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Headache: Causes and Cure

Headache is a very common ailment. It is so common that not a lot of people are spared from experiencing it in their daily lives. There are a variety of reasons that could cause a headache and in most situations, it can be overcome by taking enough rest or a good sleep and mostly don’t need any medications. But certain headaches do need immediate medical attention and to identify the features associated with such headcahes is important. The so called “red flags” in headache which warrant urgent medical attention are the following.

  1. The worst ever headache of the life which abruptly starts and become unbearable ( called “Thunderclap headaches” to signify its severity
  2. Headache following accidents or falls with head injury especially in elderly
  3. Headache during pregnancy or delivery
  4. Headache along with fever, neck pain and difficulty in seeing the light
  5. Headache followed by vision impairment, vomiting, blurring of vision, loss of senses, and weakness.
  6. Headache that makes you wake up from sleep
  7. Headache which is positional, that is more on lying down position and improving on upright posture
  8. Any new onset persistant headache after 50 years of age

Causes :

Besides problems associated with the brain, eye problems, sinusitis, inflamed gums, issues with the ear can also cause headaches. The most dangerous conditions that lead to headaches are bleeding inside the brain or in its shell, tumors and infections in the brain or increased intracranial pressure ie inside the skull.

The two common headaches that occur periodically are the ones due to migraine or the tension-type headaches which is a result of increased stress. 

Migraine Headache :

Migraine headache is widely seen in youngsters 20-50 years age group, especially women. ITs usually percipitated by sleeplessness, excessive stress or workload, inadequate food or water intake or certain beverages like coffee. It is a pulsating or throbbing type of  pain that emerges from one side of sclap and can spreads across the entire head becoming unendurable. Slightest noise and light can increase the pain during these times. Dizziness, pounding head, nausea and vomiting may occur along with headache. During the initial stages, the headache stays put for 1-4 hours which will be cured after a deep sleep or taking pain killers. Over time, these headaches might come every day and stay for a few days at a stretch. 

Tension-type headache :

This type of headache is usually seen among middle-aged people without any gender discriminations. This starts as a grippingor constricting type of pain on both side of the head but however, the effects like vomiting are less intense, unlike migraine. As the name denotes, this type of headaches is caused due to increased stress and sleeplessness.

Remedy/ How to mitigate?

If the headaches are short-lived and facile, then taking adequate rest or painkillers would suffice. Under the exhibition of the earlier said red flag symptoms, urgent medical care is necessary. They may need brain imaging either CT or MRI to evaluate the cause.

If the headaches become so severe and the frequency increase to more than 2 attacks per week, that they disrupt the daily activities, then an expert treatment would be required. They may need specific medicines depending on the cause of headache. As earlier siad two most common causes are migrane and tension type headache. Prophylactic medicines to reduce the frequency of attacks are needed and may need to take them for 3-6 months continuously. 

Precautions :

Keep an eye out on the following factors to reduce migraine and tension-type headaches. 

  1. Ensure enough sleep (6-8 hours) every day.
  2. Avoid using laptops and mobile phones at night in dim lights.
  3. Drink enough water. Avoid dehydration.
  4. Eat food at time and never skip breakfasts. Don’t stay hungry.
  5. Engage in activities like yoga, meditation, and regular exercise to ensure mental exhilaration thereby reducing stress. 
  6. Reduce the intake of caffeine rich beverages like coffee.
  7. People who have migraine during the days of menstruation should take medicines under the guidance of a physician. 

Most of the time, headaches are caused by simple and manageable reasons. By following a lifestyle with less tension and stress and maintaining good sleep hygiene, can reduce the occurrence of headaches. But, if headaches are recurring or affecting daily life activities, finding the cause and undergoing necessary treatment is important.