What are Secondary headaches ?

A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. Any number of conditions — varying greatly in severity — may cause secondary headaches.

Possible causes of secondary headaches include:

  1. Acute sinusitis (sinus infection)
  2. Arterial tears (carotid or vertebral dissections)
  3. Blood clot (venous thrombosis) within the brain — separate from stroke
  4. Brain aneurysm (a bulge in an artery in your brain)
  5. Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) — an abnormal formation of brain blood vessels
  6. Brain tumor
  7. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  8. Chiari malformation (structural problem at the base of your skull)
  9. Concussion
  10. Dehydration
  11. Dental problems
  12. Ear infection (middle ear)
  13. Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  14. Giant cell arteritis (inflammation of the lining of the arteries)
  15. Glaucoma (acute angle closure glaucoma)
  16. Hangovers
  17. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  18. Influenza (flu) and other febrile (fever) illnesses
  19. Intracranial hematoma
  20. Medications to treat other disorders
  21. Meningitis
  22. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  23. Overuse of pain medication
  24. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  25. Post-concussion syndrome
  26. Pressure from tight headgear, such as a helmet or goggles
  27. Pseudotumor cerebri
  28. Stroke
  29. Toxoplasmosis
  30. Trigeminal neuralgia (as well as other neuralgias, all involving irritation of certain nerves connecting the face and brain)

Some types of secondary headaches include:

  1. External compression headaches (a result of pressure-causing headgear)
  2. Ice cream headaches (commonly called brain freeze)
  3. Rebound headaches (caused by overuse of pain medication)
  4. Sinus headaches (caused by inflammation and congestion in sinus cavities)
  5. Spinal headaches (caused by low pressure or volume of cerebrospinal fluid, possibly the result of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak, spinal tap or spinal anesthesia)
  6. Thunderclap headaches (a group of disorders that involves sudden, severe headaches with multiple causes)

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