Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet: Hi, I am Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, and we are here in my office, talking about headaches. Now lets talk about the types of headaches, and see if you can figure out which one you have.
Headaches come in two basic types; primary and secondary. First, lets tackle the primary headaches. Those are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. Migraine headaches can be caused by the trigeminal nerve. This is a nerve that runs across your face, into your eyes, and into your sinuses. When that starts to have pain and throbbing, you get whats a migraine. How do you know you have a migraine? Well the symptoms are you have sensitivity to light and to noise; you just want to go lay down. You can get some nausea, some vomiting. You can get an intense throbbing pain thats usually just on one side of the head. We are not really sure of what the cause of a migraine headache is, but the thought is its around this neural-transmitter called serotonin.
Serotonin is a chemical thats in the brain. The reason we use antidepressant medications is not because we think that you are sad; its because it binds up the serotonin receptors and that will help make the headache, or the reason for the headache, go away.
Tension headaches are another type of primary headache. They are caused more by muscle strain in the head and the neck. They can also be caused by emotional stress. Tension headaches are usually dull, steady, and aching pains on both sides of the head. The cause of tension headaches is really unknown, but its thought to be develops from throbbing pain, leading researchers to believe that it is close to a migraine. Eye strain, especially from looking at computer screen, can trigger frequent tension headaches. So watch out when you are doing too much work. The third type of primary headache is the cluster headache. These headaches occur repeatedly over weeks and weeks and even months. Cluster headache pain usually occurs on one side of the head, and its centered around the eyes. The cause of a cluster headache is unknown, but it may be related to changes in blood flow. Substances that effect blood flow, like alcohol can trigger a cluster headache. The causes of cluster headache are not known, but it may be related to changes in blood flow. Substances that effect blood flow, such as alcohol can trigger a cluster headache.
Now lets talk about the next group of headaches which are known as secondary headaches. This means they are not coming primarily from your head; they are coming from areas around your body, and other medical conditions. For instance, infections or fever can increase the amount of blood that flows through the head. Other diseases like diabetes that lower your blood sugar can certainly cause a headache. Lastly, head injury, tumors, and dental conditions can make a headache. Basically anything that increases pressure in your head or particularly in your sinuses, like allergies or head cold, would be considered a secondary cause of a headache. Now that we have learned about the types of headaches, lets go talk about the treatment for headaches.