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Headaches Tips

How To Subdue Recurring Headaches?

Dr. Amod Manocha 86% (14 ratings)
Fellow of Faculty of Pain Medicine (FFPMRCA), Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA), Post Gradate Certificate in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, European Diploma in Regional Anaesthesia and Acute Pain Management, Diploma in Anesthesia, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
How To  Subdue Recurring Headaches?

Headaches are a common problem affecting people of all ages. They arise due to various reasons- stress; poor neck position/ work ergonomics, overwork, degenerative changes in spine etc. Many other medical conditions such as infections, trauma, sinus problems, strokes etc. may contribute to or cause headaches.

Quite often the headaches tend to reoccur and are addressed as recurrent headaches. Headaches which persist for a long time are called chronic headaches. Depending on the severity and frequency, they may adversely affect the quality of life and in extreme cases can be quite disabling. Recurrent headaches are even more troublesome as they strike without warning not giving you the opportunity to plan your life.

There are several self measures that you can implement to reduce/control these headaches. One often underestimates the importance of simple measures but these can go a long way in helping control your headaches. These are to be used in combination with other measures suggested by your pain specialist and include the following:

A. General lifestyle modifications

1. Regulation of sleep cycle: Having a regular sleeping and wake up time can regulate the sleep cycle and help reduce the headaches. The environment of the bedroom is equally important as a dark, quiet and comfortable place will help you fall asleep sooner.

2. Unwind before going off to sleep: It is useful to wind down prior to going to bed. Some find a hot bath relaxing. Avoid watching TV in bed prior to going off to sleep.

3. Avoiding dehydration: Dehydration can by itself trigger headaches and make pre-existing headaches worse.

4. Regulating meal times: This reduces the chances of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) which can trigger headaches. Avoid eating late and heavy meals.

5. Identifying triggers and precipitating factors: These may vary from individual to individual. From food items to flashing lights to watching TV to stress and season changes can all precipitate headaches. The triggers are numerous and you are the best person to identify and avoid these.

6. Regulating tea and coffee intake: Checking the daily intake of tea and coffee is important. Avoid having these drinks after early evening.

7. Give up smoking

8. Stress management and relaxation strategies: Managing your stress and relaxing your mind and body helps amazingly in getting rid of the headache. Apart from these measures, your pain specialist can help you further by using medicines and other interventions as required.

A. Medications: Medicines can be used either at the time of headaches to abort the acute attacks or as a preventative measure to reduce the chances of developing an acute episode. The preventative medicines are generally used for frequent/continuous headaches. Remember medications should be used under medical supervision as frequent or inappropriate usage can not only be dangerous but can also become a cause of headaches. This is known as Medication Overuse Headache. The different medicines used for recurrent headaches are:

1. Anti-seizure medicines: Several anti-seizure medicines help in the prevention different types of recurrent/chronic headaches including migraine.

2. Antidepressants: These medications, besides the pain relieving effects can also have other beneficial effects like reducing anxiety and sleep disturbances. Different drugs from different classes (such as Tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, etc) may be selected depending on your individual situation.

3. Beta blockers: Beta blockers, commonly used in management of high blood pressure and heart problems, help to prevent migraine-related headaches.

4. NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used over the counter medications which can help to reduce headaches. With prolonged use and in certain high risk groups they can produce significant side effects; hence it is best to use them under medical supervision.

B. Interventions: The list of interventions for recurrent headaches is long. These are used when simple measures such as life style changes and medications are not effective. The type of interventions used will depend on your diagnosis and may include nerve blocks, neck joint injections, radiofrequency treatment, botulinium toxin injections, etc.

Botulinum toxin: Onabotulinum toxin A or Botox injections can be used to get relief from recurrent headaches (especially migraines) and are used when routine medications are not effective.

C. Complementary & Alternative therapies: These include:

1. Acupuncture: This involves the use of thin needles, inserted at specific points along certain channels in the body for the purpose of pain relief.

2. Massage therapy: Massage therapy reduces stress and provides relaxation. It can help relieve tight areas/spasms in the muscles and provides relief.

3. Meditation and relaxation therapy

4. Herbs and nutrients: Several organic herbs help in preventing migraine headaches and reduce the intensity of headaches. In deficiency states, vitamin and mineral supplements can help to reduce headaches.

You should seek medical advice before embarking on any of these modalities.

1 person found this helpful

Brain Size And Intelligence - What's The Relation?

Dr. Sitla Prasad Pathak 89% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD-General Medicine, DNB-Neurology
Neurologist, Ghaziabad
Brain Size And Intelligence - What's The Relation?

When it comes to the brain and IQ, is bigger better? Does size really matter? Is there really a connection between the size of your brain and intelligence? With the help of findings by neurologists and scientists, we seek to find out!

1. Ailments and the brain

Scientists have found that children with autism have a brain that has grown in a disproportionate manner in the very first year of their life. This prevents the child from making connection in a normal manner. On the other hand, children and adolescents who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD show sign of having a much smaller brain size. Many scientists have shown that the size of the brain shrinks as we age and this does not have any visible effect on our cognitive abilities.

2. It’s all relative

The size of the brain does not really have a bearing on the way a person’s cognition gets shaped. Even large mammals like elephants and whales are finally hunted and tamed by humans who have smaller brains in comparison. The brain is made up of billions of neurons, which need to function properly. It may be seen that scientists consider the brain mass in relation with the rest of the body so as to speculate about the cognitive abilities of the person. Why is this required? Large animals need a well functioning and proportionate brain size to control and run their organs with proper cognition for satisfactory results, which is what we humans seem to have done.

3. Neanderthal brain

Historically, the earliest man or the Neanderthals are said to have had larger brains than we do. These people are believed to have brains that are at least 10% larger than the brains that we have in our modern times. The shape of their brain was different too. They were also heavily muscled people which had a bearing on the size and shape of the brain and bodies as well as the lean tissue within the brain. They also survived very successfully for a period of over 200,000 years, which obviously points to some form of elevated cognition, as per many scientists.

4. Animals

While animals with small brains like lizards and reptiles do not perform too well on IQ tests, the animals with bigger brains like elephants and dolphins perform much better. But the medium sized brain of monkeys, lemurs and other animals are said to perform in the best manner. The correlation between the body size and the brain does not seem to hold good here, as per various researches.

So the verdict as per medical science and research stands divided!

2 people found this helpful

Expired Medicines - Can We Still Use It?

Dr. Riyaz A Bhat 89% (10 ratings)
MD - Medicine, Diabetologist, Thyroidologist & Endocrinologist
General Physician, Srinagar
Expired Medicines - Can We Still Use It?

When it comes to health, there is no taking a chance. Most of us are in the habit of storing some medicines at home, which could come in handy, say for a headache or an acidity attack. However, these often remain in the medicine kit for a long time before they are actually used. So, finally when the day arrives when there is an actual need for it, we are not sure if it is still usable. The one thing we dread is the use of a medicine, which is past its expiry date.

What if there is an adverse event? What if there is a complication or a side effect?
Then, if we are not in a position to get a fresh pill, we would rather endure the pain or acidity than pop that outdated pill. Is it really prudent to do so? I say otherwise. Most medicines have the expiry date to indicate the date or time, until when the drug would have the most potency and efficacy. Meaning to say, the drug may become weak (take longer to act or may require more of the drug to produce the same effect) when taken after the listed expiry date.

The truth is that most pharma companies list a date, which could be months, if not years, ahead of the actual expiry date. In reality, a drug never really expires. Most medicines can be used up to a few months after this date. Some medicines may even be useful after years of their expiry date.

It depends as to what the medicine is for:

  1. Painkillers are usually harmless to take beyond the expiry date. If there is no effect (even prolonged), then try to get a fresh one.
  2. Chronic medications like anti-hypertensives and anti-diabetic medications can be used up to a few months at the most, not beyond. Make sure to monitor readings to check for the efficacy. Often times, a greater dose may be required to get the desired effect, but this should not be done without medical supervision.
  3. Biologic products like EpiPen, eye drops or injectable substances should not be used, if they are cloudy. In fact, most of these should be kept for a very short period after opening.
  4. With any expired medicine, keep your doctor posted, especially your chronic meds to seek further advice and information.

The place and the way the drug is stored also may help in retaining its strength. A drug stored in the fridge is safer than something stashed away in a cupboard with a lot of other things. Keep these in mind, and take a call!

Benefits Of Chess Game!

Dr. Anuradha Sharma 92% (17046 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Benefits Of Chess Game!

Are you suffering stress, headache, migraine, and weakness in eyes?
 Let's play the chess game.

Benefits of chess game.

  1. Reduce stress.
  2. Improve brain health. 
  3. Indoor time pass.
  4. Eyes concentration in an object. 
  5. Exercise of hand and eyes.

So play 15 minutes chess in daily routine life and see the results within few days.

All The Foods That Trigger Or Alleviate Migraine!

Dt. Neha Nandwani 94% (10 ratings)
Diploma In Dietetics, Health & Nutrition (DDHN), ISSA - Sports Nutritionist, Diabetic counselor
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Surat
All The Foods That Trigger Or Alleviate Migraine!

Migraine, the extreme headache that comes back to haunt its victims every chance it gets, can actually be managed with a controlled diet. Of course, medication is the solution, and so is surgery with botulinum toxin in extreme chronic cases. But let’s try lifestyle changes before going for any of that.

Symptoms of Migraine:

Pain on the sides of the head is the characteristic symptoms of migraine, but there are others:

  1. A throbbing sensation in the head.

  2. Nausea from constant pain.

  3. Photosensitivity.

  4. More than the usual aversion to loud noises.

Sweating, stomachache, and diarrhea rarely come with the more common symptoms of migraines, as stated above.

Causes of Migraine:

Migraine is often genetic. Pain triggers include:

  1. Hormonal changes, as in during menstruation or pregnancy or puberty.

  2. Emotional disturbances like anxiety, depression, shock, or even excitement.

  3. Poor posture that puts stress on the neck or head.

  4. Tiredness or lack of sleep.

  5. Side-effects of medication such as sleeping pills, some contraceptive pills, and medication for hormone replacement therapy.

  6. External triggers like second-hand smoke, loud noises, very bright lights, lack of oxygen in a poorly ventilated room, dust, any strong smell.

Food Triggers -

Foods that trigger migraines include:

  1. Aged cheese with high tyramine: Blue cheese, cheddar, feta, mozzarella, brie, parmesan, gorgonzola, English stilton, Swiss cheese,

  2. Alcohol: Red wine, scotch, champagne, beer, and vodka trigger migraine by dehydrating the body and/or due to the sulfite preservative in them.

  3. Food preservatives: Nitrite or nitrate compounds in preserved foods like ham, sausages, hotdogs, bacon, pepperoni, and deli meat.

  4. MSG: Monosodium glutamate in soy sauce or anything labeled “hydrolyzed” is a trigger.

  5. Sourdough: Baked yeast products like bread, rolls, donuts, and cakes.

  6. Nuts: Peanuts, peanut butter, dried fruits, and some seeds and nuts trigger migraine in not all but some people.

  7. Smoked or Dried Fish

  8. Tomatoes

  9. Onions

  10. Citrus Fruits: Like lemon, orange, grapefruit, Greek citron, etc.

  11. Beans: Like lima, fava, pinto, snow peas, lentils, pole, and broad beans.

  12. Caffeine: Anything more than 200mg of caffeine can trigger migraines.

  13. Artificial sweeteners: Due to aspartame or sucralose content.

  14. Chocolate: Due to beta-phenylethylamine

Avoiding these food items can alleviate symptoms of migraine. This is why one should avoid these foods in their diet. However, it is advisable to consult a Dietician or Nutritionist before avoiding or taking any food item.

Foods Which Help to Cure Migraine -

The elimination of diet tactics is not enough to manage migraines. There are foods that must be included in the diet. They are:

  1. Salmon: For the vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and blood pressure.

  2. Dark chocolate: Due to the magnesium content.

  3. Fresh figs: Due to potassium and electrolytes. Avoid dried figs as they contain tyramine.

  4. Shrimp: Due to astaxanthin and vitamins and minerals to help with inflammation.

  5. Carrots: Beta-carotene helps.

  6. Sweet potatoes: Vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, Vitamin B group, manganese, copper, and potassium to the rescue.

  7. Collard Greens

  8. Kale

  9. Quinoa

  10. Ginger

  11. Fresh fruits: Like bananas and apples.

  12. Herbs: Like feverfew, butterbur.

Conclusion

Avoiding trigger foods, having migraines relieving foods, and having plenty of water along with enough sleep and some exercise can manage migraines well enough to not need medication.

2077 people found this helpful

Cervicogenic Headaches!

Dr. Amod Manocha 86% (14 ratings)
Fellow of Faculty of Pain Medicine (FFPMRCA), Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA), Post Gradate Certificate in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, European Diploma in Regional Anaesthesia and Acute Pain Management, Diploma in Anesthesia, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Cervicogenic Headaches!

Cervicogenic Headaches!

Do All Medicines Actually Expire?

Alliance Munot Hospital 90% (60 ratings)
General Physician, Pune
Do All Medicines Actually Expire?

When it comes to health, there is no taking a chance. Most of us are in the habit of storing some medicines at home, which could come in handy, say for a headache or an acidity attack. However, these often remain in the medicine kit for a long time before they are actually used. So, finally when the day arrives when there is an actual need for it, we are not sure if it is still usable. The one thing we dread is the use of a medicine, which is past its expiry date.

What if there is an adverse event? What if there is a complication or a side effect?
Then, if we are not in a position to get a fresh pill, we would rather endure the pain or acidity than pop that outdated pill. Is it really prudent to do so? I say otherwise. Most medicines have the expiry date to indicate the date or time, until when the drug would have the most potency and efficacy. Meaning to say, the drug may become weak (take longer to act or may require more of the drug to produce the same effect) when taken after the listed expiry date.

The truth is that most pharma companies list a date, which could be months, if not years, ahead of the actual expiry date. In reality, a drug never really expires. Most medicines can be used up to a few months after this date. Some medicines may even be useful after years of their expiry date.

It depends as to what the medicine is for:

  1. Painkillers are usually harmless to take beyond the expiry date. If there is no effect (even prolonged), then try to get a fresh one.
  2. Chronic medications like anti-hypertensives and anti-diabetic medications can be used up to a few months at the most, not beyond. Make sure to monitor readings to check for the efficacy. Often times, a greater dose may be required to get the desired effect, but this should not be done without medical supervision.
  3. Biologic products like EpiPen, eye drops or injectable substances should not be used, if they are cloudy. In fact, most of these should be kept for a very short period after opening.
  4. With any expired medicine, keep your doctor posted, especially your chronic meds to seek further advice and information.

The place and the way the drug is stored also may help in retaining its strength. A drug stored in the fridge is safer than something stashed away in a cupboard with a lot of other things. Keep these in mind, and take a call!

The Causes And Treatment Of Avascular Necrosis Of Femoral Head!

Dr. Lekhraj Patidar 85% (16 ratings)
MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Orthopedist, Ratlam
The Causes And Treatment Of Avascular Necrosis Of Femoral Head!

Avascular Necrosis refers to a condition that affects the upper half of the leg, especially the femoral head. The femoral head receives less amount of blood supply. As bone is a living tissue, so when the blood supply gets reduced by a sufficient extent, it results in the bone dying out. Collapse of the femoral head takes place and if it is severe then collapse of the hip joint also takes place. It usually crops up as secondary problem to a health issue underlying or because of any previous injury.

Causes behind the problem-
Any kind of either traumatic or non-traumatic problem leads to the problem of Avascular Necrosis. Some of the causes include:

  1. This problem can be the result of having sustained a dislocated hip, wherein the femoral head has got dislodged from its joint.
  2. Close to 20% of people who suffer from dislocated hip, tend to develop avascular necrosis of femoral head.
  3. Excessive consumption of alcohol, chronic use of corticosteroids and any kind of damage to the arteries can result in the emergence of this problem.
  4. All the above-mentioned causes interfere with the breaking down of fatty substances. Thus the build up of fatty substances takes place and they get collected within the blood vessels, making them quite narrow. The narrower the blood vessels are, there is restricted blood flow to the femoral head.

Treatment
The primary goal is to help preserve the natural femoral head rather than getting it replaced. The treatment options include:

  1. Core Decompression: This involves decreasing the pressure inside the femoral head, which is achieved by way of drilling holes into the femoral head to create channels for new blood vessels for nourishing the affected areas of the hip.
  2. Physiotherapy: This happens to be a conservative treatment which aims to decrease the weight bearing load through the head of the femur but still this has not really been a successful method of treating the problem.
  3. Total Hip Joint Replacement: It is the final treatment for late stage of Avascular Necrosis which completely eradicates the problem from the root.

No matter what approach one takes, finally the opinion of an orthopaedic surgeon is of paramount importance for ensuring that the condition is treated in the most effective manner.

5012 people found this helpful

Headache - Know Tips That Can Help To Combat It!

Dr. Soni Narayan 89% (46 ratings)
MD - Medicine
General Physician, Jamshedpur
Headache - Know Tips That Can Help To Combat It!

Headache is a pain in any part of the head, including the scalp, upper neck, face (including the eye area).

A primary headache is caused by problems with or overactivity of pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn't a symptom of an underlying disease.

What are the causes and triggers?

The three most common causes of a primary headache are:

  1. Cluster headache
  2. Tension-type headache
  3. Migraine

Some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including:

  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates
  • Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Skipped meals
  • Stress

Doctors focus on determining whether a headache has another cause. They also check for symptoms suggesting that a headache is caused by a serious disorder. If no cause is identified, they focus on identifying which type of a headache is present.

Tips that could help before seeking consultation:

  • Try to keep stress in check. Stay organized and prepared to minimize stressful situations. Have some fun, and don't overdo it at work.
  • Try incorporating meditation or yoga in your daily regime
  • Apply a heating pad, hot water bottle or warm compress to aching muscles. Or take a hot shower.
  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the neck.
  • Practice good posture to ease muscle strain. While standing, keep shoulders back and head level, buttocks and abdomen pulled in. While sitting, keep your head straight and thighs parallel to the floor.

When to seek consultation?

In people with headaches, certain characteristics are cause for concern; these people should immediately seek medical consultation:

  • It occurs more frequently than usual
  • Are more severe than usual
  • Worsen or don't improve with appropriate use of over-the-counter drugs
  • Prevent you from working, sleeping or participating in normal activities
  • Headaches that cause you distress, and you would like to find treatment options that enable you to control them better
  • Tenderness at the temple (as when combing hair) or jaw pain when chewing
  • The presence of cancer or a disorder that weakens the immune system
  • Use of a drug that suppresses the immune system
  • Red eyes and halos seen around lights
  • If you are experiencing certain other symptoms like- headaches that increase in frequency or severity, headaches that begin after age 50, worsening vision, weight loss

A headache can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as a stroke, meningitis or encephalitis. Go to a hospital emergency room or your local emergency number if you have the worst headache of your life, a sudden, severe headache or a headache accompanied by:    

  • Confusion or trouble understanding speech
  • Fainting, drowsiness, confusion
  • High fever, greater than 102 f to 104 f (39 c to 40 c)
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Stiff neck
  • Trouble seeing, speaking or walking
  • Nausea or vomiting (if not clearly related to the flu or a hangover)

If people with none of the above symptoms or characteristics start having headaches that are different from any they have had before or if their usual headaches become unusually severe, they should call their doctor.

Doctors can usually determine the type or cause of headaches based on the medical history, symptoms, and results of a physical examination. Depending on their other symptoms, the doctor may advise taking an analgesic or ask them to come for an evaluation.

3429 people found this helpful

Headache - Causes And Triggers!

Dr. Ashish Arya 92% (349 ratings)
MBBS
General Physician, Sehore
Headache - Causes And Triggers!

Headache is a pain in any part of the head, including the scalp, upper neck, face (including the eye area).

A primary headache is caused by problems with or overactivity of pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn't a symptom of an underlying disease.

What are the causes and triggers?

The three most common causes of a primary headache are:

  1. Cluster headache
  2. Tension-type headache
  3. Migraine

Some primary headaches can be triggered by lifestyle factors, including:

  • Alcohol, particularly red wine
  • Certain foods, such as processed meats that contain nitrates
  • Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Skipped meals
  • Stress

Doctors focus on determining whether a headache has another cause. They also check for symptoms suggesting that a headache is caused by a serious disorder. If no cause is identified, they focus on identifying which type of a headache is present.

Tips that could help before seeking consultation:

  • Try to keep stress in check. Stay organized and prepared to minimize stressful situations. Have some fun, and don't overdo it at work.
  • Try incorporating meditation or yoga in your daily regime
  • Apply a heating pad, hot water bottle or warm compress to aching muscles. Or take a hot shower.
  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the neck.
  • Practice good posture to ease muscle strain. While standing, keep shoulders back and head level, buttocks and abdomen pulled in. While sitting, keep your head straight and thighs parallel to the floor.

When to seek consultation?

In people with headaches, certain characteristics are cause for concern; these people should immediately seek medical consultation:

  • It occurs more frequently than usual
  • Are more severe than usual
  • Worsen or don't improve with appropriate use of over-the-counter drugs
  • Prevent you from working, sleeping or participating in normal activities
  • Headaches that cause you distress, and you would like to find treatment options that enable you to control them better
  • Tenderness at the temple (as when combing hair) or jaw pain when chewing
  • The presence of cancer or a disorder that weakens the immune system
  • Use of a drug that suppresses the immune system
  • Red eyes and halos seen around lights
  • If you are experiencing certain other symptoms like- headaches that increase in frequency or severity, headaches that begin after age 50, worsening vision, weight loss

A headache can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as a stroke, meningitis or encephalitis. Go to a hospital emergency room or your local emergency number if you have the worst headache of your life, a sudden, severe headache or a headache accompanied by:    

  • Confusion or trouble understanding speech
  • Fainting, drowsiness, confusion
  • High fever, greater than 102 f to 104 f (39 c to 40 c)
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Stiff neck
  • Trouble seeing, speaking or walking
  • Nausea or vomiting (if not clearly related to the flu or a hangover)

If people with none of the above symptoms or characteristics start having headaches that are different from any they have had before or if their usual headaches become unusually severe, they should call their doctor.

Doctors can usually determine the type or cause of headaches based on the medical history, symptoms, and results of a physical examination. Depending on their other symptoms, the doctor may advise taking an analgesic or ask them to come for an evaluation.

6 people found this helpful
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