Know more about your Headache

Headache

 

We all had that time where you felt that simply your brain wants to pop your skull open and just walk away! It is always a terrible experience no matter how young or old you are and no matter what type of pain you felt.

In today’s article, we will look into the subject of headaches, what is it really about? Its’ causes, treatments as well as some interesting facts that you might haven’t heard of!

 

Your brain is not the one that hurts!

Yes, it is true, your brain has no pain receptors, so you can never feel pain in your brain and this is why it is possible for a surgeon to carry out an operation on your brain without any analgesic drugs in what is known as “Awake Brain surgery”

 

 

If not the brain then what?

There are various types and causes of headaches, and therefore there are different organs that send pain or discomfort signals to the brain, those organs are:

 

  • A network of nerves that extends over the scalp
  • Certain nerves in the face, mouth, and throat
  • Muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders
  • Blood vessels found along the surface and at the base of the brain

 

Headache categories

Regardless of the pain you feel, there are only two main categories of headaches, primary and secondary:

 

Primary and Secondary headaches

 

Now let’s get more specific and talk about the most common types of Primary headaches which are: Migraine, tension and cluster headaches

 

Tension HeadacheTension Headache

It is considered as the most common type of primary headache that almost all of us have experienced at some stage in life.

 

Causes

Although it is one of the most common types of headaches, studies haven’t completely identified what are its causes.

 

What does it feel like?

It feels like a tight band around your head on both sides, a sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head, Tenderness on your scalp, neck and shoulder muscles. These symptoms can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours

 

Is it associated with other symptoms?

No. tension headaches are there by themselves

 

Would my surrounding make my headache worse?

No, tension headaches are not affected by your surrounded and physical activities

 

What should I do?

With time you will come to know almost all the triggers that cause this type of headache, it could be some sort of food, a good amount of direct sunlight, or sometimes a perfume, so what you need to do is avoid those triggers as much as possible

 

MigrainesMigraine picture

Although it is considered as the most painful type of headaches that comes along with other symptoms, it is still a primary type of headache, meaning that there are no underlying threats behind it.

 

Causes

No definite call on it yet, Scientist linked it to the dilation and constriction of the blood vessels, however, the fact of it being genetically transmitted in starting to take up the lead.

 

What does it feel like?

The pain of a migraine is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the patients head

 

Is it associated with other symptoms?

Yes, Migraine can drag along other symptoms like nausea and/or vomiting, or sensitivity to both light and sound. In some cases, Migraines are preceded by visual disturbances known as “Aura”, which is described by patients as visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zig-zag lines or a temporary loss of vision.

 

Would my surrounding make my headache worse?

Yes, Patients with tend to suffer more with physical activity, high sounds and bright lights.

 

What should I do?

we have come a long way in Science and physiology, however, there is no cure to Migraines as of now, but what can be done is trying to avoid its triggers and provided patients who suffer from them the right environment to calm and cure.

It is really important that close people around Migraine patients support them and create the suitable healing atmosphere for them.

 

Cluster headachesCluster Headache

What sets this type apart from the others is that it is sudden, sharp and happens mostly before bedtime or during sleep. It is an uncommon type, but still severely painful and can wake somebody up at night.

Causes

The exact cause is also unknown yet, but cluster headache patterns suggest that abnormalities in the body’s biological clock (hypothalamus) play a role, and maybe involve some genetic as well.

 

What does it feel like?

What the sufferer would experience is a severe pain on one side of the head, usually behind one eye

 

Is it associated with other symptoms?

Yes, the patient would have a swelling eyelid, Runny nose or congestion and experience excessive tearing.

 

Would my surrounding make my headache worse?

Generally not, however, some suffers may experience sensitivity to light and sound but in general, they can move and be around others with little to no effect on their condition.

 

What should I do?

Reduce your activities and deal with the pain with painkillers if needed, if the case has developed or changed in pattern, you need to see a doctor.

 

 

Here is a quick recap of the three headache types discussed above

Headache types comparison

 

 

Ok, so when should I go to the doctor?

Sometimes it is OK to have a headache, you should not declare an emergency state in most of the case, however, there are three situations where you should seek medical attention for our headache:

 

  1. When your headache is symptomatic; meaning that there is a series of other symptoms that you experience in addition to your headache, example: when a headache is accompanied with fever, stiff neck and uncontrolled vomiting, it is an indication of meningitis.

 

  1. When headaches are impairing you from going on in your daily life: if you recognize an escalation in the frequency and intensity of your headaches or when you start to experience neurological functions disorders like weakening or complete loss of vision, confusion, loss of consciousness or hearing abnormal sounds, these are some reasons to seek medical care as soon as possible.

 

  1. If you start to develop a headache after an incident: if you start to experience headaches after the age of 50 or after a head injury or any sort of trauma or accident, you should see a doctor

 

 

Bonus Tipmedication overuse headache

There is a type of headaches that I want to highlight, which is called “Rebound Headache” or else know as Medication Overuse Headache, Yes that is true, so here is how it goes: if you take painkillers to often (Depending on the type of drug, Ie: Ibuprofen for more than 15 days a month) you are likely to develop a headache as soon as the painkiller effect fades away from your body, entering into what is known as rebound Cycle.

It is always being said: Prevention is better than cure, and this is a clear example of that, always try to avoid drugs and painkillers as much as you can handle.

 

 

Headaches and especially primary ones are quite unavoidable, so always try to be conscious of what gives you a headache and avoid it, relax and don’t take medications too often, it is that simple!

 

 

 

Stay Positive, Stay healthy, Stay grateful!

 

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References:

John Hopkins medicine
Mayo Clinic
National Headache Foundation
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
American Migraine Foundation
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/ionm/types/intraoperative-brain-mapping.html
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/nervous_system_disorders/headache_85,p00784
https://headaches.org/resources/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20353977
https://www.davidwolfe.com/7-types-headaches-causes/ - Picture in Migraine section
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cluster-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20352080
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Headache-Hope-Through-Research
https://www.astrogle.com/ayurveda/cluster-headache-natural-remedies.html - Picture in Cluster headache section
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/532058143456128368/ Medication overuse headache picture
https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/medication-overuse-headache/

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