What Is the Distinction Between Primary and Secondary Headaches?

Headaches can be nasty, but luckily they're not inevitable. Virtually everyone has experienced headaches at some point in their lives and one out every seven adults worldwide suffers from migraines!

For example: If you don't drink enough water then your dehydration might cause a headache as well. You could try staying hydrated by drinking lots of fluids - this will help prevent future head-related problems too!

However, not all headaches are the same and you should know the difference between the main two types.

What exactly are primary headaches?

Primary headaches are the most common type of headache, and they happen when a person's main issue is instead.

Primary Headaches aren't caused by an underlying condition but rather it is due to certain factors like tension or stress which produce discomfort in your head.

Those actually can lead to more severe complications such as pain medications being used incorrectly because doctors don’t know how else to treat you without treating this initial cause at hand.

Although primary headaches are not symptoms of other diseases or conditions, some migraines can be triggered by environmental factors such as skipping meals, stress, lack of sleep, and dietary factors.

What exactly are secondary headaches?

Secondary headaches, as opposed to primary headaches, occur as a result of an underlying condition. Secondary headaches can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Infections of the nose
  • Medication abuse
  • Meningitis
  • Dehydration
  • Spinal headaches are a common side effect of epidurals used during childbirth
  • Cervicogenic headaches are caused by degenerative disc disease in the neck
  • Injuries to the head or neck
  • A hypertensive emergency
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Tumors of the brain
  • Aneurysm of the brain
  • Stroke Warning: If you have "the worst headache of your life" and other symptoms of a stroke or hypertensive crisis, dial 9-1-1 right away.

Secondary headaches will persist until the underlying problem is resolved. If you have an acute sinus infection, for example, your headache should go away once you take antibiotics to clear the infection.

How are headaches treated?

Headaches are no FUN, but there is help! Headache sufferers can find relief by following these top treatments for their condition at home. 

  • Use chilled eye masks and apply a cold compress to your head
  • Using over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Using a magnesium spray or soaking in an Epsom salt bath to drink water
  • Applying diluted peppermint oil to the brow
  • Attempting a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee

While the tips above can help relieve the pain of a current headache, how can you avoid future headaches? The treatment and prevention of headaches differ greatly depending on the source of your headaches.

For most types of headaches, the following lifestyle changes can significantly reduce headache frequency:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Consuming a well-balanced diet and avoiding dietary triggers
  • Avoiding processed foods, particularly those containing MSG
  • Keeping a regular sleep schedule
  • Chiropractic care and nutritional counseling can also aid in headache prevention. Chiropractic care, which includes manual therapy, soft tissue therapy, and other modalities, can help with headaches by improving spinal function and relieving nervous system stress.

For most people, headaches are a temporary annoyance that they can get rid of by popping an aspirin or lying down in the dark. But for others, headaches might be more serious and require medical attention from a neurologist.

If you have been experiencing recurring headaches lately, it's best to see your doctor about what type of headache you're dealing with so he or she can help diagnose and treat them accordingly.

What is your way of getting rid of headaches? Let us know in the comments!

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