Headache

A Headache is defined as a pain in the head or upper neck. It is one of the most common locations of pain in the body and has many causes.

Classification

  1.   Primary headaches

These are not caused by an underlying condition. They can be a symptom of stress, squinting or poor posture. 

  • Tension-type Headaches
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Migraines   

2. Secondary headaches

These are due to an underlying structural problem in the head or neck. There are numerous causes of this type of headache ranging from bleeding in the brain, tumor, or meningitis and encephalitis

3. Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches

Causes—

A. Tension-type headaches

a.  Muscle Tension

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Inadequate rest
  • Overexertion
  • Poor posture

b. Triggers

  • Difficult family life
  • Stress
  • Arrival of new baby
  • No close friends
  • School blues
  • Starting a new job
  • Losing a job
  • Competitive life
  • Being a perfectionist

B. Cluster headaches—

    1. Alcohol
    2. extreme increase in temperature (such as from exercising in hot weather)
    3. Autumn and spring season

C. Migraines-

  1. Alcohol
  2. Allergies
  3. Bright lights
  4. loud noises
  5. Certain odors or perfumes
  6. Irregular sleep
  7. Foods containing
  • Nitrates                             Aged Cheese
    Chicken Livers
    Figs
    Red Wine 
    Smoked Fish
    Some Beans 
  •   Monosodium glutamate
  • Tyramine
    Hot dog
    Bacon
    Salami

8. Irregular menstruation

9. Oral contraceptives

10. Menopause

11. Chocolate

12. Eatables

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Citrus
  • Dairy Products
  • Fermented Food
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pickles

13. Stress

14. Fasting

15. Smoking or exposure to smoke

Symptoms And Signs—

  1. Tension Headaches—
    1. constant ache that affects both sides of the head.
    2. tightening of the neck muscles
    3. feeling of pressure behind the eyes .
    4. last for one to six hours (may persist for several days)
  2. Cluster headaches—
    1. extremely painful headaches
    2. begin unexpectedly
    3. short-lived
    4. occur several times a day.
    5. affect one side of the head
    6. often felt behind or around the eye.
    7. Sleep is often disrupted
    8. eye on the affected side often becomes red and watery
    9. nose may become blocked/runny on the affected side .
  3. Migraine
  1. Severe headache
  2. Throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head.
  3. Nausea
  4. Sensitivity to light.
  5. Warning symptoms( aura) before the actual headache begins

Emergency Symptoms

  • Getting worse over days or weeks/on lying down
  • Accompanied by
    1. impaired neurological function (loss of balance, weakness, numbness, speech disturbance)
    2. double vision
    3. persistent nausea and vomiting
    4. seizures
    5. mental disturbances
    6. loss of consciousness
    7. fever
    8. stiff neck
  • strikes suddenly with great intensity

Investigations—

  1. Neurological functions
  2. Blood tests
  • ESR
  • CRP
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • liver function test
  • Kidney function test
  • Thyroid test

3. CT Scan

4. MRI- head

5. Lumbar puncture.

Treatment—

  1. Tension headaches
  • Ayurvedic Medicines
  • Changes in lifestyle.

2. Cluster headaches

  • Ayurvedic Medication
  • Oxygen therapy

3. Migraine

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Adequate sleep
  • Balanced diet
  • Medicines
  • Exercises                                          

Complications—

  1. Chronic headaches
  2. Depression
  3. Drug addiction
  4. Drug side effects
  5. Stroke
  6. Transient ischemic attack or TIA
  7. Gastrointestinal bleeding after prolonged NSAIDS regimens

Prevention–

  • Biofeedback training

This technique teaches to control certain body responses that help reduce pain

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy( to manage stress)    
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  •  Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Living a healthy lifestyle (enough sleep, not smoking, exercising regularly and eating healthy foods )

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