Headache is sometimes is a sign of trivial things like lack of sleep, tension, etc but sometimes a manifestation of some underlying disease, like tumor of the brain, hemorrhage in subarachnoid space, meningitis, other neurological diseases, low vision, hypertension, etc, that’s why it is necessary to rule out the causative factor.
Classification of headache according to International headache society:
- Migraine with or without aura
- Retinal migraine
- Opthalmoplegic migraine
3. Cluster headache.
4. Associated with a structural disease like benign cough headache, benign exertional headache, external compression headache, idiopathic stabbing headache, headache stimulated by cold exposure.
5. Due to nonvascular intracranial disorder, for example, Intracranial infection, intracranial growth, intrathecal injections, high and low CSF pressure.
6. Due to a vascular disorder like arterial hypertension, venous thrombosis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracranial hematoma, ischemic cerebrovascular disorder.
7. Due to the substance or withdrawal of the substance.
8. Due to metabolic disorders, for example, hypoxia , dialysis, hypercapnia, hypoglycemia, etc
9. Various neuralgias like Trigeminal neuralgia, occipital, glossopharyngeal.
What to consider when there is a pain in the head:
- Quality, location, duration and time period of the pain in the head is very important, also how it gets aggravated and relived, for example, tension-type headache is experienced as tight bandlike pain which is dull, and located deep, aching in character.
- Throbbing quality and muscle tightness around the shoulder, head, neck is sometimes found in migraine.
- Cluster headaches reach their peak in 3-5 minutes and stay there at 45 minutes and then gradually go away.
- Migraine pain takes some hours to reach its peak and relieved by sleep.
- Headache due to brain tumor or due to increased intracranial pressure causes disruption of sleep and morning headache.
- In glaucoma, headache is increased by prostrating and associated with nausea and vomiting, the patient gives a history of pain in the head which started with severe eye pain.
Headache symptoms that tell serious underlying cause:
- Onset after 55 years of age
- Vomiting precedes pain in the head.
- worst pain in the head ever.
- First severe pain in the head.
- Abnormality in the neurological examination.
- Increase by cough, bending, lifting.
- Disturbs the sleep and presents on awakening.
Tension-type headache :
This term is commonly used to describe chronic head pain characterized as a tight band-like pain present in both sides of the head, it is common in all ages and most commonly found in females as compared to males, this sometimes accompanying depression and anxiety. The patient may report that the head feels as if it is in vise or tightness in posterior neck muscles.
The pain begins slowly in tension-type headache, which fluctuates in severity and may persist for many days.
Relaxation relieves tension-type headaches, the individual who is suffering from tension-type headache must do bedrest, head massage.
- It has many names like histamine cephalgia, Raeder’s syndrome, sphenopalatine neuralgia, its episodic type is the commonest and has a characteristic feature is that its pain is around eye orbits and occurs one to three times of short duration every day over a period of 4 to 8 week and there comes a pain-free period which is of up to 1 years.
- Males are more affected than females.
- Pain starts around the eye mainly and less in the temporal region without any warning sign and reaches its peak in 5 minutes.
- Pain is on one side of the head, sometimes their lacrimation redness of the eye, stuffiness of the nose, drooping of the eyelid, and nauseated feeling.
- Its onset is in the night in half of the cases and its pain makes the patient awake from sleep after 2 hours he or she slept.
Natural ways to reduce headpain:
- Herbs like feverfew and butterbur are helpful in reducing headaches.
- Caffeine intake should be limited.
- Avoid extremely cold and extremely cold food items.
- Sound sleep helps to relieve.
- Magnesium-rich foods to be encouraged, in cluster headache.
- Processed meat must be avoided as they contain nitrites, and processed food also be avoided as they contain nitrates in the form of preservative, both nitrites and nitrates trigger the headache.
- Avoid aged cheese, pickles, brewers yeas, onion, garlic, MSG containing food, figs, dates, raisins, cultured dairy products,
- Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce headache lie salmon, walnut, flaxseeds, olive oil, pea, beans, nut.
- Omega 6 fatty acids must be avoided like vegetable oils.
- Ginger can be taken as powdered form or can be added in tea, it will help.
- Stong smelling deodorants etc must be avoided.
- Yog and acupuncture.
- COenzyme 10 supplements.
- Ice packs.
- Low dose magnesium citrate.
- Avoiding food which is rich in histamines like canned food, alcohol, shellfish, smoked meat, vinegar, chocolates, nuts, ready to eat food products, beans, soybeans, peanuts, potato chips.
- Essential oils for headache: (For inhalation, topical use or to add few drops in bathing water only)
- Piperment oil: Contains menthol, it relieves migraine and tension and cluster headache, relaxes muscles, use it topically on forehead and temples.
- Lavender oil: Helps to fight stress, its scent helps to ease a migraine.
- Chamomile oil: Valuable in tension and cluster headache, eases anxiety and helps in good sleep.
- Eucalyptus oil: Very helpful in sinus headaches, blocked nose.
- Rosemary oil: It has the pain-relieving property, brings good sleep, relieves cluster, and tension headache.