A tension headache is recognizable by a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head. A throbbing pain, which begins on one side and causes nausea is a migraine. A cluster headache is a throbbing pain around one watery, red eye, with nasal congestion on that side of the face. A steady pain in the area behind your face that gets worse if you bend forward and there is congestion is a sinus headache. Although most headaches are painful and troublesome, they are usually minor health concerns and are easily treated with analgesics or pain killers. If they recur, are more severe or come with other symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately. Tension headaches are very common and are brought on mostly by an increase in tension in the scalp muscle, a mild pain killer usually gets rid of it. The worst type of headache is a migraine. The headache is usually preceded by a blurring of vision, flashing lights in front of the eyes or a sick feeling. It usually begins with a fierce, throbbing pain on the one side of the head, often spreading and accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Migraines can last for hours or even days. They caused by the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels on the one side of the brain. Sinus headaches are known by pain in the area behind the face.
There are many reasons for headaches. Sinus headaches are usually a result of hay fever or another seasonal allergy, a cold or the flu. Tension headaches are caused most commonly by stress, a physical factor such as persistent noise, poor posture, eye strain, grinding or clenching of teeth at night and too much caffeine are all factors which can lead to tension headaches. Headaches strike for many reasons. Migraines are a little more mysterious, it is indicated that the constricting and dilating of blood vessels are involved, some researchers believe that they are primarily neurological in origin. Genetics is believed to play a role in migraines as they often run in families. Migraines have numerous triggers though, among them are various foods or scents, changes in altitude, too much caffeine, change in season, birth control pills, hormonal fluctuations, missing a meal or stuffy rooms. Migraines also occur in times of intense emotions such as excitement or anger.
Regular exercise helps release natural pain killing agents that help relieve and prevent headaches. Exercise may also help to dilate blood vessels, so that blood flow is increased. The following exercise is quite helpful to headache patients.
While seated and comfortable, inhale then gently tip your head back until you're looking up at the ceiling (try not to tip your head back too far), exhale and bring your head forward until your chin rests on your chest; repeat twice. This will help relax the muscles in the neck.
Massage: through message therapy you can relieve headaches caused by tension in the muscles of your shoulders, neck, face and head
Relaxation: to help with tension headaches, meditation and progressive relaxation therapies are the best in reducing stress.
You should place a cold face cloth where the area is pounding and keep on replacing the cloth when the cloth becomes warm. Just before you get a headache or when you can feel you are getting one drink three glasses of very cold water, and then go to bed with a cold compress. But make sure the room is dark and quiet and don’t use pillows.
Foods that tend to trigger a migraine are any food with caffeine in it, red wine, aged cheeses, processed meats, chocolate, the food additive MSG and citrus fruits. These are the food that a groups of migraine sufferers have identified as triggers.
Magnesium helps to loosens blocked blood vessels; and low levels of magnesium may contribute to migraine and cluster headaches.
When to seek further professional advice
When a serious headache is followed by vomiting or other serious symptoms
If you are drowsy, with dizziness after you had a head injury and there are other symptoms.
The underlying reason for the headache is most often treated with most alternative therapies. The following aroma therapeutic herbal oils may help you to relax, ease the pain of a tension or migraine headache. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil blended with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil massaged gently on your temples with your fingers in a circular motion, repeat in the hollows at the sides of your eyes, over your neck and behind your ears. Use the same techniques for a sinus headache but use eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). A blend of lavender, peppermint (Mentha piperita) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in a vapouriser or a massage on the temples can be used to relieve any type of headache. A compress applied to the affected area or a bath using these oils can also help relax muscles. It is important that the person finds the oils pleasing to the nose, otherwise the headache can become worse. The most commonly used herbal remedy for the treatment and prevention of migraines is feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), the herb can be bough in capsule form. Migraines that are brought on by stress are sometimes relieved by a combination of equal parts of linden (Tilia spp.), hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis) and cramp bark (Viburnum opulus), taken three times daily as a tincture or a tea. Migraines which are accompanied by nausea and vomiting, take ginger (Zingiber officinale) with water at the onset of the warning stage. Three doses of goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) taken daily in a tea, tincture or a powdered form might reduce sinus headache pain. Tension headaches are often relieved by a mixture of valerian (Valeriana officinalis), skullcap and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Chamomile, valerian or lemon balm tea are all helpful in relieving headaches. There a large range of homeopathic medicines that are available to treat headaches. Belladonna can be used to treat a throbbing headache that is worse on the right side when lying down. For severe ‘splitting’ headaches that feel worse with noise, light, motion or touch try using Bryonia. Kali bichromicum can be used for sinus pain accompanied by thick, nasal discharge.
Both alternative and conventional medicine has been found to be very effective in treating headaches, and both the approaches can be combined.
Tension headaches are often relieved by mild pain killers. Sinus headaches are helped by taking decongestants and antibiotics. There is a wide range of medications prescribed for migraines, if your migraine is severe or you suffer from more than 2 a month, your doctor should prescribe the appropriate medication.
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