Headache syndromes

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The typical migraine headache is unilateral and pulsating, Migraine is a neurological syndrome characterized by altered bodily perceptions, severe headaches, and nausea. Physiologically, the migraine headache is a neurological condition more common to women than to men.

Lasting from 4 to 72 hours; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), and phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound). Approximately one-third of people who suffer migraine headache perceive an aura—unusual visual, olfactory, or other sensory experiences that are a sign that the migraine will soon occur.

There are migraine headache variants, some originate in the brainstem (featuring intercellular transport dysfunction of calcium and potassium ions) and some are genetically disposed. Studies of twins indicate a 60 to 65 percent genetic influence upon their propensity to develop migraine headache. Moreover, fluctuating hormone levels indicate a migraine relation: 75 percent of adult patients are women, although migraine affects approximately equal numbers of prepubescent boys and girls; propensity to migraine headache is known to disappear during pregnancy, although in some women migraines may become more frequent during pregnancy.


Cluster headaches are excruciating unilateral headaches, of extreme intensity. The duration of the common attack ranges from as short as 15 minutes to three hours or more. The onset of an attack is rapid, and most often without the preliminary signs that are characteristic of a migraine. However, some sufferers report preliminary sensations of pain in the general area of attack, often referred to as "shadows", that may warn them an attack is imminent. Though the headaches are almost exclusively unilateral, there are many documented as cases of "side-shifting" between cluster periods, or, even rarer, simultaneously (within the same cluster period) bilateral headache.


Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is an inflammatory disease of blood vessels (most commonly large and medium arteries of the head). It is a form of vasculitis.

The name (giant cell arteritis) reflects the type of inflammatory cell that is involved[1] (as seen on biopsy).
The terms "Giant cell arteritis" and "temporal arteritis" are sometimes used interchangeably, because of the frequent involvement of the temporal artery. However, it can involve other large vessels (such as the aorta in "giant cell aortitis".[2] Giant cell arteritis of the temporal artery is referred to as "temporal arteritis," and is also known as "Cranial arteritis" and "Horton's disease."[3]


Tension headaches, which were renamed tension-type headaches by the International Headache Society in 1988, are the most common type of primary headaches. The pain can radiate from the neck, back, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body. Tension-type headaches account for nearly 90% of all headaches. Approximately 3% of the population has chronic tension-type headaches.

Tension-type headaches can be episodic or chronic. Episodic tension-type headaches are defined as tension-type headaches occurring fewer than 15 days a month, whereas chronic tension headaches occur 15 days or more a month for at least 6 months. Tension-type headaches can last from minutes to days, months or even years, though a typical tension headache lasts 4–6 hours.


Headache is a common result of head injury and it might persist for months or years following even mild head trauma. Although it is most frequently associated with a variety of symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, difficulties in concentration and mood and personality changes, headache dominates the clinical picture. In most patients, the frequency and severity of the headache diminishes with the passage of time, and the headache usually disappears within six to 12 months. There appears to be no relationship between the severity of injury and the severity of post- traumatic headache.


Paroxysmal hemicrania (PH) is a rare form of headache. Paroxysmal hemicrania usually begins in adulthood, and affected persons experience severe throbbing, claw-like, or boring pain. The pain is usually on one side of the face, near or in the eye, temple, and occasionally reaching to the back of the neck. Red and tearing eyes, a drooping or swollen eyelid on the affected side of the face, and nasal congestion may accompany this pain. Persons experiencing the headache pain of paroxysmal hemicrania may also feel dull pain, soreness, or tenderness between attacks.