What is Headache
A headache can be defined as the pain in the head portion either in the front (frontal) or back of head (occipital region), above the eyes or ears and sides(temporal). It causes discomfort,uneasiness and unbearable if it reaches to severe. Brain lacks Nociceptors, the pain receptors,yet the pain during a headache is due to pain receptors of head and neck but not brain. Headache caused either by inflammation of blood vessels or due to increased neurotransmitters release.
Though looks similar in pain, There were different types of headaches. Some of them are,
- Tension Headache – Headache caused due to high pressure and stress, which may be either of personal or from work.Severe pain starts at the front and sides and may be extended to back of head and neck portion.
- Migraine Headache – It is the most common one sided headache followed by Nausea and vomiting.The person suffering may be very sensitive to light and sounds. The pain is very severe and may lasts for many hours. Pronged migraine also causes Auras,visual disturbances etc.,
- Cluster Headache – Also called recurring headaches as the pain occurs at regular intervals.It attacks one side of head and the pain may lasts from few minutes to hours. Watery eyes and nasal congestion may occur only on one side of the face.
- Rebound Headache – It is caused due to extensive use of medications i.e., painkillers.Simply to say the headache caused due to intake of painkillers frequently.
These are caused mainly due to different type of diseased conditions.
- Sinus Headache – It is caused due to the allergy or infection. Infection causes inflammation of sinuses and causes pain. A fever can be diagnosed during sinusitis.
- Trauma – Caused due to head injury, Neck injury (occipital neuralgia) or vascular hemorrhage (internal bleeding due to injury to blood vessels).
- Meningitis – Inflammation of meninges due to infection of meninges of brain.
- Ophthalmic – Some conditions like Glaucoma, optic nerve disorder also causes headache.
- Metabolic disorders – Anemia, Hypoxia, Ischemia, constipation, renal disorders also causes headache as a side effect.
Causes of Headache
As we have discussed the different types of headaches from which we can understand the causes.Primary headaches caused due to tension, stress either due to work load or emotional stress. Rebound type mainly caused by the excessive use of pain relievers. Other medications like nitrates, sympathomimetics etc also causes headache.Caffeine withdrawal also triggers headache in some addictive persons. Diseased conditions like sinusitis, meningitis, ophthalmic and vascular disorders stimulate the headaches. Others like brain tumor, blood clots, internal bleedings, dehydration, hangover of alcohol, hypertension,fever etc., are the causes involved.
The pathophysiology involved in, is increase in the levels of Neurotransmitters. The brain cells lacks nociceptors, the pain receptors and have no sensation of pain. Hence the pain receptors during headaches are triggered by trauma, tumors, stress etc., migraine caused due to intracranial vasoconstriction.
Signs and Symptoms
- Dull and severe pain in head
- Tightness and pressure around the head (front,back and sides)
- Tenderness of head and scalp
- Nausea and vomiting during headache
- Sensitivity to light
- Pain behind the eyes (one or both)
- Nasal congestion and
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
- Aura (perceptual disturbance) and seizures
- Discomfort,dizziness and fatigue
- Headache History like Age, prevalence, time period it lasts, type of headache, any previous medical history, any hereditary factors, other symptoms associated with headache etc.,
- After examining physical factors physician will examine any disease induced factors behind headache prevalence like Infections, allergy, Vision problems, Hypertension,seizures, brain tumors,blood clots, traumas etc.,
- Blood and urine analysis, to detect any hormonal imbalances that causes headaches.
- CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- EEG (Electroencephalograph)
- Eye Examination
- Pain relievers(analgesics) like Ibuprofen, and Aspirin acetaminophen can be given to reduce the pain.
- Triptans like sumatriptan, zolmitriptan are given to reduce the severity of migraine.
- Hot or cold compress onto the head and neck part to get relaxation.
- Small amount of caffeine also reduces the intensity of pain.
- Applying Pain relieving balms like Zandu balm,amruthanjan gives relief to some extent.
- Nutrient deficiency may cause headache.so B-complex viatamin and magnesium rich components have to be taken.
- Stay hydrated,as dehydration also gives headaches.
- Mix few drops of Essential oils like eukalyptus or pipperment oil in hot water and inhale.It gives better relaxation.
- Ginger herbal tea will frees from nasal congestion and decreases headache.
- Few drops of castor oil applied onto the betel leaves and keep on temporal part which gives an immediate relief.
- Cinnomon,mint and lemon also reduces headache.
Recent days everyone are busy in their lives and stress have became a part of their lives. THis leads to many health complications.Hence take nutritious natural diet and free yourself from stressful situations to live a healthy and happy life.