Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.


pain in the head, caused by dilation of cerebral arteries, muscle contraction, insufficient oxygen in the cerebral blood, reaction to drugs, etc.



one of the most frequent symptoms of various diseases.

Headache arises chiefly in response to irritation of the nerve endings (receptors) of the meninges, venous sinuses, and tunicary and cerebral vessels. Leading factors in the development of a headache include inflammatory affection of the meninges (resulting in irritation of the meningovascular receptors by toxins of the pathogenic agent), compression of the receptors by edema in brain tumors and other accumulative processes (for example, abscess, tuberculoma, and cys-ticercosis), impairment of the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid accompanied by an elevation in intracranial pressure, vascular diseases (hypertension, hypotension, migraine) that cause a change in extracranial and intracranial vascular tone, chronic cardiovascular insufficiency (for example, congestion of the cerebral veins), and infectious diseases and intoxication accompanied by toxic irritation of the nerve endings. Headache also arises through affection of the cervical nerve roots of the spinal cord and affection of the perivascular neuroplexuses of the major blood vessels of the head (for example, in cervical migraine).

Localization of the headache and determination of its character, time of appearance, and other features are important in discovering its causes. Its course and accompanying signs should also be taken into account. Neurological examination and examination of the internal organs, eyes (vision, fundus oculi, intraocular pressure), ears, paranasal sinuses, endocrine glands, and cerebrospinal fluid are also necessary. In a number of cases physicians also make use of cranial roentgenography, electroencephalography, angioenceph-alography or pneumoencephalography, and rheoenceph-alography.

Treatment includes elimination of the cause of the headache and the prescription of preparations (vasodilative or vasoconstrictive, decreasing intracranial pressure [dehydrating], and analgetic) that counteract the cause of the headache.


Platonova, E. P. Golovnye boli. Moscow, 1960.
Botez, M., and R. Şerbánescu. Algille craniene şi craniofaciale: Fiziopatologie, Diagnosti, Tratament. Bucharest, 1965.
Heyck, H. Bóle gtowy. Warsaw, 1960.



A deep form of pain, with a characteristic aching quality, localized in the head.
References in periodicals archive ?
Discuss some of the very complex headache cases we have come across in Pakistan with the global headache experts.
Studies suggest that primary headache disorders have a lifetime prevalence of 90%.
35% females) had headache since the beginning or during the course of illness.
Insistent circadian rhythm of these headache attacks points hypothalamic involvement and another clinical feature of HH is its therapeutic response to caffeine and melatonin (4, 5).
Most of the time, headaches are caused by hangovers, tension, or sinus problems during a weather change.
Conclusion: The frequency of positive CT scan findings in patients presenting at PNS Shifa Hospital Karachi with chief complaint of headache without focal neurological signs was low.
International Headache Society (IHS) diagnostic criteria are used to classify headaches.
Several studies have reported a higher frequency of depressive or anxious disorders in subjects with the headache complaints.
Most headaches are attributed to stress, hunger or lack of sleep and are often treated quickly with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Headaches that occur four or more times in a month or are a major cause of discomfort and disruption do not necessarily suggest a secondary headache, but require assessment as well.
It is interesting that both these studies showed the same thing: More than 85% of patients who think they have sinus headache actually meet criteria for migraine headache.