Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Headaches

migraineAnything for my aching head

Any ache but a heartache; any pain but in the head.
The Talmud
Headaches are known to mankind since time immemorial; they are common, yet a lonely pain. Typically, a headache sufferer’s pain has no direct connection to an obvious disorder or injury. Seeing an inflamed throat, a deep cut, or a sprained ankle, we expect that the person is in pain. But headache pain can be lonely and ultimately socially isolating. If the headaches are regular, the sufferers may end up hiding their pain in order to remain socially and professionally acceptable.
Headaches vary in their severity. To start with a headache can be an irritant in our daily schedule. In its extreme form it can abruptly halt the flow of our normal lives as long as it stays.

Headache facts

o A headache may make you feel that your brain is going to blast. Nevertheless, the brain itself is not sensitive to pain, because it lacks pain-sensitive nerve fibers.
o However, the meninges—the system of membranes which envelop the central nervous system and blood vessels do have pain perceptions.
o What hurts in a headache is several areas of the head including a network of nerves which extends over the scalp and certain nerves in the face, mouth, and throat.
o Headache often results from traction to or irritation of the meninges and blood vessels.
o The muscles of the head may similarly be sensitive to pain.

Causes
Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons.
o They can be simple problems like eyestrain to the sinus cavities being inflamed.
o They can also arise from life threatening conditions like encephalitis, brain cancer or cerebral aneurysms.
o Sometimes a head injury will also be the cause of headaches.
o Other causes of tension headaches are not getting enough sleep, overwork, missing mealtimes and using various drugs and alcohol. Some people will experience tension headaches due to the types of foods and drinks that they have.
o Migraine headaches are another type of headache that many people will experience during their life. What causes migraines eludes researchers and is a bane for sufferers. Often it runs in families and has triggers that precipitate them. However, for the individual who suffers from this complaint they will have symptoms like–nausea, blurred vision and light sensitivity. The pain from these headaches is usually felt only on one side of the head. Sometimes the pain will be felt on both sides of the temple.
o There are some headaches where the cause is somewhat elusive to diagnose immediately. Cluster headaches are one type of headache where the cause is a little difficult to state immediately. Cluster headaches are headaches that cause a sharp and very painful headache to the individual.
Treating headaches
o Exercise regularly
Try to reduce stress.
o Identify precipitating factors including foods, alcohol, and oversleeping. Trigger foods typically include hard cheeses, chocolate, dairy products, MSG, and caffeine. If you are trying to cut down on caffeine, do it slowly.
Avoid overuse of pain relievers. Rebound headaches can occur when pain relievers are taken too often, reducing your body’s natural ability to fight pain. When using over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, follow package directions
o Pay attention to your posture. Do not sit on the computer for longer hours and take stretch breaks.
o You can experiment with acupressure to reduce and treat headaches with mild-to moderate pain intensity. For pain in the front of the head, apply pressure for a minute or so in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger. For pain on the sides of the head, press on the top of the foot, between the big toe and second toe. Applying pressure between your brows and your temples may also buy you relief from headaches.
o Sit upright on your desk and while inhaling try to raise your shoulders up without exerting yourself. While inhaling release your shoulders. This simple exercise relieves the stiffness of your shoulders and can help you manage the headaches resulting from it.
o Aromatherapy may be the answer for your crippling headaches. Mix two drops of peppermint oil (Mentha piperita) in a teaspoon of olive oil. Rub on your forehead and temples for instant cooling to ease away your pain.
o If recurring headaches have become a bane of your life, talk to your doctor about taking magnesium and Co Q10 supplements. They might help prevent headaches.
Remember that headache is your body’s way of asking you to slow down. A headache is your body’s cry for help. If severe, we must ensure it’s not something more serious. Prevent headaches by treating triggers, such as stress, environmental toxins or inadequate sleep. If it becomes severe and recurrent and you have stiffness in neck or convulsions with it, get in touch with your doctor immediately. The same advice follows for headaches in children.

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Category: Pain Forum
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