WHAT IS A HEADACHE?
A headache or cephalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck. The pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain.
TYPES OF HEADACHES:
1. Tension headache
Chronic tension-type headaches may be the result of stress or fatigue, psychological issues, or depression
Chronic tension-type headaches affect both men and women, but women do have a greater incidence of them.
- The muscles between your head and neck contract for hours or days.
- You experience tightness around your neck or even feel as if your head and neck were in a cast, and only certain positions seem to provide relief. (A "stiff" neck might be symptomatic of a more serious disorder.)
- You may feel soreness, a tightening band around your head, a pulling, or pressure sensations.
- For most of you, the pain is continuous and annoying
- Your headache primarily occurs in your forehead, temples or the back of your head and/or neck.
Its one type of headache that can put your life "on hold" for a few hours or several days. Migraine is responsible for more job absenteeism and disrupted family life than any other headache type
Women experience migraines at least three times more often than men do, and this may be due to hormonal influences.
Cause of Migraine
Migraine is considered a vascular headache because it is associated with changes in the size of the arteries in and outside of the brain. Prompted by biochemical changes in the brain, one of the larger nerve branches (the trigeminal nerve) in your head triggers a chain reaction: the changes in serotonin in the blood vessels and the brain lead to shifts of blood flow, bypassing the capillaries and going through shunts to the veins. The increase in size of these blood vessels contributes to the pain of migraine. The nerves around the blood vessels release chemicals which cause a sterile inflammation eliciting pain signals into the brain.
1. migraine often begins as a dull ache and then develops into a constant, throbbing and pulsating pain that you may feel at the temples,
2. It’s present at the front or back of one side of the head.
3. The pain is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.
4. The two most prevalent types of migraine are migraine with aura (formerly referred to as classic migraine) and migraine without aura (formerly referred to as common migraine).
3. Cluster headache
They are called cluster headaches because the attacks come in groups.
The pain arrives with little, if any, warning, and it has been described as the most severe and intense of any headache type.
It generally lasts from 30 to 45 minutes, although it might persist for several hours before it disappears.
It can reoccur later in the day. Most sufferers experience one to four headaches a day during a cluster period.
Cluster headaches frequently surface during the morning or late at night; the cluster cycle can last weeks or months and then can disappear for months or years.
Clusters often occur during spring or autumn
- The headache is usually
- You might feel the pain begin around one eye, "like a nail or knife stabbing or piercing" your eye, or as if someone "were pulling out" your eye;
- It may be accompanied by a tearing or bloodshot eye and a runny nose on the side of the headache.
- It can radiate from the eye to the forehead, temple and cheek on the same side.
- The pain of a cluster headache has been described as piercing, burning, throbbing, pulsating, and so excruciating that most victims cannot sit still and feel compelled to rock in a chair, walk back and forth, or bang their heads against something.
4. Menstrual Migraine
The menstrual migraine's symptoms are similar to migraine. It begins as a one-sided, throbbing headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to bright lights and sounds. An aura may precede the menstrual migraine.
5. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) Headaches
The PMS headache occurs before your period and is associated with a variety of symptoms that distinguish it from the typical menstrual headache. The symptoms include headache pain accompanied by fatigue, acne, joint pain, decreased urination, constipation and lack of coordination. You may also experience an increase in appetite and a craving for chocolate, salt, or alcohol.
PMS sufferers may also complain of fear, panic attacks, decreased sexual desire, impaired judgment or memory, sensitivity to rejection and even paranoia. These symptoms usually disappear when menstruation begins.
6. Oral Contraceptives
Migraine headaches are the most common side effect reported by women taking birth control pills, and many women stop taking them because of the headaches. The birth control pill tends to increase the frequency, duration, severity, and complications of migraine by intensifying the fluctuations of female hormones in the body.
Menopause — the complete ending of ovulation and menstruation — does not happen in one day. Your body may undergo changes for months or even years before and after this natural phenomenon, and some women do not notice any changes, except that their periods stop. About half of all women do experience slight physical or emotional changes as they progress through menopause. Another 25 percent may suffer irregular heartbeat, joint pains, flushing in the upper torso, and headaches.
8. Organic headache
An organic headache is the result of an abnormality in the brain or skull. It can be caused by a benign or malignant brain tumour, a brain aneurysm, hematoma, meningitis, brain abscess, brain infection, cerebral haemorrhage, or encephalitis.
TREATMENTS FOR HEADACHES
1. Self-Help Treatments
Thus, counselling can help you identify and address emotional concerns and should be considered as part of your treatment.
relaxation training teaches you, first, to recognize your body’s involuntary responses to stress (all of which can be measured) and, second, to modify your responses and reduce your body’s stress level.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
By contracting and relaxing the different muscle groups of the body in succession, you may feel a sense of deep relaxation.
When you draw upon your "mind’s eye" through guided imagery, you see and take control of your body’s stress points and visualize yourself in a relaxed setting in which you let go of tension. Some people have been able to use this technique to stop a migraine early on or to reduce its pain.
During diaphragmatic breathing, you breathe slowly and steadily, inhaling deeply and concentrating on the abdominal muscles. This technique prevents the rapid and shallow breathing that typically follows the onset of migraine and which actually increases head and neck pain.
By monitoring your body’s involuntary physical responses - such as breathing, pulse, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension and brain activity - biofeedback equipment helps you refine and perfect your relaxation exercises. Most people who use biofeedback have found it effective in managing stress and their headaches; once you are experienced with biofeedback, you will not need the equipment.
2. Consult a Neuro-psychiatrist for complete check-up for the cause of headache.