Causes of Headache
Headaches have literally hundreds of causes. In most cases, the cause of a headache is a simple condition: just the everyday common headache, a tension headache, or something similar. But there are also more chronic types of headache, and also there is a possibility that a headache is caused by a severe medical condition like stroke or brain injury.
Simple Causes: There are a number of types of headache that have simple causes. The common everyday headache is well-known, but not the only one.
- Common Headache.
- Tension Headache. A simple type of headache due to emotional tension or physical muscle tension.
- Sexual headache. A type of headache that develops during sexual arousal, and usually dissipates afterwards.
- Drug side-effects. Various medications can cause headache as a side-effect; discuss with your doctor.
- Contraceptive pill. In some women, some types of contraceptive pill can cause headache.
- Neck Muscle Strain. Poor posture can cause neck strain and result in a headache.
- Alcohol (hangover)
- Eye strain. Various visual disorders or eye problems can cause headache.
Chronic or Serious Headache Conditions: There are various medical conditions with chronic headache.
- Migraine. A well-known cause of recurring headaches. The diagnosis of migraine is actually a somewhat involved process of diagnosis by exclusion.
- Cluster Headache
- Muscle Contraction Headache
- Vascular Headache
Infectious Causes of Headache: If you have an illness, such as a virus, it is common for a headache to develop. Usually there are other symptoms such as fever. Almost any disease that causes fever can also cause headache. Causes of headache include:
- Viral infection
- Flu. A headache is a common symptom of the flu (influenza).
- Sinusitis. A common complication of the common cold or other viral infection, which causes headache, usually with other types of pain (e.g. face pain, cheek pain, etc.)
- Common Cold. A headache is likely with a common cold, but is not as likely for a common cold as for, say, flu, and a headache from flu is likely to be more severe.
- Fever. Numerous conditions can cause fever, and a headache can result from a fever, especially a high fever), or the infection causing fever with headache. Read more about: Fever.
- Vomiting. A headache is also common due to vomiting, often after the vomiting episode. It is important to determine the cause of the vomiting; read more about: Vomiting.
Serious Brain or Head Conditions: A headache can be due to some serious problem with the brain, the skull, or the head. Many of these conditions can be a medical emergency. Some of the possibilities include:
- Stroke (brain clot; brain hemorrhage)
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Head Injury
- Skull Fracture
- Brain hemorrhage (subdural hematoma, epidural hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage; intracranial hemorrhage)
- Brain Bruising
- Brain abscess
- Brain aneurysm (ruptured cerebral aneurysm)
- Meningococcal disease
- West Nile Encephalitis
- High Intra-Cranial Pressure (ICP)
- Brain Tumor. Everyone talks about a headache being caused by a brain tumor, and sure, it can occur, but itís really not very common!
- Temporal Arteritis. An inflammation of the arteries of the head (forehead pain or temple pain).
- Spinal fluid condition
Eye Conditions: Various eye disorders can result in headaches.
- Acute Glaucoma. This is an eye condition which usually has the hallmark symptom of blurred vision. This is a medical emergency; seek medical help immediately to prevent blindness.
- High Intraocular Pressure (IOP) (ocular hypertension)
- Vision Disorders (various types)
- Eye strain
- Eye disorders (various types)
Serious Conditions. A number of other severe medical conditions can cause headache.
- Essential hypertension
- Secondary hypertension
Febrile illnesses: Almost any condition causing a fever can also cause a headache. Some examples include:
- Common cold
- Anthrax infection
- Q fever
- Dengue fever
- West Nile fever
Medical Care Causes: various causes from treatments and tests include:
- Spinal fluid diagnostic test (lumbar puncture test) (side-effect)
- Cervical traction treatment (side-effect)
Drugs and Toxins: Substance-related causes of headache include:
- Caffeine toxicity
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Alcohol (hangover)
- Drug abuse
- Medication side-effect
- Herbal remedy side-effect
Additional Indirect Causes: What are the causes of the causes of headache? See also the various causes of:
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.