Headache (Basic things to note)

So guys, I strongly felt the need to make a post about headache today. Low key, it is a super common complaint among patients and can occur in different forms with varying etiologies (causative factors).

Please note: All Headache no be the same o!

I ain’t about to school y’all on the pathophysiology or what not of this subject topic, simply because I don’t intend competing with the OG medical blogs.

What I would however love to do is talk around it, you know, give you a basic brief to keep you informed my darlings.

So, headache what’s the deal?


Simply put, Headache as the name suggests is pain in any region of the head. It may occur unilaterally (one sided) or on both sides of the head (bilaterally). It could also be isolated to a certain location on the head.

It is fairly common to have headache that radiates across the head from one point to the other. The pain could appear as a throbbing sensation, dull ache or sharp pain.

Now that you know that headache varies according to location, it could also vary according to it’s type and severity.

In medical school, I was thought to decipher the severity of pain using the pain grade/scoring system. With this, pain could be graded according to severity on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the most intense pain score felt by the patient and 1 is the very least.

With this system though, it dawned on me that we all have varying pain thresholds. Where a certain individual could perceive pain as being mild, another might wince, and scream the roof down for the same pain level.

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Types of Headache

There are over 10 types of headache with varying etiology. However, almost all types would fall under the primary or secondary headache category.

Now, so you don’t get confused, primary headache as the name suggests is head pain caused as a result of any pathology (or disease condition) going on in the head region while secondary headache is pain caused by any condition responsible for activating the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. That simply means the problem started from another area of the body asides the head region.

Primary headache holds the medal for having most of the common headache types we see especially in this part of the world including tension headache, Migraines and the likes.

So what I am going to do is run you through the characteristics of the 4 common headache types that usually present in the clinic settings.

Tension Headache

This generally has been described as a mild to moderate pain by patients and likened to the feeling of a tight band around the head. A tension-type headache is the most common type of headache, yet its causes are not clear cut. They often present following emotional distress, stress or general tension around the neck and shoulders region. Tension headache is most times relieved by simple lifestyle modifications to reduce stress, as well as over the counter medications such as acetaminophen.


This Particular word and type of headache has been thrown around a lot, with most people having very little understanding of its characteristics.

What really qualifies your headache a migraine?

In most cases Migraines present as a moderate to severe throbbing pain or pulsing sensation that is majorly unilateral but could also be bilateral. Migraine episodes could last for hours to even days, and the pain is a terrible kind that interferes with regular daily activities. They are characterized by warning and associated symptoms such as visual disturbances, weakness/ numbness in the face or on one side of the body, nausea/ vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound and sometimes even smell/touch.

Though migraines are poorly understood, anything from genetic to environmental factors could trigger them. It is important to identify triggers and avoid them. Though I could easily list out drug classes that might help to combat migraines, I feel it is best to see a Medical doctor/ practitioner for cases of migraine, it is also important to avoid self-medication.

Cluster headache

Ever heard about an alarm clock headache?

A severe excruciating head pain that tends to wake its victims at a particular time of the day with no remorse, yep that’s cluster headache. They come suddenly and have a characteristic type of pain and pattern of attack. There’s no cure for cluster headaches. The goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of pain, shorten the headache period and prevent future attacks. Needless to say, it is best to seek professional help from a physician for proper management.

Sinus headaches

These occur as a result of pressure build-up in the sinuses of the head, causing severe congestion. Often, this will occur seasonally as allergies are in full swing. They present most times with pain at the front of the head and associated earaches. Utilizing allergy medication to combat sinus symptoms may help to reduce the frequency and severity of sinus headaches.

Don’t get it twisted though, there are many other types of headaches including ice pick headache, thunderclap headache, hormone headache (also known as menstrual migraine), caffeine headache, exertion headache, hypertension headache as well as headache secondary to other causes such as a brain tumour. The four headache types discussed in details are however the most common that usually present in clinic settings.

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On a lighter note guys, I have a headache story to tell. Trust me to always come through with my real-life experiences.

Remember my housekeeper who unknowingly suffered PUD? Well, she also had a terrible case of migraines. She would come to clean the house and take an hour out to seat in a dark corner in a bid to wait out the pain.

Just in case you are wondering, I did try to educate and help her by suggesting a referral to the headache clinic but the girl has coconut head. She had already set her mind on what her perfect solution was.

Guys! You won’t believe it! Infact, my Jaw dropped for long minutes after she told me what she had done.

Brethren, this lady made a quick trip to a nearby village where she had been promised instant cure by a trado-medical “Baba” who could apparently perform magical acts.

Long and short of the story, her head was clean shaved; gorimapa/ afaridan things (for non-Yoruba’s, what I mean is that she was made bald)

Guess what, it didn’t end there, she also had scarification marks inscribed by said “Baba” in a bid to cast out the headache. All her pain and suffering amounted to nothing. I say this because the headache continued even stronger!

So, she lost her full and luscious hair for no just cause.

Moral of the story?

Desist from hear say Babalawo (fetish) Solutions and see a health care professional today for that recurrent headache.

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