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Almost everyone has had a headache. Headache is the most common form of pain. It's a major reason people miss days at work or school or visit the doctor.

The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don't get enough sleep, miss meals, or use alcohol.

Other common types of headaches include migraines, cluster headaches, and sinus headaches. Most people can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax and taking pain relievers.

Not all headaches require a doctor's attention. But sometimes headaches warn of a more serious disorder. Let your health care provider know if you have sudden, severe headaches. Get medical help right away if you have a headache after a blow to your head, or if you have a headache along with a stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness, or pain in the eye or ear.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Headache

The following features are indicative of Headache:
  • pain
It is possible that Headache shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
References: 1

Common Causes of Headache

The following are the most common causes of Headache:
  • fatigue
  • sleep deprivation
  • stress
  • effects of medications
  • effects of recreational drugs
  • viral infections
References: 1, 2, 3

Other Causes of Headache

The following are the less common causes of Headache:
  • loud noises
  • common cold
  • head injury
  • rapid ingestion of a very cold food or beverage
  • dental or sinus issues
  • alcohol
  • certain foods such as processed meats that contain nitrates
  • changes in sleep or lack of sleep
  • poor posture
  • skipped meals
  • acute sinusitis
  • arterial tears
  • blood clot
  • brain aneurysm
  • brain arteriovenous malformation
  • brain tumor
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • chiari malformation
  • concussion
  • dehydration
  • ear infection
  • encephalitis
  • glaucoma
  • giant cell arteritis
  • high blood pressure
  • influenza
References: 1, 2, 3

Risk Factors of Headache

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Headache:
  • female sex
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • sleep disturbances
  • obesity
  • snoring
  • overuse of caffeine
  • overuse of headache medication
  • other chronic pain conditions

Prevention of Headache

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Headache. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid headache triggers
  • avoid medication overuse
  • get enough sleep
  • do not skip meals
  • exercise regularly
  • reduce stress
  • reduce caffeine
References: 3

Occurrence of Headache

Degree of Occurrence

The following are number of Headache cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Headache most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Can happen at any age

Common Gender

Headache most commonly occurs in the following gender:
  • Not gender specific
References: 1

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Headache

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Headache:
  • Physical exam: To find out the signs of neurological, illness and infection problems
  • Imaging tests: To diagnose any medical condition
References: 1, 3

Doctor for Diagnosis of Headache

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Headache:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Headache if Untreated

Yes, Headache causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Headache is left untreated:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sleep disturbances
  • psychological problems
References: 3

Procedures for Treatment of Headache

The following procedures are used to treat Headache:
  • Electrical stimulation of the occipital nerve: Surgically implanted electrode sends continuous energy pulses to the nerve to ease pain
References: 3

Self-care for Headache

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Headache:
  • Avoid medication overuse: Do Not use headache medications in excess without a health professional recommendation
  • Get enough sleep: Take seven to eight hours of sleep
  • Don't skip meals: . Eat healthy meals at about the same times daily
  • Exercise regularly: Improve your physical and mental well-being and reduce stress
  • Reduce stress: Try stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, tai chi or meditation
  • Reduce caffeine: Beneficial in reducing headache pain
References: 3

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Headache

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Headache:
  • Acupuncture: Helps in reducing the frequency and intensity of chronic headaches
  • Biofeedback: Control headaches
  • Massage: Reduces stress, relieve pain and promote relaxation
  • Coenzyme Q10 supplements: Reduce the frequency of headaches
References: 3

Patient Support for Treatment of Headache

The following actions may help Headache patients:
  • Take control: Commit yourself to living a full life
  • Seek understanding: Pay attention to your headaches
  • Check out support groups: Talk to other people who have painful headaches
  • Consider counseling: Helps in managing stress
References: 3

Time for Treatment of Headache

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Headache to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months
References: 4

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Questions - Headache

Demographic Information - Headache

Following is the demographic information reported by website visitors for Headache. Information below may include patient demographics as well as data for website visitors who might be researching on behalf of patients e.g. parents for small children. The data below may or may not be reflective of the complete patient population demographics for this medicine/health topic.
User gender
83 out of 125 users are male.
Survey Participants: 125
User age
The most common user is 21-30 years old.
< 2133
Survey Participants: 126
User reported disease
Users most commonly suffer from Back pain.
Back pain16
Chronic pain (e.g., arthritis, migraine, fibromyalgia, neuropathy)6
High blood pressure4
Survey Participants: 56
User exercise frequency
Users most commonly exercise once a week.
Once a week50
Twice a week12
Five times a week7
Survey Participants: 97
User smoking habit
94 out of 125 users do not smoke.
Do not smoke94
Survey Participants: 125
User alcohol consumption frequency
Users most commonly reported never consuming alcohol
One drink a day4
Two drinks a day0
More than two drinks a day2
Once a week11
Twice a week1
Once a month21
Survey Participants: 108
User body weight
39 out of 109 users report being overweight.
Not overweight70
Survey Participants: 109
User well-being
61 out of 106 users report having significant pain in the last 3 months.
Significant pain in the last 3 months61
No significant pain in the last 3 months45
Survey Participants: 106
User profession
The most common user profession is Student.
Engineer, IT or Software20
House Maker6
Family business3
Survey Participants: 87


  1. Wikipedia Headache - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  2. MAYO CLINIC Headache - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  3. MAYO CLINIC Chronic daily headaches - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  4. Ravishankar K, Chakravarty A, Chowdhury D, Shukla R, Singh S. Guidelines on the diagnosis and the current management of headache and related disorders. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2011;14(Suppl 1):S40-59. - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  5. Source:

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 12/12/2017.
This page provides information for Headache in English.

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