Introduction: Headache


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Headache: Almost everyone gets an occasional headache and they are usually harmless. On the other hand, headache is a symptom of numerous conditions ranging from common cold, flu, or a hangover to very severe conditions such as meningitis, stroke, or a brain tumor (see full list of conditions with symptoms of headache). Because of the range of possible causes, correct diagnosis is very important.

Sudden headache depends on what is meant by "sudden" and can indicate some extremely severe conditions if its onset is rapid, severe, or seems unusual. A headache that comes on reasonably slowly over a period, such as in the afternoon at work, is most likely common headache or a tension headache. But the very rapid arrival of a headache, particularly an excruciating headache, can be a variety of very serious conditions like cerebral aneurysm or other brain condition. Also surprisingly common but not well-known is the sexual headache from sexual exertion that can cause a severe headache that can come on very quickly. Sudden and severe headache can also indicate numerous dangerous conditions (e.g. meningitis, stroke); seek professional medical advice immediately for persistent headache, excruciating headache, headache not responding to medication, or a "worst ever headache". A severe headache that wakes you in the night or a severe headache on waking up in the morning can also indicate a severe brain condition that may have occurred during sleep. If there is any doubt, seek immediate professional medical help. Sudden headache can also be the first instance of a chronic headache problem and hence caused by the various causes of chronic headache.

Chronic headache affects millions of people. There are various headaches that can occur chronically such as migraine, cluster headache, or tension headache. Chronic headache can also occur due to various underlying conditions, medications, or toxins.

Misdiagnosis and Headache: Research more detailed information about misdiagnosis of Headache, failure to diagnose Headache, underlying causes of Headache (possibly misdiagnosed), or research misdiagnosis of other diseases

Treatments for Headache: Various information is available about treatments available for Headache, current research about Headache treatments, or research treatments for other diseases.

Causes of Headache: Research more detailed information about the causes of Headache, other possibly hidden causes of Headache, or other general information about Headache.

Statistics and Headache: Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Headache, prevalence and incidence statistics for Headache, and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.

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Last revision: Nov 3, 2003

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