The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Headaches

The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Headaches

They’re part of the human experience. Almost every person will experience a headache at some point in their lives, and most of us will have several. Since headaches can come from simple causes, like dehydration, they are common.

That doesn’t mean persistent headaches are normal, though. If you deal with regular head pain, it’s time to figure out what’s at the source of your head pain.

Our team of expert providers breaks headaches into two categories: primary and secondary. That allows us to determine if the headache is the issue or if it is caused because of a separate condition. 

Ultimately, when you visit us at any of our six LA Pain Doctor offices throughout Louisiana for headache care, we work with you to identify the cause of your head pain so we can help you find relief. 

With that in mind, let’s look at the difference between secondary and primary headaches.

Primary headaches

You get these headaches when there’s a problem with the structures in your head. Basically, you’re feeling head pain because of something going on directly in your head or neck. 

The most common headache types are primary headaches. For example, migraines and tension headaches as primary headaches. Similarly, headaches that stem from neck tension or bad posture are primary headaches. 

The main takeaway — primary headaches don’t come from an outside aggravating factor. Now, let’s contrast that with secondary headaches. 

Secondary headaches

These headaches develop as a result of an issue going on in your body. They’re a symptom of a separate, identifiable condition.

Some health conditions that can cause secondary headaches include:

Headaches due to dehydration and hangovers are secondary headaches. 

So, if something else causes your headache, it falls under the secondary headache umbrella. 

Getting relief from primary and secondary headaches

Identifying the cause of your headache — whether it’s primary or secondary — allows us to tailor the most effective treatment. 

Here at LA Pain Doctor, our headache specialists can diagnose your headache type and start you with the proper treatment. 

If it’s a primary headache, that might be medication, injection-based treatment, lifestyle changes, or a combination. If it’s a secondary headache, we generally address the condition causing your headaches. Ultimately, we work with you to create a headache-free life. 

To get started, call the LA Pain Doctors office nearest you or schedule an appointment online at any of our offices in Metairie, Laplace, Harvey, New Orleans, Luling, and Hammond, Louisiana.

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