Almost everyone has suffered from a headache from time to time, but when headaches are frequent or severe, sufferers need to seek answers to the causes underlying their head pain. Headaches can occur anywhere in the head and even in the neck. Possible causes can often be determined by the location of the headache. If you experience frequent headaches located in the top of your head, there are a few possibilities you and your doctor should explore.
The sphenoid sinuses, located in the upper part of the head behind the eye, sometimes become infected. Sphenoid sinusitis is a rare sinus infection in which the sphenoid sinuses become infected and inflamed. A headache on the top of the head caused by sphenoid sinusitis must be treated as an emergency because of the risk of brain infection, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Warning signs of brain infection from sphenoid sinusitis include visual problems, changes in levels of consciousness and changes in mental status.
Cervicogenic headaches occur only on one side of the head and recur frequently without treatment. Arthritis frequently causes cervicogenic headaches in the elderly, with injuries such as whiplash being more common causes of these headaches in younger people, according to New York University Medical Center. Numbness around the eye, neck pain and pain in the front of the head typically occur with these headaches.
Headaches have many different causes depending on the individual. Keep notes on important details regarding your headaches such as frequency, intensity, time of day at onset and duration. Make note of any possible aggravating factors such as lack of sleep, extremely stressful situations, consumption of large amounts of caffeine or sugar, lack of food or anything else you feel may be important. This information helps your doctor greatly in narrowing down possible causes of your headaches and providing proper treatment. Other conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and past injuries also frequently play a role in the development and diagnosis of headaches.
Proper diagnosis allows treatment tailored to the underlying cause of your headache. Most headaches are not the result of serious illness or disease and can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. Others may require treatment with antibiotics to address underlying infection.Treatment with heat, acupuncture or even biofeedback may be recommended in some cases. Stress, depression and even medications can cause headaches; treatment for these headaches focuses on stress relief, correction of any mental illness or changes in medication as deemed necessary by your physician.
In some cases, a headache may be a symptom of stroke or other serious and life-threatening conditions. Muscle weakness and changes in vision or mental status should be evaluated immediately. Seizures are generally a result of brain infection, tumor or other serious illness and should also be addressed by emergency medical professionals.