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June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

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June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

This month Campbell County Health is raising awareness to migraines and headaches. A disorder which, according to the National Headache Foundation, impacts forty million people in the United States, one billion people across the globe, and is recognized as the #2 cause of disability worldwide.

Currently, about 16 million people with migraines in the U.S. are undiagnosed. Approximately 400,000 Americans experience cluster headaches, recognized as one of the most painful diseases a person can have.

The Mayo Clinic can give us a better understanding of what happens to us during bouts of headaches and just what type of headache we may be experiencing.

Most headaches aren't the result of a serious illness, but some may result from a life-threatening condition requiring emergency care.

Headaches are generally classified by cause:

Primary headaches

A primary headache is caused by overactivity of or problems with pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn't a symptom of an underlying disease.

Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck (or some combination of these factors) can play a role in primary headaches. Some people may also carry genes that make them more likely to develop such headaches.

The most common primary headaches are:

A few headache patterns also are generally considered types of primary headache, but are less common. These headaches have distinct features, such as an unusual duration or pain associated with a certain activity.

Although generally considered primary, each could be a symptom of an underlying disease. They include:

Some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including:

  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates
  • Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Skipped meals
  • Stress

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:

Some types of secondary headaches include:

  • (commonly called brain freeze)
  • Medication overuse headaches (caused by overuse of pain medication)
  • Sinus headaches (caused by inflammation and congestion in sinus cavities)
  • Spinal headaches (caused by low pressure or volume of cerebrospinal fluid, possibly the result of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak, spinal tap or spinal anesthesia)
  • Thunderclap headaches (a group of disorders that involves sudden, severe headaches with multiple causes)

If your headaches persist in length, frequency and severity, reach out to your primary healthcare provider to make sure there aren’t any underlying health conditions you may be experiencing. Campbell County Medical Group Neurology diagnoses and treats chronic headache and migraine conditions. Talk to your provider about a referral to our neurologist, Dr. Mayer.

For more information on our neurology services, visit our website or call 307.688.6000.

Sources: Cure headache pain & suffering|The National Headache Foundation (

Headache Causes - Mayo Clinic

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