headache
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GC: n

S: HEAD – http://www.headachejournal.org/view/0/mostViewedArticles.html (last access: 9 November 2014); DORLAND p. 824.

N: 1. Old English heafodece; see head (n.) + ache (n.). Colloquial sense of “troublesome problem” is first recorded 1934.
2. The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don’t get enough sleep, miss meals, or use alcohol.
3. Headache is a painful and disabling feature of a small number of primary headache disorders namely migraine, tension-type headache, and cluster headache. Headache can also be caused by or occur secondarily to a long list of other conditions, for example medication overuse headache.

  • Migraine. A primary headache disorder. Most often begins at puberty and most affects those aged between 35 and 45 years. It is caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head. Migraine is recurrent, often life-long, and characterized by attacks. Attacks include features such as headache of moderate or severe intensity; nausea (the most characteristic); one-sided and/or pulsating quality; aggravated by routine physical activity; with duration of hours to 2-3 days; attack frequency is anywhere between once a year and once a week; and in children, attacks tend to be of shorter duration and abdominal symptoms more prominent.
  • Tension-type headache (TTH). It’s the most common primary headache disorder. Episodic TTH is reported by more than 70% of some populations; chronic TTH affects 1-3% of adults. TTH often begins during the teenage years, affecting three women to every two men. Its mechanism may be stress-related or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck. Episodic TTH attacks usually last a few hours, but can persist for several days. Chronic TTH can be unremitting and is much more disabling than episodic TTH. This headache is described as pressure or tightness, like a band around the head, sometimes spreading into or from the neck.
  • Cluster Headache (CH). A primary headache disorder. CH is relatively uncommon affecting fewer than 1 in 1000 adults, affecting six men to each woman. Most people developing CH are in their 20s or older. It is characterized by frequent recurring, brief but extremely severe headache associated with pain around the eye with tearing and redness, the nose runs or is blocked on the affected side and the eyelid may droop.CH has episodic and chronic forms.
  • Medication-overuse headache (MOH). It’s caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache. MOH is the most common secondary headaches. It may affect up to 5% of some populations, women more than men. MOH is oppressive, persistent and often at its worst on awakening.

4. The term headache should encompass all aches and pains located in the head, but in practice its application is restricted to discomfort in the region of the cranial vault.
5. The term “headache” is used more commonly than “head pain”.
6. The term “headache” was recommended by the Medical Signs and Symptoms Committee.
7. Headaches are one of the most common and universal human ailments, described in the Bible as well as in medical writings from ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Rome, India, and China. Severe chronic headaches were once treated by the oldest known surgical procedure, known as trepanning or trephining, in which the surgeon drilled a hole as large as 1–2 in diameter in the patient’s skull without benefit of anesthesia. Evidence of trepanning has been found in skulls from Cro-Magnon people that are about 40.000 years old.
8. Some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including: alcohol, particularly red wine, certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates, changes in sleep or lack of sleep, poor posture, skipped meals and stress.

S: 1. OED (last access: 9 November 2014). 2. MEDLP – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/headache.html (last access: 9 November 2014). 3. WHO – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/ (last access: 9 November 2014). 4, 5 & 6. TERMIUM PLUS (last access: 9 November 2014). 7. ENC – http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Headache.aspx (last access: 9 November 2014). 8. MAYO – http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800 (last access: 9 November 2014).

SYN: 1. cephalalgia, cephalgia, cephalodynia. 2. cephalalgia, cephalea, cerebralgia, encephalalgia, encephalodynia, cephalgia.

S: 1. DORLAND p. 824. 2. GDT.

CR: brucellosis, encephalitis, fever, Lyme disease, malaria, migraine, rabies, tetanus, tonsillitis.