A headache is a pain in any part of your head. It the commonest symptom for which patients visit their family doctor. It is also the commonest cause for referrals to a neurologist. All of you must have suffered a headache at some point or the other in your lives. Most of the times it is a mild to moderate pain which lasts for a few hours and clears up on its own or with some home remedies/ over the counter pain killers.
However, it is important to know that sometimes a headache could also suggest a more dangerous underlying disease. Read on to know more!
Types of headaches:
Headaches are classified as primary and secondary headaches.
It refers to a pain directly arising from any of the structures within your head like the nerves, blood vessels or muscles. These do not indicate any underlying problems or other diseases. Commonest among them are:
Tension Type Headache
These are headaches that indicate some underlying serious disease. In these cases the headache is merely an indication of some other condition.
They could range from relatively simple causes such as:
Sinusitis (infection of the air spaces within your skull. Usually present in your forehead, either side and behind your nose)
Ear infections, dental problems
Drug headache – some medications which you may be taking for other conditions like contraceptives, sleeping pills, medications for heart conditions, drugs containing caffeine etc
Concussion or headache caused by injury to the head
Viral fevers, flu or common cold
High blood pressure
Refractive errors or need for power glasses for your eyes
to more dangerous or severe conditions like:
Abnormalities in the blood vessels of the brain like aneurysms
Bleeding or clots within the brain
Infection of the brain or meningitis
In case your doctor suspects a secondary headache in you, he/she may need to get further blood investigations and scans of your head done to make a diagnosis. You may also be referred to a neurologist if needed.
Know when to identify a dangerous type of headache in you or your loved ones by reading these red flag signs!
Fix a appointment with your family physician today if you are experiencing any of these "do not ignore" symptoms of headache!
Home remedies for headache:
If your headache does not fall into the features suggested in the above 2 images, you could try some of these self help methods to tackle it.
Go out and get some fresh air
Massage your head, neck and shoulders with gentle pressure
Drink plenty of water and other fluids to improve your hydration
Avoid direct sun and heat. Consider covering your head with a cap or a scarf if the exposure to sun is unavoidable
Rest in a cool room with the lights off for a while
Keep away from loud noises and crowded places during your headache
If you are diagnosed with a migraine, look for specific trigger factors and avoid them.
Do not skip meals
Get adequate sleep
Find doable stress management techniques like deep breathing, exercise, visualisation techniques, yoga etc that work for you. You could install apps on your smartphone for this purpose.
Avoid excess alcohol and smoking
Stay healthy and inspired!