Headache refers to head pain (cephalgia). There are several different types of headache, including:
Headaches may also have other causes, such as:
- Side effects of medicines
- Overusing medicines to treat headaches
- Head injury
- Increased pressure in the head
While the precise cause of many headaches remains unknown, several theories exist. The causes of a headache vary depending on the type of headache.
Tension headache refers to head pain associated with stress and muscle contraction. These headaches may occur only occasionally in response to a stressful event. They may also be chronic, occurring frequently. Some tension headaches are nearly constant, with daily pain that may vary in intensity. Tension headaches occur when muscles in the neck, face, and scalp contract and produce pain. The precise cause of this muscle contraction is unknown, but stress, anxiety, depression, eyestrain, and other factors may contribute.
Migraine is a type of recurring headache that involves blood vessels, nerves, and brain chemicals. Sensations such as visual changes, called auras, may precede a migraine. The International Headache Society has a system that classifies migraines as one of two types: migraine occurring with an aura (formerly called “classic”) and migraine occurring without an aura (formerly called “common"). Migraines may occur several times a week or once every couple of years. Migraines may be so severe that they interfere with your ability to work and carry on normal activitie