MD - Consultant Physician, MBBS
Headache is a common reason for patients to seek medical attention. We see so many online queries on headache. If you are suffering from headaches, read this article because, understanding your problem can help you solving it.
There are many causes of headache, and if correctly diagnosed and treated , you may become ?Headache? free.
Common Causes Of Headaches:
Tension Type Headache
The patient who presents with a new, severe headache have causes that may be different from patient with recurrent headaches over many years.
People frequently ask me to get imaging of brain done to rule out the cause of headache. They have special attraction for MRI and CT Scans. But not every headache requires investigations. But there are headaches which require investigations. Let us understand , when a headache requires immediate attention.
Headache Symptoms that Suggest a Serious Underlying Disorder :
Worst headache ever
First severe headache
Headache worsening over days or weeks
Associated with Neurological Deficit
Fever or unexplained systemic signs
Vomiting preceding headache
Pain induced by bending, lifting, cough
Pain that disturbs sleep or presents immediately upon awakening
Known systemic illness
Onset after age 55
Pain associated with local tenderness, e.G, region of temporal artery
If you have any of these symptoms, you need to have a doctor consultation as soon as possible.
Now, let us read about two most common types of headaches, i.E Migraine and Tension type headache that we see in clinical practice.
Migraine, a very common cause of headache, more commonly affects women than men. It is usually an episodic headache which is usually unilateral (on one side of head) and is associated with certain features like:
Nausea (Feeling of vomiting)
Photophobia (Sensitivity to light)
Phonophobia (Sensitivity to sound)
Vomiting, Nausea (Feeling of vomiting)
Paresthesias (tingling sensations)
Alteration of consciousness
People having migraine, usually during acute attacks, prefer to be alone and don?t want any sound, light, want to sleep in dark room.
Acute attacks are usually triggered by some stimulants called as ?triggers? which are commonly following :
Hormonal fluctuations during menses
Lack of or excess sleep
Alcohol, Wine, Cheese or other chemical stimulation
Patients should try to notice their triggers and should do life-style adjustments to avoid them.
How to Deal with Migraines?
Patients having migraine should seek a medical consultation. There are drugs which are given to terminate acute attacks of migraine, as well as to prevent them.
They should have a fix routine of sleeping like from 10 pm to 6 am. They should not sleep for more than 30 min during daytime, as excessive sleeping during day time would cause problem in falling asleep during nighttime, leading to disturbance of sleep cycle and precipitation of migraine.
They should avoid wine, cheese, lemon.
Tension - Type Headache :
It is a chronic head-pain syndrome characterized by tight, band like discomfort. It is bilateral (means on both sides of head). The pain typically builds slowly, fluctuates in severity and may persist more or less continuously for many days. The headache may be episodic or chronic (present >15 days per month). It may be associated with sleep disturbances.
How to Deal with Tension Type Headache?
The pain can generally be managed with simple analgesics but should be taken under medical supervision as they have a long list of adverse effects. There are other drugs too, but can be given only under medical supervision.
Behavioral therapies including relaxation are also effective.
Patients with this type of headaches are advised to throw away their ?Headaches? to prevent the ?Headache? , means they should try to sort out the tension or problem that is causing the headache.