Headache is one of the most common of all symptoms afflicting the human race. Most headaches are more or less transient –here today and gone tomorrow. But some seem to recur frequently over periods of months or years. Such headaches may be due to a wide variety of causes, such as various tumors ,infections ,head injuries , high blood pressure, eye conditions , infections of the nose, throat, and ears, and many more.
However , most headaches have no organic cause. Many are due to megrim or some psychological disturbance resulting in a tension headache. One should never assume that his headache is due to some serious disease, for most headaches are functional and not related to any organic changes in the brain. Even eyestrain is a far less common cause of headache than many people suppose.
Strange as it may seem , the brain itself is not sensitive to pain.
This means that most headaches are not due to any actual damage within the brain itself. How ever , any stretching or pressure on the coverings of the brain or the large blood-vessels with in the head will most certainly produce a severe pain or headache . Any inflammation within the head, such as occurs in meningitis, will cause extreme pain over the entire head. Such causes are extremely rare today. A tumour growing within the head may press upon the meningeal covering or dura. This causes a severe headache, which is usually felt on the side of the head where the tumour is located.
Megrim headaches are among the most common forms of headache today. In most cases they come on when a person is either under intense nervous strain or when the tension suddenly subsides and he takes a day off. This type of headache is often preceded by flashes of light which are seen at the sides of one’s vision. This is most likely to be a one-sided headache, and there may be numbness and tingling on that side of the face or body. Some patients complain of a blind spot in their vision. Megrim is so common that one person in every ten has it at some time or other. It is most common in early adult life, women being more frequently affected. Often there is a history of megrim headache in the family. Fortunately, this type of headache usually begins to subside after the age of fifty.
Megrim attacks are often preceded by short periods of depression, irritability, restlessness, and loss of appetite. These symptoms tend to disappear just before the headache comes on, or they may continue and even increase the pain . This type of headache usually follows a definite pattern. In one attack the right side of the head may be involved , in the next perhaps the left . In many cases there is nausea, vomiting , and the extremities may feel cold, and the patient desires just to be left alone. Careful observation of the blood vessels on the side of the head will show that they are prominent and pulsating .
The attack may last for hours or days at a time. Some patients may have it daily, others at odd times, and still others, perhaps only once or twice in several years. Megrim headaches are usually thought to arise from some reflex spasm or tension in one of the arteries leading to the brain itself. This reduces the normal flow of blood to that area. Just above the spastic portion of the vessel the wall of the artery lose their normal tone an d become greatly dilated. This causes intense pulsations and stretching of the walls of the vessels, producing acute pain and headache. This is the theory. No one knows for sure.
Tension headaches are similar to megrim in many respects, although the location of the headache may be somewhat different and the cause is more obvious. Prolonged tension often seems to produce a spasm of the muscles in the back of neck, particularly in certain people. This muscle spasm draws the tissues over the surface of the cranium very tight , so that the pain is felt not only in the back of the neck , but also over the top and front of the head . This is a steady , aching type of pain . Usually there is no nausea, vomiting or flashing lights for the problem does not appear to affect the brain but is due to external causes. The treatment is similar to that outlined for megrim and sick headaches below of the post. It is most important to avoid emotional stress and be sure to take sufficient rest. Tension headaches are warning signals from nature which one cannot afford to ignore.
Many people suffer from a severe headache due to hangover after taking large quantities of alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to the tissues and directly irritates the meninges or coverings of the brain, thus causing the pain in the head. The alcohol also dilates the arteries in the brain and this in turn produces a pain not unlike that of megrim.. Naturally the best treatment for this type of headache is to avoid the excessive e use of alcohol in any form. Other than this, bed rest is advisable until the crisis has passed.
Head ache due to Constipation.
Some people are particularly susceptible to this type of headache . It appears to arise from absorbing toxic products from the colon. The best treatment is to take sufficient bulk and roughage in the diet , plus at least six to eight glasses of water per day to provide both bulk and lubrication of the bowel . Some mild laxative may be necessary in some cases but , this should be avoided as a general rule.
Headache Due to High Blood pressure
Many people have a tendency to develop a headache when the blood pressure rises beyond the normal level. The reason for this is not too clear, but it may be due to the increased pressure within the smaller arteries and other blood vessels within the brain.
Some of the nasal sinuses lie very close to the brain. Any inflammation within these sinuses may produce a rather severe type of headache. Sometimes the headache come s on gradually , at other times rather quickly. There may also be marked postnasal discharge or dripping down into the throat , as well as fever , loss of appetite , dizziness, and loss of the normal sense of smell. A feeling of toothache might also be present if the maxillary sinuses are involved. During the early phase the temperature may rise to 102 degrees. Anything higher than this suggests further complications, such as otitis media or inflammation of the middle ear. In chronic sinusitis the headache is less severe and the patient may complain of recurrent colds. Sinusitis and its complications will be discussed in coming posts.
Headache Caused by eyestrain.
This type of headache may be due to the body’s attempt to gain clear vision. Within the eyeball the small ciliary muscles control the shape of the lens of the eye. This enables us to focus our vision on the object we are looking at. Prolonged contraction of these tiny muscles can be a cause of head ache due to “eyestrain”. Also the muscles that move the eye (extra ocular muscles) may go into tension, particularly if the muscles controlling one eye are not balanced with those on the other side. This imbalance may cause blurring vision, so that the head may have to be held in a certain position in order to focus the vision. This in turn causes chronic contraction of the muscles of the neck , resulting in a headache.
If the eyes are exposed to a very bright light, a headache may develop lasting twenty-four to forty-eight hours, possibly due to irritation of the delicate tissues in the eyes . Such a headache may last form one to two days. Looking at the sun for only a few seconds may actually burn the retina, and cause a severe headaches arising from eyestrain and other disorders of the eye can be prescribed only by a specialist in eye conditions, or in other words , an ophthalmologist.
Treating A sick headache
The best treatment for a sick headache is to prevent it from coming on. Megrim headaches always arise from the stress and strain within the brain, and from there the trouble may spread to the stomach and intestinal organs.
Here are some suggestions for treatment:
1. Do not be quite so exacting with yourself and with others. Plan your work well, but don’t fret or worry when things go wrong. It may not always be your fault.
2. Get plenty of sound sleep each night . Also , take a short nap in the day time if you can. This will help to relieve tension and restore your scene of well-being.
3. Beware of habit-forming drugs. These may bring quick relief , but they do not remove the cause. It is easy for a person to become addicted to power ful drugs. Better leave them alone.
4. Avoid things to which you are sensitive, such as bright lights, loud noises , tobacco smoke, strong perfumes, heavy traffic, and perhaps even some of your neighbours. Don’t allow yourself to exceed your own limits.
5. A hot foot bath for about twenty minutes will often relieve severe headache . An Ice cod cloth to the head will also bring relief and make the hot foot bath even more effective.
6. Avoid nervous tension. Get sufficient exercise out of door, especially walking . This will receive tension and help to prevent headaches. Gentle massage to the neck and back will often bring relief.
7. Keep calm and quiet. You cannot always have your own way, even at home. Remember , a happy attitude toward life is one good way to prevent these tensions from coming on in the first place .
So try to face your problems bravely, without fear or weakness. A Calm , quiet atmosphere will bring peace within yourself , and with others , and with God.
Alternative Therapies or Natural herbs and food to cureheadache.
Apples are highly beneficial in the treatment of all types of headache. A ripe apple, after removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion should be taken with a little salt every morning on empty stomach in such cases. This should be continued for about a week. It will yield .good results even in cases of disgusting chronic headache.
Feverfew - Tanacetum parthenium :
Can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It works effectively only if taken daily. It wont help if taken once you have a migraine.
Passionflower - Passiflora incarnate :
One of natures best tranquilizers, contains at least 3 tranquilizing or sedating compounds, relieves muscle tension, insomnia, mild headache relief.
(Not recommended for pregnant women or children under 2....Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after using passionflower)
Willow Bark - Salix alba :Relieves headaches.
Peppermint is a herb that can create a soothing effect and cure the headaches with its coolness. The other similar herb is Passionflower which has slightly different effects than the peppermint. It comes with certain amount of sedative effect. This can slowly release the pressure on the mind and body and gradually cool the brain to cure headaches.
Cayenne pepper is another effective option that can cure the headaches because of its heating effect. You might feel an intense pain initially but this will gradually reduce and you will feel better.
These herbs were used to combat this problem in the ancient ages especially in India and China.
Mudra for Headache: