Tag Archives: headache

Manage Your Headache Painlessly – Part 7

Headaches are indiscriminate. They can happen to anyone. However women are known to be more prone to migraine headaches in relative to men. It is commonly known that women who are during their menstrual cycle are 3 times more prone to migraine than men. The decrease in oestrogen decreases serotonin which in turn dilates the blood vessels, causing an increase in the prevalence of migraines.

The most effective way in balancing hormones is to ensure adequate sleep. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep with no significant change to your sleep patterns, and keep your stress levels under control. When we are asleep, our body is actually experiencing huge hormonal activities. Thus any disruption to these significant hormonal activities will attribute to a greater cause for headaches.

If your body is undergoing great hormonal changes such as puberty, menstruation or menopause, it is also advisable to be mindful of your diet. Be sure to eat fewer processed foods, especially processed meats. Do avoid MSG and food additives too. Processed food and food additives will cause a surge in hormonal activities such as insulin spikes. Proper hydration is also very important in balancing your hormones as hormones are chemicals that operate via your intercellular or body fluids. Thus carbonated drinks and caffeinated drinks are not encouraged as they are diuretic. Diuretic drinks will cause you to urinate more often thus causing you to be dehydrated.

Birth control pills can also help in maintaining hormonal balance. For some women, birth control pills can be triggers for migraines. However for most women who suffer from migraines or have PMS induced migraines; the birth control pills can actually help. But usage of such pills should be taken with discretion as they do actually alter the body’s natural hormonal chemistry.

The weather also plays a part in headaches. People who have sinus infections are more prone to weather-induced headaches. As sinuses are located at the forehead, infected sinuses will result in pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead. Such pressure will lead to headaches. When you do have sinus headaches you must ensure proper ventilation of the area that you are in. In addition, stay clear from dust, smog, dirty air and smoke.

Manage Your Headache Painlessly – Part 6

Pain management is about keeping pain at bay. When you decide to manage a project, you will have to make plans for it from the start till the end. Of course at times, there will be situations when you have to make quick decisions in the face of crisis. But most of the time, you probably make deliberate decisions that go along in preventing crises from happening in the first place, don’t you?

The same goes for pain management. Curbing the pain when it is there is not enough. We must prevent the pain from even taking fold in the first place. The following is a list of methods to prevent headache from happening in the first place:

  1. Correcting body postures
  2. Balancing hormones
  3. Weather acclimatisation
  4. Avoiding harmful or sensitive substances
  5. Balancing food intake

Balancing body postures while performing the 4 routine activities have been mentioned. It is so far the most confirmed form of reducing headaches in general. Balancing hormones is important especially for growing teens and young adults who are still in their puberty and are experiencing headaches. Balancing of hormones also plays a huge role reducing migraines in women who are in their menstrual cycle fluctuations.

It is known that erratic weather can increase the frequency of headaches, especially hot and humid weather. In addition, a stressful environment can also lead to more headaches. Substances such as smoking, drugs and medications will lead to a change in the body’s chemistry which may also lead to headaches. Finally, balancing food intake including having regular meals and having very full meals will also affect your causes of headaches. Catch us on the next article where we will reveal more details for each of the above mentioned methods to prevent headaches from occurring.

Manage Your Headache Painlessly – Part 5

If you have been suffering from headaches for a long time and you thought that the only treatment available is only via painkillers and analgesics, then you are mistaken. In fact painkillers and analgesics merely curb the pain that the headache causes; they do not deal with the root of the problem. It will be very unfortunate if the frequent dosage of such analgesics cause you to develop addiction and tolerance problems.

Analgesics should only be taken if the pain is unbearable. Most of them when we have headaches, we only suffer from tension and migraine headaches. Usage of analgesics should thus be minimal. Tension and migraine headaches are not serious enough that require us to be on chronic medication of painkillers.

Most of us suffer headaches due to stress or poor body postures. As the latter has been already accounted for, let us examine stress as a cause of headache at an insightful level. Since stress causes dilations of the blood vessels and cause our muscles to tense up, a treatment that is effective will have to be able to reverse the dilations and reduce our anxiety.

Therefore an effective headache treatment will actually cause our body to experience a physiological as well as a mental/emotional effect on our mind and body. Let’s examine the treatment procedure in 3 stages.

  1. Relaxation

This aspect of headache treatment has honestly been overlooked. Most of us when we have bouts of headaches, we tend to panic a little due to the pain and the tiredness that it causes us. However that is actually very counterproductive as not only it worsens the headache, panic and anxiety will make us instinctively resort to getting hold of the nearest painkillers available. Relaxation towards our temples and neck are very important. Massaging your temples and neck gently and smoothly helps in improving the ratio of blood flow to the forehead. Some people are also able to relax well with massages to the shoulders. The key idea of relaxation is to reduce the body state of mind’s anxiety.

  1. Heating/Cooling

Some people’s headache pains are caused by enlarged blood vessels pressing on surrounding nerves. Applying something cold to the area can help to constrict those vessels, reducing their diameter and lessening the pounding headache. However some people are susceptible towards coldness, causing them to panic. For such people, using a wet tower or ice packs on the headache will worsen the problem. Depending on the individual’s preference and physiological nature, applying something warm to the headache may actually improve the person’s condition. Some people are able to better relax in a warm condition. This method varies from individual to individual.

  1. Napping

Taking a quick nap is very effective for tension and migraine headaches. Sleeping by nature puts the body in a very relaxed physiological and mental state. In addition, the person is less affected by pain when he is asleep compared to when he is awake.

The following 3 methods are able to ease pain to a large extent. More importantly, they help in reducing addiction and tolerance of painkillers. Staying free from painkillers is a very realistic reality.  Keep your heads ready as we share with you more on the different ways to minimize the occurrence of headaches.

Manage Your Headache Painlessly – Part 4

So far we have discussed about getting used to proper body postures while performing the 4 routine activities. Early in the series we mention that the problem most people face regarding headaches is that most will resort to painkillers. The next objective to be accomplished other than minimizing headaches is to reduce the pain when there is an onset of headache.

Different types of headaches will cause pain at different parts of the head and the neck, with different intensity of pain. There are 2 broad categories of headaches namely primary and secondary. Our concern is on primary headaches as these are the headaches that occur because you may have a headache problem. Secondary headaches are problems due to headaches occurring as a symptom or side effects from illnesses and diseases such as cancer.

There are mainly 3 kinds of primary headaches which follow:

  1. Tension headaches
  2. Migraine headaches
  3. Cluster headaches

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. Tension headaches usually arise due to stress. In the context of headaches, the stress is defined to be physiological changes in the human body which lead to abnormal muscle tensing and spasms.

Some of the factors that may lead to such stress include:

–          Emotional and mental disturbances due to work and relationships

–          Sleep deprivation

–          Irregular meal time

–          Poor body postures

As the name suggests, a rapid rise in anxiety or tension will cause a greater influx of adrenaline and muscle tension. More adrenaline and muscle tension will cause muscle spasms around the temples and the neck leading to tension headaches. The pain arises from tension headaches ranges from mild to heavy moderate. That is why an abnormal increase in stress will lead to tension headaches.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are considered to be a more advanced level of headaches. They too have similar causes as tension headaches, such as increase in stress and irregular meal times.

However, unlike tension headaches, migraine headaches also have a neurological origin which includes:

–          The dilation of blood vessels at the head due to physical exertion

–          The release of certain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin

That is why during exercises, you may experience headache as the blood vessels dilate in order to emit heat from the body. But after the exercise you probably feel relaxed and comfortable as the release of dopamine and serotonin actually constricts the blood vessels. Thus actually conditioning to regular exercises will actually help to reduce headaches. The symptoms of migraines are similar to tension headaches, which includes episodic or chronic pain. However as a more advanced level of headaches, some migraine sufferers may experience auras. Auras are visual disturbances that precede the headache phase.  Their vision may be slightly blurred and they may be sensitive to bright light and flashes, which may worsen their headache pain.

Cluster Headaches

Finally cluster headaches are the worst amongst the 3 types of headaches. Unlike the other 2 headaches, cluster headaches are considered to be a neurological disease. The most prominent feature of cluster headaches is the immense sharp pain that supposedly is even more painful than childbirth. Cluster headaches are episodic in nature with active periods interrupted by spontaneous remissions. Abnormalities at the hypothalamus play a major role in the onset of cluster headaches. Thus patients may experience severe bouts of aura and at serious degree of cluster headaches, the patient may faint.

The different forms of headaches will require different treatment. In the following articles, we will explore the different ways to treat the different forms of headaches.

Additional Reading on Headache Management

The Migraine And Headache Program! – Blue Heron Health News