Headache disorders, characterised by recurrent headache, are among the most common disorders of the nervous system.
Migraines are a primary headache disorder. Migraine most often begins at puberty and most affects those aged between 35 and 45 years.
It is more common in women, usually by a factor of about 2:1, because of hormonal influences.
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 recurring attacks.
Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most common primary headache disorder.
Episodic TTH,occurring on fewer than 15 days per month, is reported by more than 70% of some populations. 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.
Cluster Headache (CH) is a primary headache disorder.
CH is relatively uncommon affecting fewer than 1 in 1000 adults, affecting six men to each woman.
It is characterized by frequently recurring (up to several times a day), brief but extremely severe headache, usually focused in or around one eye, with tearing and redness of the eye, the nose runs or is blocked on the affected side and the eyelid may droop.
Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache. MOH is the most common secondary headache disorder. It may affect up to 5% of some populations, women more than men.
MOH occurs by definition on more days than not, is oppressive, persistent and often at its worst on awakening.
Dr Amit Dhakoji Neurologist from Pune said, “Headache disorders are a public-health concern given the associated disability and financial costs to society. As headache disorders are most troublesome in the productive years.”
Dr Sachin Gandhi, another neurologist from Pune, said, “Many times, it is difficult to establish cause for a headache. Finding the causes takes time as there are many reasons which can lead to headaches. Appropriate treatment of headache disorders requires training of health professionals, accurate diagnosis and recognition of the conditions, appropriate treatment with cost-effective medications, simple lifestyle modifications, and patient education.”