Headache: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Alternative Names: Cephalalgia, encephalalgia, encephalodynia.HeadacheTypes: Benign exertional headache, bilious headache, blind headache, cluster headache, coital headache, fibrositic headache, histaminic headache, Horton headache, ice pick headache, idiopathic stabbing headache, migraine headache, muscle contraction headache, nodular headache, organic headache, posttraumatic headache, reflex headache, sick headache, spinal headache, symptomatic headache, tension headache, tension-type headache, thunderclap pain, vacuum pain, vascular pain.Anyone can experience a headache. Nearly 2 out of 3 children will have a pain by age 15. More than 9 in 10 adults will experience a headache sometime in their life. Pain is our most common form of pain and a major reason cited for days missed at work or school as well as visits to the doctor. Without proper treatment, headaches can be severe and interfere with daily activities.Certain types of this run in families. Episodes of this may ease or even disappear for a time and recur later in life. It's possible to have more than one type of that at the same time.Primary headaches occur independently and are not caused by another medical condition. It's uncertain what sets the process of a primary headache in motion. A cascade of events that affect blood vessels and nerves inside and outside the head causes pain signals to be sent to the brain. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are involved in creating head pain, as are changes in nerve cell activity. Migraine, cluster, and tension-type headache are the more familiar types of primary pain.Tension headaches are the most common, and generally affect adults and adolescents - they can affect younger children, but this is not common. During a tension headache, there may be muscle tightness in specific parts of the head, scalp and/or neck - these areas are uncomfortable and often painful. Some studies, however, have indicated that muscle tightness is not as common among sufferers as was once believed.People who suffer from tension headaches say they feel like a tight band or vice on the head. The pain is usually dull, and covers most of the head. the exact cause or causes are unknown. Recent research indicates that there does not appear to be any significant increase in muscle tension in people known to suffer from tension headaches.Experts today believe that a change in certain brain chemicals may be the main factors that contribute to tension headaches. These chemicals are the ones that help nerves communicate, such as serotonin, endorphins, and several others. We are not sure why the levels of these chemicals change. We suspect that the fluctuations activate pain pathways to the brain and probably undermine our ability to suppress pain.Other types of headaches:
  • Cluster headaches are sharp, extremely painful headaches that tend to occur several times per day for months and then go away for a similar period. They are far less common.
  • Sinus headaches cause pain in the front of your head and face. They are due to inflammation in the sinus passages that lie behind the cheeks, nose, and eyes. The pain tends to be worse when you bend forward and when you first wake up in the morning. Postnasal drip, sore throat, and nasal discharge usually occur with these headaches.
Secondary headaches are symptoms of another health disorder that may results from fever, infection, medication overuse, stress or emotional conflict, high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, head injury or trauma, stroke, tumors, and nerve disorders.Risk Factors:
  • Stress and tension.
  • Straining the eye.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Dehydration.
  • Ice cream.
  • Sex.
  • Thunder.
  • Withdrawal from caffeine/drugs.
  • Head injury.
  • Brain related disorders aneurysms, tumours, meningitis, and encephalitis.
Symptoms:Headache can range from mild to disabling and may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea or increased sensitivity to noise or light, depending on the type of pain.Diagnosis:Keeping a headache journal can help a physician better diagnose your type of pain and determine the best treatment.For primary headaches. After each pain:
  • Note the time of day when it occurred.
  • Intensity and duration.
  • Any sensitivity to light, odors, or sound.
  • Use of prescription and nonprescription medicines.
  • Amount of sleep the previous night.
  • Any stressful or emotional conditions.
  • Any influence from weather or daily activity.
  • Foods and fluids consumed in the past 24 hours.
  • Any known health conditions at that time.
Women should record the days of their menstrual cycles. Include notes about other family members who have a history of pain or other disorder. A pattern may emerge that can be helpful to reducing or preventing headaches.For secondary headaches:Lab screening and diagnostic tests may be ordered to either rule out or identify conditions that might be the cause of your headaches. Blood tests and urinalysis can help diagnose brain or spinal cord infections, blood vessel damage, and toxins that affect the nervous system. Testing a sample of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord can detect infections, bleeding in the brain (brain hemorrhage), and measure any buildup of pressure within the skull. Diagnostic imaging, such as with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can detect irregularities in blood vessels and bones, head injuries, certain brain tumors and cysts. Neuroimaging also gives doctors a way to see what's happening in the brain during headache attacks. An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures brain wave activity and can help diagnose brain tumors, seizures, head injury, and inflammation that may lead to headaches.Treatment:This is may be relieved by resting with your eyes closed and head supported. Relaxation techniques can help. A massage or heat applied to the back of the upper neck can be effective in relieving tension headaches.Migraine headaches may respond to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or migraine medications that contain a combination of drugs.Home remedies for headache:
  • Eat a ripe apple with little salt in morning on an empty stomach continuously for a week. It is a common remedy for chronic pain.
  • Boiling fresh ginger or dried ginger powder in water. Inhale it to relieve from sinus pain.
  • Lemon is a very beneficial natural remedy for headache caused by heat. Lemon crusts should be pounded into a fine paste in a mortar and applied as plaster on the forehead.
  • Keep your legs in a bucket filled with hot water (with temperature 40?C to 45?C) for 15 minutes every night before sleeping. Continue it for two to three weeks. It is also effective home remedy for chronic pain.
  • Put 10 drops of eucalyptus oil in boiled water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam. It is also common cure for sinus headache.
  • Prepare a paste by adding little water to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and apply it locally. It is proven remedy for sinus headache.
  • Rub the flowers of henna in vinegar and apply it over the forehead. It is also very effective home remedy for headache due to heat.
  • Prepare a juice by adding 200 ml of spinach juice with 300 ml of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a litre. Drink it regularly. It is a proven natural cure for migraine pain. Alternatively add 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juices with 300 ml of carrot juice.
Yogic Treatment for Migraine:
  • Rest in a quiet and darkened room.
  • Place a cool cloth on your head.
  • Noukasana (Boat Pose).
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal Twist Pose).
  • Vrikshasana (Tree Pose).
  • Shirshasana (Head Stand).
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand).
  • Kapalabhati.
  • Shitali pranayama (without kumbhaka).
This breathing exercise will lower the body temperature, and make the saliva cool. It also helps to quench thirst, and improves digestion, absorption, and assimilation.Daily practice
  • Shirshasana maybe practiced for one minute and Sarvangasana for five minutes daily.
  • Treatment with pranayama can be started only after an attack is over.
  • Pranayama should be preceded by three rounds of Kapalabhati. Six rounds of Shitali pranayama (without kombhaka) may be practiced in the end.
Preventive Measures:
  • Irregularities of diet and excessive exertion must be avoided.
  • The diet should have low content of fats and oils.
  • Avoid hot, spicy foods, fermented foods, and sour or citrus fruits.
  • Exposure to heat or cold should be avoided.
Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 


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