Secondary headaches are those in which the cause of the attack is due to a variety of underlying disorders, whereas primary headaches are those that occur without a clear cause. The most common primary headaches are migraine and tension-type headaches. Secondary headaches include those due to tumors, strokes, infections, and many other causes. It is the first task of a headache evaluation to determine whether ones headaches are primary of secondary.
A Answers (3)
Riverside Health System answered
Secondary headache disorders are caused by an underlying illness or condition that affects the brain. These headaches are usually diagnosed based on other symptoms that occur concurrently and the characteristics of the headaches. Some of the more serious causes of secondary headache include brain tumor and disorders of blood vessels in the brain, including stroke. A tumor that is growing in the brain can press against nerve tissue and pain-sensitive blood vessel walls, disrupting communication between the brain and the nerves or restricting the supply of blood to the brain. Headaches may develop, worsen, become more frequent, or come and go, often at irregular periods. The pain may worsen when coughing, changing posture, or straining, and may be severe upon waking. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. However, the vast majority of individuals with headache do not have brain tumors.
Several disorders associated with blood vessel formation and activity can cause headache. Most notable among these conditions is stroke. Headache itself can cause stroke or accompany a series of blood vessel disorders that can cause a stroke.
There are two forms of stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the surrounding tissue. An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying the brain with blood becomes blocked, suddenly decreasing or stopping blood flow and causing brain cells to die.
This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Headaches are classified as either primary or secondary. A secondary headache is due to an identifiable medical condition that causes the headache. The headache is a symptom of the medical problem. A primary headache disorder does not have an identifiable medical problem as the cause.