Full blood count
Most headaches are unusually a symptom of something serious that can handle them with OTC painkillers. Nevertheless, you should consult a doctor if you experience severe, persistent, or recurrent headaches that are accompanied by either fever, stiff neck, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, trouble speaking, seizures, or shortness of breath.