Head Pain and Headache

Head | Nephrology | Head Pain and Headache (Symptom)


Head pain that is located above the eyes or ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back pain has many causes. All headaches are considered primary headaches or secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other diseases.

Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache. Up to 90% of adults have tension headaches. Tension headaches are more common among women than men. Migraines are the second most common type of primary headache. They affect both children and adults. Before puberty, boys and girls are equally affected by migraine, but after puberty more women than men have. Migraine often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as tension or sinus headaches.

The syndrome of post-traumatic headache is a common injury sequelae following head or neck, and often occurs after car accidents for the rear. Headaches are usually self-limiting and may resolve quickly, within days to several weeks.


Tension headaches are the most frequently occurring type of headache, their cause being unknown. The most likely cause is contraction of the muscles that cover the skull. When the muscles covering the skull are stressed, they may spasm and cause pain. Common sites include the base of the skull where the trapezius muscles of the neck inserts, the temple where muscles that move the jaw are located, and the forehead. Tension headaches occur because of physical or emotional stress placed on the body. These stressors can cause the muscles surrounding the skull to clench the teeth and go into spasm.

In many patients, especially those with more severe trauma, headaches can be a problem for months, years or a lifetime. If headaches develop within 2 weeks of the event, and persist for longer than several months, it is considered the chronic phase of the syndrome of headache post-traumatic. Occasionally, patients do not develop post-traumatic pain until months after the injury, but the headaches usually begin within hours or days after the accident.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the diagnosis and symptoms. The first step in developing a plan to combat the recurring headaches is to determine what type of headache a person deals with.