Knowing the Different Types of Headaches
One of the most frustrating and excruciating experiences any person has to go through is headache. Aside from the painful sensations felt in the several areas of the head like temples, scalp and the forehead, headache may bring pain to the different parts of the face, throat, and mouth because of the series of nerves that extends one another.
Before taking in any medication or undergoing any treatment to bring relief to your aching head, make sure that you know first what are the different types of headache and possible causes of the common illness.
HOW ARE HEADACHES CATEGORIZED
Studies show that 90 percent of all types of headaches are classified as tension and muscle contraction. However, there most experts would agree that headache could be further classified into two broad categories: the primary and the secondary.
“Primary headache” includes migraine, cluster, and tension headache. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head, queasiness, over sensitivity to light and sound especially to bright lights and loud noises.
Statistics say that 18 to 28 million Americans suffer from migraines and the majority of which is women.
Aside from throbbing or pulsing pain, migraine is also characterized by visual disturbances, numbness of the face, nausea, and heavy vomiting.
Usually triggered by food, stress, heat or cold temperature, strong smells, emotions, fatigue, or hormonal fluctuations, experts say that people who are anxious and depressed are more prone to migraine.
Tension headache, on the other hand, is considered as the common type of headache people suffer from. Characterized by a tight band of pressure around a person’s head, heavy throbbing of temples, light and sound sensitivity, vomiting, general muscle aches, difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep, chronic fatigue, irritability and disturbed concentration, tension headache is said to be traced from physical or emotional stress.
Major lifestyle adjustments like having a regular physical activity or exercise, proper and balanced diet, proper stress management and maintaining good posture can help a person a lot to avoid tension headaches.
If tension headache is the most common type of headache, cluster headache is the least common of all types. Greatly affecting men instead of women, cluster headaches are characterized by severe pain usually centered in one eye that leads to swelling and watering of the affected area and severe and unbearable pain in the head.
Triggered by alcohol and cigarettes, experts say that there is no concrete cause of this type yet. Treatment may include taking in medications similar to those used for migraine like sumatriptan, triptans, and the like.
The other classification of headache is called “secondary headaches.” Usually triggered by an underlying or existing disorder like infection, injury, or tumor, secondary headaches are known to result in major illnesses.
Secondary headaches are also considered as side effects of various disorders like a recent head injury, meningitis, sinus infection, brain tumor, eye diseases, spinal injury, arthritis, and the inflammation of the arteries or temporal arteritis.
In order to treat any types of headaches, make sure you get your physician’s advice first.
Relieving Headache the Natural Way
Migraine headaches affect about 15 percent of the population. Although men can actually suffer from migraines, it is the women that are more affected.
Experts believe that migraine is hereditary as researchers have revealed more than 80 percent of people suffering from it have a family history of the problem.
Migraine headaches may not seem so serious but without proper care and proper diagnosis, those headaches may develop into something more.
It is recurrent and may be a manifestation of an underlying problem in the brain that can be really dangerous.
Causes of migraine
Migraines are actually caused by the changes in the size of the blood vessels that are found in the brain and in the head area. These changes may be due to some inflammation or constriction that prevents the blood from flowing properly.
Unlike the common type of headache, which only lasts for about a few hours, migraine headaches can last from four hours to as much as three days.
It is more severe and more frequent than your ordinary type of headache. Migraine headache however only affects a certain area on the head, often the side area or the temples unlike the common type that encompasses the whole head including the neck.
People suffering from migraine headaches may also experience a hallucination called aura. Auras are visual perceptions that are presented as a zigzagging light or a bright spot. People often see these visual disturbances immediately before their migraine attack.
Prevention is still the number one treatment for migraine. The best way is to make sure that one avoids the factors that may trigger the attack.
One of those factors is stress. By learning to relax a bit and do some stress management, one can prevent migraine headaches from recurring. Try to spread your workload to a degree, which you can manage. Rest for a while when you feel that you are getting tired.
Another great way is to deal with the attack head on.
Relieve the pain in the head by keeping warm and avoiding extreme temperatures. If the problem is the position of the head when you are sleeping, buy a different pillow. Choose a fluffier one that will cushion your head better. You can also experiment with a different sleeping position.
You can also rub your temples and massage the area that is painful. Try to close your eyes for a while and let it rest especially when you have been staring at the computer screen for a long time.
Natural Remedies for the Ordinary Headache
If you are suffering from frequent headaches, there is always some medication available over the counter which can help alleviate the pain that they bring. But if you are the type of person not usually keen on taking over the counter drugs, there are also some home remedies that you can try out for your headache.
There is a wealth of ingredients that you can find around your own home that can help you get rid of a nasty headache. Home remedies for your headache help you make use of more natural methods of treating your headaches. Here are some home remedy examples that you can use to treat that headache.
The ordinary ginger can help you get rid of your nasty headache. It inhibits a substance known as thromboxane A2 that prevents the release of chemicals that make your blood vessels expand. With this effect, ginger is useful for treating migraines as well as other types of headaches. Eating crystallized ginger or adding some grated ginger in your drink will be enough as a home remedy for your headache. Using fresh or powdered ginger when cooking your food will do just as well.
Peppermint oil is also a well known home remedy for headache. Just put a couple of drops of this aromatic oil into a carrier oil or lotion and rub around your temple, neck and forehead. But make sure that you do not get any of the oil too close to your eyes as its vapors can be very overwhelming.
You can also place a drop or two of peppermint oil on your handkerchief and sniff it to help you get rid of your headaches. Peppermint oil has been known to relieve headaches caused by too much tension. Rosemary Oil can also be just as effective as a home remedy for headaches. Rosemary oil helps relieve your headaches by helping keep the blood vessels dilated.
Herbal teas have also been known to provide headache relief. Peppermint tea and rosemary tea are examples of popular home remedy beverages for your nagging headache. Drinking a cup or two of your favorite peppermint tea will do wonders for your headache. Preparing a teaspoon of rosemary in a cup of hot water and steeping for about 10 minutes will also do as well. Drinking this wonderful concoction three times a day will help you get rid of that headache.
Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available