“Why does my head hurt?” This is one of the most common questions neuropathologists face.
Basically, the frequency and severity of headache attacks largely depend on the lifestyle of the affected individual. And, most people would try to relieve these symptoms by taking over-the-counter medicines, not thinking that the problem might be a sign of a more serious condition their bodies might be experiencing. Headache as such is not a disease, but it can also be almost the only symptom that makes it possible to diagnose a number of other serious conditions in time.
The main thing is not to harm yourself, and unfortunately certain ignorance often becomes the reason for useless and harmful treatment.
In this article, we will talk about the main types of headaches, their manifestation, and prevention methods.
This is the most common type of headache and is usually caused by overstraining the muscles in your head and neck. It may occur sporadically or may be permanent.
Overexertion and depression are often the cornerstones of stress, which can also cause headaches. In other cases, such pain can be a manifestation of health problems, such as osteoarthritis in the neck and cervical spondylosis. You would feel a monotonous dull pain of an aching character, which, as it were, tightens but does not pulsate. The pain is localized most often in your neck and back of the head and usually occurs during the daytime.
Other symptoms include hallucinations, visual impairment, and irritability. Your gait would also become shaky, and fatigue and loss of vital interest could occur. You would also look apathetic, with your face looking pale and puffy.
To prevent pain, you should move more and rest in time. Posture should be maintained during seated work to ensure normal vertical blood flow. Moreover, it is recommended to use an orthopedic mattress and pillow while sleeping.
Vegetovascular dystonia can trigger certain headaches, which can occur daily or weekly.
The impetus of a pain attack could be stress, insomnia, fatigue, or mental and physical strain. However, attacks could also be a symptom of infectious diseases. Often, they occur in the morning, which is explained by night stagnation of blood and impaired cerebral circulation. They can also strike due to lack of oxygen.
When you experience a vegetovascular headache, you would feel a dull and constricting pain, less often bursting and burning. It could also come with difficulty in breathing, dizziness, fainting, and feelings of dread.
If you feel it is necessary, you can take some medications that can indirectly treat the cause of pain, such as sedatives, tranquilizers, diuretics, and drugs that normalize vascular tone.
As for prevention, you should work on strengthening your immune system. You can also opt for psychophysical prophylaxis, which includes relaxation, reducing stress factors around you, and finding an internal psychological balance.
This is probably one of the most common medical conditions that prevent individuals from leading a happy and fulfilling life. During migraine attacks, you most likely feel incapacitated due to the unbearable pain that comes with them. In most cases, this is most often a hereditary condition that largely affects women, and physicians often associate it with a metabolic disorder in the production of serotonin, which is a substance responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.
Usually, a migraine attack can last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days, and its onset can be determined by common symptoms, such as bright flashes materializing before your eyes, your field of vision narrowing and becoming clouded, and double vision. An attack would also come with sudden, paroxysmal pain that pulsates, covering one part of your head or only your temple.
Migraine attacks would begin with confusion, with decreased ability to perceive what’s happening around you. And, they are complicated by nausea, dizziness, flickering in the eyes, and even loss of vision. Your muscles become numb, and cramps in your neck and back of the head may occur.
When treating a migraine, self-medication won’t usually help. Instead, you should seek out a professional’s advice and if necessary, a prescription in the form of drugs and devices that are effective at different stages of migraine. These include analgesics, antihistamines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tranquilizers, and special devices, such as a migraine relief machine.
Neurologists also identify a number of foods and drinks that can trigger the onset of headaches, such as red wine, cheese, liver, yogurt, sour cream, yeast-containing foods, and smoked fish, all of which may contain biogenic amines, such as tyramine, and can affect heart rate, sleep, blood pressure, and other bodily reactions that lead to headaches. Products that contain flavor enhancers, such as sausages, ready-made sauces, marinades, confectionery, and restaurant food, should also be avoided. After all, monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, has been labeled by research as a major chemical that contributes to the instigation of headaches.
Increased Intracranial Pressure (ICP)
After sustaining a traumatic brain injury or giving birth, pressing and bursting pains in the head could be experienced. Without proper knowledge, you can confuse these pains with a migraine attack. The same symptoms could also occur, such as blurred vision, intolerance to bright light, and nausea.
When you have ICP, you would also feel increased pressure inside your head, with a high level of pain over the entire surface of your head that could sometimes radiate to the area around your eyes. Pain builds up gradually and could also be accompanied by weakness, dizziness, pain in the chest area, and short fainting spells. You could also become anxious, experience tachycardia, and feel some numbness of your tongue and limbs. Outward symptoms could also manifest, including paleness, blueness of the hands, and bruises under the eyes.
Pain can occur in the morning but may diminish by the middle of the day and towards the evening.
Viral or Bacterial Disease
When it comes to infectious disease, a headache is experienced as a secondary symptom, and the intensity varies, from sluggish pain to pulsating pain due to acute infection. If you experience the latter, you should seek hospitalization right away.
In mild cases, the pain will just go away after taking antipyretic drugs, and as you recover. However, if there’s an infection involved, then you will experience chills in addition to a headache, as your body fights harmful microbes, such as viruses and bacteria.
A headache with neurological symptoms accompanies meningitis, pneumonia, malaria, and typhoid fever.
People who experience cephalalgia know what a cluster headache feels like. As the name suggests, the pain occurs in series or clusters, with flashes of pain affecting the orbital area.
When you are afflicted by this condition, you would experience one-sided, burning, and boring pain that comes on suddenly. It reaches its peak in a matter of minutes and can reoccur several times a day.
Cluster pain is subdivided into two categories: chronic pain and episodic pain.
Chronic cephalalgia is persistent and virtually untreatable. And, this pathological condition can last for months or, sometimes, years.
On the other hand, episodic cephalalgia can typically occur on any given day. However, it can happen more often. Nonetheless, it can also go into remission, which means you will suddenly experience fewer attacks.
Prevention of Headaches
Prevention involves optimizing your working and resting conditions and boosting your immune system. You should also constantly engage in active sports, like running, swimming, cycling, etc. Moreover, it is recommended that one should get a constant supply of fresh air, both at night during sleep and during the day while at work, as a sufficient supply of oxygen is proven to reduce headache attacks.
For hypotensive patients, prevention would be more important than treatment. If you’re one of these individuals, you should normalize your daily routine, establish healthy habits, and avoid stress factors, which all help prevent headaches even without medication. You can take a contrast shower from time to time and walk barefoot, which are also believed to help with pain relief.
Sometimes, headaches can be a symptom of a serious medical condition, such as cerebral hemorrhage and brain tumors. Therefore, you should see a doctor in case you are experiencing them more frequently. Then, make sure to follow professional recommendations, so that you can finally get rid of this ailment for good and lead a pain-free life!