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Headaches – causes and prevention

Updated on October 14, 2011



Headaches – causes and prevention

Over the years, people have had serious or fair share of the headache problem. Some have asked the causes and prevention methods while others chose to manage themselves especially in Africa. Headache is not new to mankind. In fact, almost every able-bodied man or woman must have come in contact with headache in one way or the other.

Headache is associated with irritation, sharp pain which arises within and outside the skull. Headache is mainly caused by not due to irritation of the brain, but due to the pulling or stretching of the blood vessels or coverings of the brain.

Also, when headache arises outside the skull, it is attributed to the stimulation of the fine nerve fibres in the walls of the arteries or within the powerful muscles of the head or neck. “A headache is caused by the swelling or dilation of blood vessels,” explains Dr. Seymour Diamond, director of a headache clinic in Chicago. “Cold will cause these vessels to constrict.” He recommends putting crushed ice in a plastic bag and pressing it against your forehead for 30 to 45 minutes while either sitting or lying down.

The following two types of headache will help us identify the causes and if possible provide us with the preventive measures.

Tension headache: this type of headache is the everyday headache we experience after a major work. It is felt in the muscles at the back of the head or on both sides of the head; or even above the eyes. The symptoms may range from pressure or sensation of weight on the head. It is mostly caused as a result of excessive or sustained contraction of the muscles of the scalp and the powerful muscles of the neck that support the head.

Migraine headache: this type of headache affects only one side of the head. It results in a painful throbbing due to affected arteries outside the skull. It is followed by a feeling of unsettled stomach, other digestive disturbances or even sickness. Also, this type of headache mostly affects one side of the head. Sometimes, this type of headache is inherited. Many a time, classical migraine may be followed by a preheadache warning.

Fighting headache

“There are many ways to kill a rat” as the saying goes. There are many ways to prevent or stop headache. In this modern era, development in technology, medicine and science gives us the edge over our sorrows. But, this will have appropriate result if care is well taken. It is know that amidopyrine and phenacetin can cause harm; therefore it is not advisable to use them.

Paracetamol and Aspirin are known to be great help in the fight against headache. It is safer to use, cheap and affordable. Care must be taken when taking these drugs and the recommended dosages must be adhered to strictly to avoid complications. Also, proper rest, relaxation, warm bath and a thorough massage of the muscles of the neck have been known to remedy this situation.

More so, it is a common fact to state that headache may be invited simply by anxiety, stress, conflict or even fatigue. Again, excitement, emotions or violent emotions can trigger the occurrence of headache. According to Dr Oliver W. Sacks, in his book Migraine: The Evolution of a Common Disorder (1970), writes: “Violent emotions exceed all other acute circumstances to provoke migraine reactions, and in many patients—especially sufferers from classical migraine—are responsible for the vast majority of all attacks experienced. . . we find, in practice, that sudden rage is the commonest precipitant, although fright (panic) may be equally potent in younger patients. Sudden elation (as at a moment of triumph or unexpected good fortune) may have the same effect.”

Prevention tips.

For one to overcome headache, necessary steps must be taken. A proper attention must be given to diet, eating habit, relaxation, recreational activities, rest and our mental attitude. It is not a rumour to say that a well balanced diet and eating in moderation is a good way of curtailing headache.

The following have been known to cause headache, they include stress, fatigue, depression, and harsh conditions at work, poor ventilation are factors that contributes to headache. Health expert would advise patients to indulge in healthful recreational activities like walking, a trip to the beach and having a positive mental attitude towards life. More so, our ability to overcome emotional stress, tensions, depression and strains may minimize the occurrence of headache. By and large, we must strive to keep our heads up and make necessary adjustments to see if we can minimize this scourge. But, we must keep in mind that all these defects in one way or the other must plague mankind since we are still in an imperfect world. Therefore, we must try to cope with it and also keep a positive mental attitude in life.

It helps!

Have you ever had severe headaches? what drug have been effective in treating severe headaches? Please use the comment box to help others.

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