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Facts You Should Know about Headache

August 10, 2018

 

It’s hard to find a human on the earth who hasn’t suffered a headache in the life. Headache is characterized by a pain in the inside of head, scalp or neck. The severity of pain varies from person to person though it can be so severe that it makes difficult for the person to focus on work or even perform daily activities. Fortunately, most headaches can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Earth’s Wisdom today wants to reveal some facts about this very common disorder.

Causes of Headache

Causes of headache can be divided as primary and secondary. Primary causes are those which are not associated to any other health issues and result from some processes in the brain, e.g. cluster, tension headaches and migraine.

Secondary causes of headache, on the other hand, are associated to some other medical condition. Here are some examples of secondary causes of headache.

Headaches due to Stopping Pain Medication Overuse

If someone takes pain medications on a large scale and starts reducing them or stops them altogether, it can cause a headache.

Cervicogenic Headaches

These are caused when discs begin degenerating and put pressure on the spinal cord because of which there is severe neck pain and headache.

Brain Tumor or Brain Aneurysm

A brain tumor or brain bleed (brain aneurysm) can cause a headache. It is caused because blood or an extra tissue fills up the space in the skull and it starts compressing the brain and brain starts aching.

Spinal Headache

This type of headache is caused because of a gradual leak of cerebrospinal fluid.

Sinus Headaches

Inflammation of sinuses too can cause pressure and thereby pain in head.

Post-traumatic Headache

Sometimes after trauma to the head in an event like a car accident or a fall, headaches are experienced.

Due to Meningitis

Membranes that cover the skull, brain and spinal column are called meninges and if they are infected, the condition is called meningitis. This condition too causes headaches.

Types of Headaches

There are many types of headaches. Examples are:

Tension Headaches

These are the most common kind of headache and experienced most commonly by women over 20 years of age. They are caused due to stiffening of muscles in scalp and neck. Stress and wrong posture can also contribute.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine is a pounding, throbbing, severe type of pain, often on one side of the head. It is again classified into several types, including chronic migraine that occurs 15 or more days every month and hemiplegic migraine that resembles a stroke in symptoms.

Migraines are the most complicated and severe kind of headache. It’s believed by researchers that they result from changes in brain chemicals and activities of nerve pathways. Genetic and environmental factors too can contribute to development of migraines.

Cluster Headaches

These are non-throbbing headaches characterized by burning, unbearable pain only on one side of the head or on the backside of eye. They normally make the eyes to tear up and cause nasal congestion or runny nose (rhinorrhea). These aches can even last for as long as six weeks and this duration is called cluster period.

These headaches are rare and usually affect men between the age of 20 and 40.

Thunderclap Headaches

These are sudden, severe headaches that occur typically very quickly. They can indicate an underlying issue with blood vessels in brain and so, prompt medical attention is needed in such a case.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches occur when you suddenly stop taking headache medications like triptans, ergotamine, acetaminophen and painkillers.

Diagnosis of Headache

Your doctor can determine the underlying cause of a headache from your medical history and physical examination which includes a complete neurological assessment. To know if it’s caused due to another medical condition, the doctor may also prescribe diagnostic tests, like:

  • Skull X-rays
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Head MRI or CT scan
  • Sinus X-ray

Treatment

Headache treatment can include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Stress management sessions
  • Biofeedback
  • Hot water shower or bath
  • Hot or cold therapy
  • Mild to moderate workout
  • Acupuncture

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle changes and ample rest can prevent headaches. Some tips are:

  • Avoiding food triggers like wine, cheeses, chocolate, onions, cashews, dark beers, wheat, dairy, processed meats etc.
  • Avoiding excess caffeine
  • Take adequate sleep
  • Mind-body practices
  • Regular exercise

If you are experiencing headaches, don’t forget to visit your doctor and make healthy changes in lifestyle, and you can live life without a headache.



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