A headache can pretty much strike anywhere and at any time, no matter your age, race or sex. If you suffer from migraines, then you probably already know that headaches can become so painful they incapacitate you completely. Learn more about headache causes and management in this quick guide:
Common Causes of Headaches
Headaches often stem from over stimulation of structures in your head that are sensitive to pain. The muscles in your head and neck can also have an active role in causing a headache. You have a lot of blood vessels surrounding your skull; when the pressure in these vessels gets too high it can lead to headaches and feelings of heaviness in your head.
In your brain, chemical activity is occurring all the time and certain reactions have the possibility of causing a painful headache. You may also be genetically predisposed to developing headaches depending on your family history and any medical conditions you may have
There are multiple types of headaches that vary by how they feel and how long they last. Stand-alone headaches, also known as primary headaches, are not caused by another condition while secondary headaches are the result of an underlying cause.
- Cluster Headaches
These headaches typically come on suddenly and last anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours each, clustering together in a pattern that may persist as long as a few months. Pain from this type of headache is often described as sharp or burning, severe, one-sided and is usually felt around or in one eye.
Migraine headaches can have a variety of symptoms, some of the more common ones are nausea, blurred vision, light and sound hypersensitivity, and feeling light-headed. They can cause a deep throbbing or pulsating aching pain, often on just one side of the head but may sometimes affect both.
You could also experience a visual disturbance before or during a migraine, this is known as an aura. These headaches can be particularly rough, and can even make going to work or being around people exceedingly difficult and painful.
- Tension Headaches
These tend to start off mildly and slowly get worse as time goes on. While experiencing these you may feel like there is something tightly wrapped around your head that is slowly getting tighter. Pain from these is typically described being a dull ache that is constant. These generally don’t last more than a few hours, but they can go on for several days.
Detoxing and Headaches
If you are detoxing, you may experience headaches due to changes occurring in your body from diet alterations. During your detoxification you may want to keep ice packs for headaches on hand as headaches often occur as your body experiences withdrawal-like reactions from stopping sugar and caffeine intake. Ice therapy may help alleviate some of your pain by reducing swelling and restricting blood flow to the sensitive areas of the head.
Detox diets specifically for headache relief can also play an important role in your treatment. Removing foods from your diet which trigger migraines, for example, could help you find relief without medicine – common trigger foods include MSG, alcohol, food coloring, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and caffeine.
Ways to Find Relief
You should always seek a doctor’s advice when dealing with severe or chronic headaches. Your doctor may want to look for underlying causes or give you a preventative prescription medication to stave off future attacks. You can also use over the counter pain relievers, but overusing these can lead to a rebound headache.
You may find that placing the ice pack on your neck provides some relief as well. Try keeping the lights off and resting in a quiet room without the television on because sound and light may worsen your pain.