About Headache

What is a headache ?

A headache is one of the most common types of pain. The pain you experience during a headache is caused by tension in the meninges (the membranes around your brain), and in the blood vessels and muscles of your scalp.

You may feel pain all over your head, only on one side, or in the forehead or the back of your neck. Sometimes the pain can shift from one area to another. The pain of headache for some people may be superficial and you may be able to work through it, while for others it may be throbbing or sharp. Pain is a personal thing, unique to each of us.

Your headache pain may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual or other sensory disturbances.1

Types of Headache

Many headaches are simply a response to some adverse stimulus, for example something as simple as hunger.  Headaches such as these usually clear up quickly.

  • Tension headaches can be caused by stress and strains of everyday modern lifestyle, a tension headache is caused by a tightening in the face, neck and scalp muscles as a result of stress or poor posture.   Unfortunately due to modern day busy lifestyles they can be common and may last for days or even weeks.
  • Migraine can be a severe, incapacitating headache that is preceded or accompanied by visual and/or stomach disturbances.
  • Cluster headaches can cause intense pain behind one eye.1

Possible causes

There are several common causes of headache, some of which include:

  • Noisy or stuffy environments
  • Sinusitis
  • Food additives
  • Toothache
  • Cervical Osteoarthritis1

What can I do to prevent a headache?

  • Get plenty of rest.1
  • Even though not scientifically proven, getting lots of fresh air and remembering to take short breaks if you are working with computers can sometimes help.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise.2

  • 1 British Medical Association, A-Z Family Medical Encyclopedia
  • 2 Andersen LL, Mortensen OS, Zebis MK, Jensen RH, Poulsen OM. Effect of brief daily exercise on headache among adults – secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Scand J work Environ Health. 2011 May 26. pii: 3170. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3170.

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