Headache is a very common symptom and can affect people of all ages. Severe or recurring headaches, especially those accompanied by other symptoms, may be a sign of a more serious disorder and should be treated by a doctor.
There are two types of headaches — primary, in which the headache is the disorder itself, and secondary, in which the headache is caused by another condition, such as a brain tumor; hemorrhaging or bleeding in the brain; meningitis, an infection causing inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord; or giant cell arteritis, a disorder involving inflammation and damage to blood vessels, particularly those in the neck.
Migraine is the most common type of primary headache for which people seek a doctor's care. Tension-type headache is typically less severe, and people generally do not seek medical attention for this disorder. Other primary headache disorders, such as cluster headache, are rarer and often very severe.
Many patients overuse headache medications, such as pain killers or migraine treatments, which can cause a condition known as medication overuse headache (MOH). If you develop this condition, you must be treated first for MOH as it prevents most other therapies from working properly.