Headache is a good sign that your body is undergoing stress or lacking something; thus indicating an adjustment or change. Headaches can be activated by fatigue, stress, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, alcohol or drugs, poor posture, low blood sugar, hormones and constipation. That is, maybe you need to take some time out, drink some water or change the way you eat. You may have a nutrient or vitamin deficiency or a food sensitivity that is causing the headache. It is very important to be able to figure out the type of headache causing you pain. This is because, if you know the headache type, you can treat it properly by using the right approach. Here are some tips that will help you put a name to the different types of headache, how you can go about treating them and some of the natural headache remedies that actually works.
The Different Types of Headaches
Headaches can be very complicated than most individuals think. This is because the different types have their own set of symptoms which are unique for different persons and need different types of treatment. When you are aware of the type of headache that you have, then you can work with your doctor to find the right treatment that is most likely to help and even try to prevent them. Below are the some of the most common types of headaches and proposed treatments for each:
Migraine headaches: What causes migraines is still a mystery. There are possible causes that have been identified by researchers but they don’t yet have a definite explanation for these causes. There are still some debates regarding the various classes of migraine headaches. Some professionals refer to migraine as a neurological disease, while others prefer calling it a neurological condition or disorder. Though experts believe that what causes migraines are a combination of the expansion of blood vessels and the release of certain chemicals, the exact cause of migraine is not clearly understood. The experts say it is the release of chemicals that causes inflammation and pain. The chemicals dopamine and serotonin are among chemicals which are regarded as what causes migraines. The chemicals are located normally in the brain and can cause blood vessels to act strangely if they are present in amounts that are abnormal or if the blood vessels are unusually sensitive to them.
Attacks of migraine are classified as primary headaches due to the fact that the pain is not caused by another disorder or disease. Migraine headaches are described by serious head pain often accompanied by other migraine symptoms, which can be unfriendly. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sounds, sensitivity to smells, sensitivity to light and changes in vision. Migraine symptoms and severity can vary greatly from one person to another. Recent research has identified certain genetic components that cause migraines in families. Migraines often go undiagnosed in young children and can affect people of all age groups. In as much as the duration of a migraine attack varies, most of the migraines attacks can last at least four hours. If you are experiencing migraine symptoms for more than three days, it is advisable to seek help from a medical doctor or visit an emergency room.
Since scientists are yet to discover what causes migraines, the best way to avoid migraines is to stay away from what starts them in the first place. Some of the most common ways to avoid these triggers of migraine include the following. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, avoid skipping meals and learn to watch your diet. In as much as they do not have to skip meals, they also have to avoid eating salty foods and highly processed foods, since these foods can trigger a migraine. Secondly, avoid preservatives and sweeteners. This is because some artificial sweeteners like aspartame and popular preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) can trigger a migraine. Thirdly, avoid sensory stimulators like flashlights, bright sun, loud noises, perfume, paint and cigarette smoke. All these things are common triggers of migraines. Fourthly, avoid tress. Continual mental stress can cause migraine headaches. Life at home and work are the two most common sources of stress that can damage your mind and body if you cannot control them effectively. Also, physical stress like physical exertion, extreme exercise and even sexual activity can trigger migraine headaches. Lastly, be careful with changes in weather and fluctuations in hormone levels, since they are triggers that are difficult to avoid.
Migraine treatment: There is currently no single migraine treatment. Migraine treatment is aimed at preventing a full-blown attack and relieving migraine symptoms if they come. Unfortunately, there is still no one size fits all method to migraine treatment due to the fact that what works for one person may not work for another. However, some lifestyle alterations like getting enough sleep, reducing stress, drinking plenty of water, avoiding certain foods and regular physical exercise might help reduce migraine frequency. If these lifestyle alterations don’t ease the migraine symptoms or frequency, then migraine treatment and prevention will focus on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms, and taking medicines. Migraine treatments are typically classified into preventive treatments, and rescue medications. Migraine treatment for prevention begins with avoiding things that will trigger the condition. The major goals of preventive treatments are to lessen the frequency, painfulness and duration of migraine headaches, and to increase the effectiveness of other treatments. Prescription drugs for the treatment of migraines include; anticonvulsants, gabapentin, antidepressants, botulinum toxin A, vision correction, herbs and vitamins, etc. There are several types of migraine recue medication. Some common medications include pain killers, nausea treating (antiemetic) drugs, ergots and surgery. Pain killers like Aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen should be taken early rather than allowing the headache to develop. For migraine symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, metoclopramide may be used to control them. Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants are not approved in all countries, they are drugs prescribed to reduce migraine symptoms. Another class of migraine treatments usually effective if administered at the first sign of a migraine is called ergots. Recently, new approaches to migraine treatment have been developed. For patients who do not respond to traditional medical management, the new approach can be used on them. Botulinum toxin injection and surgical decompression of the extra cranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves reduce or eliminate migraines in them.
Tension headache: The most common type of headache is tension or stress headache. The feeling of this type of headache is like a constant ache or pressure around the head which is usually found at the temples or back of the head and neck. They are not as severe as migraines since they do not usually cause nausea or vomiting, and they rarely stop daily activities. If they occur less than 15 days in a month, then they are called episodic tension headaches, but if they occur more often, then they are called chronic headaches. Chronic headaches come and go over a longer period of time and the pain can get stronger or ease up throughout the day. In as much as your head hurts, the tension headaches don’t usually keep you from your daily activities, and they do not affect vision, balance or strength. About 80 percent of adults in the U.S. get tension headache from time to time while about 3 percent have chronic headaches daily. Many people with episodic tension headaches have them not more than once or twice a month. But many people with the chronic headaches type usually have them for more than 60-90 days. There is no single cause for tension headaches since they are mostly triggered by stress, whether from work, family, school, friends, or other relationships. Episodic tension headaches are usually set off by a single stressful situation or a build-up of stress while daily strain can lead to the chronic headache types. Tension headaches do not run in the families but people get them because of tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp. Tension headaches can result if one does not have enough rest, bad posture, anxiety, emotional or mental stress, fatigue, hunger and low iron level.
Mild to moderate pain or pressure in the top, front, or sides of the head is one of the tension headache symptoms. A few other common tension headache symptoms are; difficulties in sleeping, feeling tired, irritability, muscle aches, trouble focusing and mild sensitivity to light or noise.
Tension treatment: Over-the-counter (OCT) treatments like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are usually sufficient to treat tension headaches. However, these should only be used occasionally since using OTC medications too much may lead to overuse or rebound headaches. When OTC drugs are not enough to treat recurring tension headaches, a doctor may give you a prescription for medication like; indomethacin, naproxen, ketorolac, acetaminophen and opiates. In a situation where the pain killers are not working, the doctor might prescribe a muscle relaxant, which will help stop the muscle contractions.
Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. They are mostly common in men than women. It is frequently described as a pain that occur around, behind or above the eye and along the temple in cyclic clusters. They last from 15 minutes to a maximum duration of about 3 hours and can recur up to eight times daily. Cluster headaches appear suddenly and are characterized by severe, unbearable pain on one side of the head. These headaches are often complemented by watery eyes and nasal congestion or a runny nose on the same side of the face. Some people can only experience some redness of the conjunctiva. During a cluster headache attack, individuals often feel restless and unable to get comfortable. Most patients of these attacks describe their pain as occurring around or behind the eye. Some cluster headaches symptoms are commonly identified with migraine headaches. These symptoms include sensitivity to light, sounds or odors. Alcohol can trigger cluster headaches in people. In others it can be triggered by histamines and nitroglycerin. Some people have cluster headaches caused by environmental changes or changes in stress or activity levels. Another triggering factor of cluster headache is smoking.
Cluster treatment: The cluster treatment can be divided into two distinct categories. That is, the relief of acute headache and prevention of future headaches. The oxygen that comes out from face mask has shown to help a majority of patients within a short period of time. Injectable sumatriptan seem to be of help to most of the patients with cluster headache. The introduction of dihydroergotamine intravenously to patients suffering from cluster headache can be extremely effective in treating them. However, the disadvantage is that the drug can be difficult to administer acutely and cannot be used on a patient that has used sumatriptan in the preceding 24 hours. Intranasal lidocaine is another good option but it must be administered in a specific manner. Other treatments that can be of benefit in reducing the frequency and severity of cluster cycles are verapamil, lithium topiramate, melatonin and valproic acid.
Sinus headaches: When a sinus becomes inflamed because of an infection or allergic reaction, it can cause much pain on the head. This is because the build-up of pressure in your sinuses causes pain that feels like a headache. Sinuses are air-filled spaces inside a person’s forehead, cheekbones and behind the bridge of the person nose. Sinus headache comes usually with a fever and can be identified by symptoms or the presence of pus viewed through a fiber-optic scope. An attacked person will fell a deep and constant pain in his or her cheekbones, forehead, or the bridge of his or her nose. When the head is moved suddenly or strain, the pain usually gets stronger. At the same moment, the individual might have other sinus symptoms like a runny nose, fever, feeling of fullness in the ears and a swelling face.
Sinus treatments: Headaches due to sinus infection or allergic reaction can be treated with antibiotics, antihistamines or decongestants. For those who have just mild symptoms, they may be able to treat them at home by using some of the natural headaches remedies.
Natural Headache Remedies
You might have been looking for the best headache treatment for your head pain. Here are some natural headaches remedies that really work. These natural headaches remedies also include tips from doctors on how to deal with the pain at home. The most fascinating aspect about these natural headache remedies is that, they can make a headache go away fast. Below are some of these natural ways to fight headaches:
Magnesium: It is one of the most successful natural headache remedies due to the fact that it is much safer than taking a pain killer. Individuals who suffer from serious or chronic headaches, like migraines, often have low levels of magnesium. It has been suggested by several studies that magnesium can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels. People who are prone to low counts of magnesium include those with heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism and those on diuretics for blood pressure. Magnesium helps in preventing the wave of brain signaling which produces the visual and sensory changes that are normal when experiencing a headache. The pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain can be blocked by magnesium. Taking 200 to 600 mg of magnesium per day can decrease the frequency of headache attacks that an individual might face. Both oral and intravenous magnesium which are extremely safe and inexpensive are widely available. Diarrhea is the most frequent side effect of magnesium. However, lowering your magnesium dose or taking it less often can eliminate the issue of diarrhea. To improve on your daily magnesium intake then you have to eat more fiber. Food sources of magnesium include beans, seeds, whole grains, nuts and vegetables (broccoli, squash and leafy greens). Other decent levels of magnesium can also be gotten from dairy products, meats, chocolate and coffee.
Ginger: Advertised as a medicine for headaches, ginger is a home remedy for instant relief from headaches. This is because it helps in reducing inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, thereby easing the pain from the head. Since ginger stimulates digestion, it also helps suppress the nausea which occurs during migraine headaches. All you have to do is just to mix equal parts of ginger juice and lemon juice and drink up or better still you can steep ginger root for tea. You can drink this once or twice a day depending on how much pain you are feeling. In order to get a quicker relief, you can also apply a paste of ginger powder and 2 tablespoons water on your forehead for some few minutes.
Gluten-free diet: People who are sensitive to gluten can have headache when they eat food containing it. Patients who have migraine headaches often see either complete resolution of migraine or a major reduction in the frequency and strength of migraine symptoms after giving up gluten. For those who are having headaches from gluten food, they just have to cut back on their daily intake of this kind of food. Start this natural headache remedy by rejecting gluten for three weeks, then introduce foods having small gluten. Pay more attention to the way you feel when introducing gluten to your diet and find your happy balance.
Peppermint Oil: Clogged blood vessels that causes headache are opened by peppermint. This is because peppermint contains menthol which helps regulate the flow of blood in the body and generates a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin. Research has shown that peppermint oil stimulates an important increase in skin blood flow of the forehead and it relaxes the contraction of muscle. What you just have to do is to quietly breathe in the aroma in a cool, dark room. Better still, you can also mix 3 drops of peppermint oil in one tablespoon of almond oil or just add a little water and massage the back of your neck with it. On the other hand, you can just apply crushed peppermint leaves on your forehead.
Lavender Oil: In as much as lavender has a beautiful fragrance, it is also a great remedy for relieving headaches. It is commonly used as a mood stabilizer and relaxer. Research has shown that the use of lavender oil is an effective and safe migraine treatment. Simply smelling the gentle scent of lavender essential oil helps in relieving headaches. What you need to do is just to put a few drops on a tissue and inhale it. You can also introduce 2 drops of lavender oil to two cups of boiling water and inhale the vapor. Better still, you can mix two or three drops in one tablespoon of olive oil or almond oil and massage your forehead with it.
Herbs (Feverfew and Butterbur): With the use of tension-easing herbs, headaches can be relieved naturally. Based on research studies, consuming feverfew lessens the frequency of migraine headaches and headache symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to noise. The results of some studies in the U.K. indicated that feverfew is effective in the prevention of migraine headaches and does not pose any major safety concerns. The supplements of feverfew are available in fresh, freeze-dried or dried. Feverfew can be bought as capsules, tablets or liquid extracts. The recommended dose for headache relief is 50 to 100 milligrams of feverfew extract. Butterbur on the other hand is also a herb that decreases the inflammatory effect of chemicals that trigger headaches. This herb is applicable especially for migraines headaches. It can also act as a beta blocker by regulating the normal blood flow to the brain. Doses of at least 75 milligrams twice per day seem to be essential for the best headache-reducing results.
Rest: For those suffering from headaches, resting or sitting in a room that is dark can help relieve the migraine symptoms and it can act as a basic headache treatment at home. What you need to do is just to close your eyes and focus on relieving the tension in your neck, back and shoulders.
Basic Stretches: By performing a few simple exercises to stretch your head and neck, you can help reduce the intensity of headache. That is, you can move your chin upwards and downwards, right and left and bend your neck sideways towards each shoulder. Try also by slowly rotating the neck in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions to help the shoulder and neck muscles relax.
Headaches can be a symptom of severe health conditions and some of them require treatment beyond Over-the-counter (OCT) medications and natural headache remedies.
Disclaimer: This write-up is for information purpose, always contact a medical adviser for any health related issue.