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Analyse Your Headache

The right analysis of the throbbing pain in your head might just cure it!

Read on to know more.

Headaches are something which have affected each and every one of us. You stay back in the office to complete that last assignment and you return home with a headache. You rush to catch an important flight and spend the rest of the time in air with a headache. The electricity goes off for a class and you return from school with an aching head. The point is, headaches can be triggered by the least suspicious causes and can affect anyone, irrespective of age. But causes for headaches are many, and preventive measures vary for each of them. In our latest post, we break down the mountain of headache into an extremely simple picture.

The Indian Medical Association has identified 150 diagnostic categories of headaches. Without going into medical jargon, we list the main types:

1.       Tension headaches: These are basically chronic headaches which commonly affect adults and adolescents on a daily basis. These are caused due to muscle contraction in the brain and cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time.

Close your eyes and try to rest for some time whenever a tension headache troubles you. A massage would be best, but simply applying pressure on the neck will also do the job. Listen to music to calm your nerves and bid farewell to the headache.

2.       Migraines:  According to the neurovascular theory, various triggers cause abnormal brain activity, which in turn causes changes in the blood vessels in the brain. Genetics plays a role in migraines and they have a tendency to run in families. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as throbbing pain in one side of the head. Migraine headaches can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, or odours, nausea and loss of appetite. Abdominal migraines affect children and induce vomiting. 

The effect of a migraine attack can be reduced by taking painkillers. Try to stay in dark rooms with proper ventilation since the brain needs oxygen. Preventive measures include avoiding excessive heat and loud noises and consuming meals on time.

3.       Cluster headaches: These are the least common, yet most severe type of headaches. The pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing pain that is throbbing or constant. The pain is so severe that most cluster headache sufferers cannot sit still and will often pace during an attack. The pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides. Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely (become dormant) for months or years, only to recur.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are the best remedy against cluster headaches. Triptans are just as good. Breathe as much as possible as oxygen will improve your condition. Dihydroergotamine can cure clusters in five minutes but should NOT be coupled with triptans.

 4.       Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.

The best way to cure a sinus headache is by speaking, which clears the nasal passage as explained in our post ‘Away You Go, Common Cold!’ Decongestants and nasal sprays serve the same purpose. Bending might not be a good idea since the head’s alignment is disturbed so try to keep your head straight. Antihistamines may be used if the problem is caused due to an allergy.

5.       Hormone headaches: Headaches in women are often associated with changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Chemically induced hormone changes, such as with birth control pills, also trigger headaches in some women. 

Consume plenty of water to keep the body hydrated and rest in a dark, quiet room. Massaging the paining area should relieve some pain. Deep breathing and yoga are also helpful. Placing an ice bag or cold cloth will cool down the body and reduce the pain.

Headaches result from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. It’s not clear, however, why these signals are activated in the first place.

Common causes of tension headaches include emotional stress related to family and friends, work, or school. Skipping meals and changes in sleep patterns may trigger acute headaches in some people. Weather changes may also cause the head to ache. Eyestrain and neck or back strain due to poor posture trigger cervical spondylitis, causing headache which might last for days. Too much physical activity can also trigger a migraine in both adults and children.

A proper diagnosis of the cause of your headache might treat it. Painkillers with Ibuprufen are the first things one should consume when encountered with a headache. Report the problem to your doctor if it persists. Proper nourishment and adequate rest cure most headaches, albeit over time. Headaches can never be cured entirely, but their effects can be mitigated to a large extent using the aforementioned methods, and for that, it is important to understand what type of headache affects you.

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cloudchowk is a healthcare software company based out of Delhi. Its software help medical labs, clinics and patients share information and collaborate seamlessly.

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