Headaches are often times expressed as a pain in the head; sometimes neck or upper back pain may also be interpreted as a headache. Most everyone has at one time or another complained about having a headache.
Common causes of headaches
- Irregular sleeping habits
- Skipping meals
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Menstrual cycles - caused by ever-fluctuating estrogen during menstrual years. Headaches can occur prior to, or even during mid-cycle menstruation.
- Some medicines
- Muscle tension
- Eye strain
- Low blood sugar
Occasionally, a headache is associated with a life-threatening condition such as meningitis, encephalitis, cerebral aneurysms, extremely high blood pressure, and brain tumors. When the headache occurs in conjunction with a head injury the cause is usually quite evident.
Most headaches can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, although some specific forms of headaches (e.g., migraines) may demand other, more suitable treatment. It may be possible to relate the occurrence of a headache to other particular triggers (such as stress or particular foods).
- Pulsing or throbbing pain
- Felt on one or both sides of the head
- Last hours to days
- May interfere with daily activities
- May be relieved by sleep
Visual changes, nausea or vomiting may precede a migraine. Refrain from bright light or loud noise. Migraines can occur as little as once a year to as often as several times a week.
- Constant dull ache
- Felt on both sides of the head
- Feeling of squeezing or pressure
- Usually do NOT interfere with daily activities
Some individuals experience tension headaches on a daily basis for several years.
1. Keep a log or journal
Note when the headache occurred (date and time: starts and stops). Write down the location and the severity of the pain. Try to identify factors that may have triggered the headaches (stress, food, menstrual cycle, medicine etc.).
30 minutes of light to moderate activity on most days of the week may help relieve stress and headaches.
3. Meditation and relaxation techniques
Deep breathing, visualization/imagery and or progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Talk to your family doctor if you experience severe headaches and symptoms of a regular basis.