What might complicate it? Dependence on pain medicines can become a distinct problem, both in the treatment of the headache (creating rebound headaches), and in and of itself. How is it diagnosed? Tension Headache signs and symptoms Any of the following: Moderate pain in the front or back of the head, accompanied by tight muscles in the neck or scalp. Tests : If sinusitis is suspected as the cause of headache, sinus x-rays may confirm it. Persistent headache pain for longer than 24 hours without other symptoms. Insomnia. Appropriate specialists Neurologist and internist. Headaches also may result from eyestrain or may be a symptom of an eye disease such as iritis or glaucoma. A head injury (concussion or cerebral contusion) may be followed by posttraumatic headaches. History and the physical exam will determine the particular diagnosis. Focus on exercises that help muscles in the back, shoulders and neck. Constant pain over the temples, accompanied by the feeling that a vise is over the back of the head. Seek Medical Attention You or a family member has a headache and any of the following occur: Fever. Physical exam is usually normal. It should include the location and character of the pain, when it is noticed, what brings it on, any associated symptoms, and its relation to psychological stresses in the person's life. Participate in a regular physical fitness program. How is it treated? Treatment and prognosis depend on the specific diagnosis. Vision disturbances and vomiting prior to the headache. Most people have experienced a headache at one time or another caused by muscular tension. In addition to several distinct types of headache (tension headache, migraine headache, cluster headache), it can be a symptom of a variety of other disorders (such as infections in the sinuses, meninges, or brain), severe high blood pressure, bleeding or tumor in the brain, alcohol overuse, or it may occur without any known cause. Headaches may be of toxic origin (in alcoholism, lead poisoning, and renal failure). Headache may be a symptom of central nervous system (CNS) disease. But there might be signs of severe hypertension seen in the eyes, tenderness to pressure over the sinuses or teeth, muscle tension in the neck, or a large and pulsating temporal artery. Disorders of the spine (intervertebral disc disorders) or the brachial plexus (thoracic outlet syndrome) may produce headaches. Blurred vision. Headache is a general description for a common disorder. Last updated 16 December 2011. Headache also may occur after a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). Facial pain can be caused by nerve disorders such as tic douloureux or herpes zoster. Also, headache may be an adverse effect of certain medications, such as nitrates (used to treat angina pectoris). These tension headaches may result from acute stress, or they may be associated with chronic anxiety or depression. Predicted outcome Prognosis depends on the identified cause. Throbbing pain all over the head. Vascular headaches are thought to be caused by dilation of blood vessels in the brain and/or scalp. Antidepressants may be prescribed for chronic tension headaches. High blood pressure. Caffeine withdrawal is often overlooked as a cause of headaches. Cluster headaches also are thought to be vascular in origin. If bleeding or a brain tumor is suspected, a CT scan or MRI of the head can be diagnostic. Diet Most persons feel better if they don't eat, unless the headache is from low blood sugar. Don't drink alcohol. Many disorders involving structures of the head and face can cause headaches or facial pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. Recent head injury. Medications for tension headaches You may take acetaminophen or aspirin to relieve pain. You suspect a prescription or non-prescription drug caused the headache. In addition, fever from any cause may be accompanied by headache. Drowsiness. Pain may be referred to the head from other areas of the body, particularly the neck, shoulders, or back. Nausea or vomiting. Information Brand Generic Label Rating Lioresal Baclofen Effexor Venlaine Motrin Ibuprofen Naprosyn (Naproxen), Prozac (Fluoxetine), Ultram (Tramadol), Soma (Carisoprodol), Ativan (Lorazepam) Activity Rest in a quiet room while you have the headache. So may systemic (system-wide) diseases affecting the central nervous system (severe hypertension, systemic lupus erythematosus ). Headaches also may arise from disorders of muscle and fascia (neck or back strains, myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia). Alternatives Headache is apparent as a symptom. CNS infections (meningitis, encephalitis ) and space occupying lesions (cerebral hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, brain cancer, brain abscess) may be accompanied by headache. Often present when you wake up. Among these are sinusitis, otitis media (middle-ear infection), mastoiditis, dental disorders, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Pain and tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones that worsens when you lean forward. Pain in one eye. Migraine is the most common type of vascular headache. History provides most of the important diagnostic information.
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