What are Headaches?

Headaches are a very common problem, with as much as 15% of the U.S. population suffering from recurring headaches.

Headaches are described as a pain above the shoulders, in the upper neck, the base of the skull, the head, or face. This pain may be generalized in these regions or it may affect a specific area.


Severe headaches may also be associated with other physiological symptoms, ranging from nausea to light-sensitivity.

Recurring, or chronic, headaches cause ongoing pain and discomfort, sometimes beginning with an extremely sharp, stabbing, and acute pain that may begin suddenly. Some headaches may be episodic, occurring consistently at certain times, while others are difficult to predict.

Headache Causes

This sort of damage may cause chronic or recurring headaches.

As mentioned above, headaches can be divided into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary headaches result from direct damage to the nerves in the head, while secondary headaches are caused by damage elsewhere in the body or by some other causative injury or illness.

Certain headaches, referred to as idiopathic headaches, do not have any clear distinguishable cause.

Headache Treatments

Depending on the type of headache, the optimal therapy will vary.

Here are several treatment options that will help attack the source of the headache:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Botulinum
  • Chiropractic therapy
  • Discography
  • Nerve blocks
  • Physical therapy
  • Occipital nerve block
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion block
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • TENS unit

In conclusion, headaches fall into two broad categories, primary and secondary. A disruption to pain-sensing nerves in the head or neck causes primary headaches. Other medical conditions that originate elsewhere in the body lead to secondary headaches.

Each type of headache has a number of treatment options, and more are currently being investigated. Speak with your physician if you experience any sudden change in symptoms or are seeking a new course of treatment.