Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, 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.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A deep form of pain, with a characteristic aching quality, localized in the head.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Chronic daily headache (CDH) is defined by convention as headache of any type occurring at least 15 days per month.
Understand the basic pathophysiology of the common headache disorders
Furthermore in a case series of 129 athletes with sports-related headache, effort-exertion headache was the most prevalent (60%) type of headache in the none traumatic group which was followed by sports migraine (15%) headache (7).
Conclusion: The primary headache was common among outpatients with depressive disorder, predominantly tension-type headache and migraine without aura.
Any history of pre-existing headache, if change in pattern and quality of headache, current headache whether present or absent, if present, how long was the duration of the headache, Frequency--continuous, daily, >15/month, thrice weekly, twice weekly, once weekly, less than weekly), location (which side and whether frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital, hemispheric frontoparietal, to start with and during progression whether it becomes bilateral, generalised during the episode or does it remain strictly unilateral), intensity [on a nominal analogue scale (NAS) from 1 to 10 with 1 for little and 10 for worst pain], quality of pain (dull, stinging, pulsating, tightening or band like, other), duration of the event (<1 hr., 1-4 hrs., 4-24 hrs., 24 hrs.
Herein we report a case of 51 year-old man, who regularly awakened from sleep at the same time of the early morning by a diffuse headache which persisted for 15 to 40 minutes since one and a half year.
Most of the time, headaches are caused by hangovers, tension, or sinus problems during a weather change.
It is widely accepted that excessive muscle activity in pericranial muscles is of great importance for the development of TTH, as reflected in the term of muscle contraction headache. Nociceptive processes in craniofacial muscles are believed to play a role in the development and maintenance of TTH.
A study led by Dr Joseph Noman Blau at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London was published in 2004 by the medical journal, Headache. The researchers had found that one in 10 people who were interrogated had experienced a headache after not consuming water for a certain amount of time.A
Also, facial pain affected 21 per cent of the 42 people with hemicrania continua -- a rare type of headache with continuous pain that varies in severity.
A man who identified himself as an artiste confessed to battling with the headache disorder for over 30 years.