Secondary Headaches


The first job of a headache specialist is to determine if your headache is due to some underlying medical problem. This can range anywhere form sinus problems, all the way to a brain tumor causing your headaches. Fortunately, majority of the headaches are primary, and only a small minority of patients have headache due to some serious medical problem.

It is important to remember that majority of the secondary headaches have a benign, non-life-threatening cause.

Benign medical conditions causing secondary headaches

  • Allergies

  • Sinus problems

  • Eyestrain

  • Vision problems

  • High blood pressure

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome

  • Post-traumatic headaches

  • Pseudotumor cerebri

  • Cervical spine degenerative disc disease

  • Medications

  • Post-spinal tap

What is more important is to determine if you have a more serious condition causing your headache.  These life-threatening conditions can be….well, life threatening. I don’t expect you to diagnose the cause of your secondary headache, however, I do expect you to recognize when your headache is unusual, and seek immediate medical attention.