The malaise has troubled people over centuries. Documented references to headaches were made by the Egyptians as far back as in 1550BC.
Why should I be aware of this?
- Headaches are very common and often harmless; but sometimes they can be pointers to a serious underlying disease such as brain tumour or stroke. This is why many people seek advice from their doctors and, in some cases, are referred to specialist neurologists.
- The severity of the headache bears no relation to the gravity of the diagnosis.
All about headaches
Incidentally, very few headaches occur within the skulls. Almost all happen outside the skull, affecting the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that cover the head and neck. What normally happens is that during a headache, the muscles or blood vessels swell, tighten, or go through other changes that stimulate or put pressure on the surrounding nerves. These nerves send a rush of pain messages to the brain, which brings on a headache.
Headaches can be classified as either primary headaches or secondary headaches. The classification of headaches into primary and secondary was documented by Hippocrates in 400 B.C.
Primary headaches -- Though these are painful, they are not harmful. They can be treated with various medications with varying degrees of success.
- Tension-type headache -- This is the most common type of headache experienced by people. This usually results from muscle tightness in the shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. It is often related to stress, depression or anxiety. A person is more likely to get tension headaches if he or she works too much, does not get enough sleep, misses meals or consumes alcohol.
- Migraine headache-- A migraine headache is a pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit.
- Cluster headache -- Cluster headache commences quickly, without warning, and reaches a crescendo within 2 to 15 minutes.
- Hormonal headache -- Hormonal headaches are the result of a fluctuation in sex hormones in the body.
- Medicine induced headache -- Medication headache is caused by taking painkillers too often for tension-type headaches or migraine.
- Sinus headache -- Sinus headaches cause a dull, deep, throbbing pain in the front of your head and face. They are caused by an inflammation in your sinuses
- Organic headache -- Organic headaches are extremely rare. They’re caused by abnormalities in the skull or the brain: aneurisms, tumors, brain infections, abscesses, meningitis and cerebral hemorrhages. However, not all people with these abnormalities experience headaches.
Secondary headaches indicate an underlying condition or disease that should be taken seriously. Secondary headaches can occur if a person suffers from meningitis, cerebrovascular disease, infection, brain tumor, head trauma, diabetes, thyroid disease, TMJ (temporomandibular joint pain), glaucoma or withdrawal from painkillers.
The common causes of headaches are
- Emotional stress,
- Eye strain
- High blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Nutritional deficiency
- Presence of poisons and toxins in the body.
Headaches cannot be cured, but they can be controlled. There are many medications that can either stop the pain associated with headaches or stop the symptoms, like nausea, that accompanies them.
Using medication should be only one part of a wellness program. Life-style changes such as avoidance of any known headache triggers, personal and family counseling, stress management, and relaxation therapy should be undertaken.
What can I do?
- Rest in a quiet room with dim light
- Eat timley balanced diet
- Sleep on time and sleep for at least 6-7 hours.
- Do not take spices, condiments, sour buttermilk, and oily foodstuffs
- Have your eyesight checked
- Take proper nutrition
- Do exercises and meditation
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Avoid red meat, nuts, and chocolate
- There is a belief that recurrent headaches are a result of psychological problems. The truth is that headaches are the result of biochemical changes in the brain.
- Those suffering from recurrent headaches feel that they have to learn to live with it. The fact is that headaches can be managed, not cured. With proper medical care, education and effort, almost all headaches can be controlled.
- 90% percent of all headaches are tension headaches and they are common to both men and women.
- Cluster headaches come in "clusters" and can sometimes strike at the same time every day for months.
- Men are affected by cluster headaches six to one over women, and often share similar physical characteristics such as a ruddy complexion, eye color (hazel) and a tall, muscular build.
- Women suffer from migraine headaches three times more often than men do.
- People suffering from cluster headaches often experience onset while asleep.
- Heat and humidity, or cold, dry weather can trigger a migraine headache. Even the change of seasons can trigger a migraine.
- Certain foods such as processed foods and those containing MSG are notorious triggers for headaches.
- Migraine is a biological disease that affected 28 million Americans, or close to 13% of the U.S. population in 2007.