The ancient Greeks had a word for it-cephalgia- that translates as "pain in the head." We call it headache, and like other all-purpose medical terms, such as stomachache or backache, this one takes its place among the all-but-universal ills of humanity. Just about everyone has had a headache at one time or another. As many as 90 percent of us have had recurrent headaches, and, for about one person in three, the severity has been disabling. Yet, every headache is unique and each has a distinct cause. We don't know why some people are more prone to headaches. Certain types of headaches run in families. Headaches can be triggered by stress, poor posture, too little or too much sleep, overeating or loud noises. The monthly hormone fluctuation experienced by women can also trigger headaches. Whenever a headache becomes recurrent or disabling we take the sensible step (or we should) of seeking medical help for it. However, the answer is sometimes as complicated as the organ it centers on. This pamphlet looks at the head and then we'll sort out the various kinds of headaches, their symptoms, the structures involved and how each is treated.
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