Examples of Secondary Headaches

Basics on Several Seconday Headache Disorders

Secondary headaches are headaches caused by some other underlying health condition and must be distinguished from primary headaches — like migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.

Here examples of  and links to secondary headaches.


How Stroke May Cause a Headache
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Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either through a blockage in the blood vessels (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). Both are medical emergencies, and both can be associated with a headache.

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Cerebral Aneurysm

Serious Headache from a Cerebral Aneurysm
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A cerebral aneurysm is a “weak spot” in an artery in the brain. This weakness allows the vessel to balloon outward and fill with blood, possibly leading to pressure on a nerve or brain tissue near the aneurysm. Aneurysms also can leak or rupture, causing blood to spill into the surrounding tissue (hemorrhage). What causes them and how do they relate to headaches?

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Alcohol-Related Headaches
Is Alcohol a Headache Trigger?. Alexandra Steedman/Getty Images
It's no secret that drinking alcohol can lead to a headache the next day, one of the signs of a hangover. But why does this happen? And how else can drinking alcohol cause a headache? Let's take a look.

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Nicotine and Smoking

How Smoking May Worsen Your Headache Health
Smoking Worsens Your Headache Health. Stephanie Garza/EyeEm/Getty Images
Smoking can cause a wide variety of health issues, and headaches seem to be one of them. Studies suggest that smokers may be twice as likely to develop headaches as non-smokers, especially in adolescence. Migraines and cluster headaches especially seem to be more frequent in smokers. In addition, smoking a higher number of cigarettes seems to cause migraines more frequently.

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How Caffeine Withdrawal is Associated with Headaches
Will Skipping Your Daily Espresso Lead to a Headache?. Guido Mieth/Getty Images

Caffeine is a subject that often comes up when talking about headaches, mainly because many sufferers are very aware that caffeine withdrawal can be a source of their headaches. How exactly does caffeine relate to headaches, and should you be using caffeine or working to cut it out of your life to avoid your headaches?

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How Concussion May Cause Headaches
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Concussions occur when there is a minor injury to the brain. It can temporarily interfere with the brain's normal functioning. Concussions are common in sports such as football, in which players are likely to be struck in the head.

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Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH)

Headaches Caused By Overuse of Medications
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In the world of headache medicines, too much of a good thing is definitely too much. The right kinds of medications, used appropriately, can offer significant benefits for people who have chronic headaches. But taking too much of these medicines can actually backfire, resulting in pain that is more frequent and severe. This phenomenon is referred to as medication overuse headache, or MOH. Older names for it include analgesic rebound headache, drug-induced headache, medication-misuse headache and withdrawal headache.

Sinus Headaches

Throbbing Sinuses as a Cause of Headache
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Sinus headaches are definitely nothing to sneeze at. This is because the headache symptoms rarely occur alone. In addition to the pain and pressure experienced in or around the forehead, cheeks and nose, sinus headaches may be accompanied by congestion, cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, fever or sneezing. Individuals suffering from a sinus headache may also notice nasal discharge that is yellow-green in color or tinged with blood.

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Final Thought

There are a number of potential causes for your headache, including an underlying medical condition. It's important to receive a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider so you can undergo the appropriate therapy. Edited by Dr. Colleen Doherty on October 3rd 2015.

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