Nearly everyone has had a headache at some point in their lives, whether as part of a cold, or simply one that occurs out of nowhere. Besides being a hassle, head pain can severely impede your ability to perform at work, school, or home.
Although most headaches will pass with time, some types of head pain are not normal and require further medical treatment. Here we will take a closer look at headaches, what causes them, and how to prevent and treat them.
Types of Headaches
In order to know how to treat your headache, it is important to understand what type you are suffering from. Here we present an overview of the most common kinds of headaches:
These consist of a dull or slightly throbbing pain, or a feeling of tightness throughout the head. Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches, and everyone will more than likely experience one in his or her life.
These occur more frequently in men than women, and their cause is unknown. They are characterized by severe pain on one side of the head, sometimes accompanied by nasal congestion on the same side.
This type of headache usually occurs in junction with a sinus infection – the inflammation caused by a sinus infection tends to cause a sinus headache.
Migraines usually occur on just one side of the head and are characterized by extreme, sometimes debilitating pain. They are often accompanied by an extreme sensitivity to noise or light, and by persistent queasiness.
Head Pain Causes
There list of things that can cause headaches is endless. However, here are some of the most common culprits that may be causing your head pain:
- Excess caffeine
- Cigarette smoking
- Poor diet
- Poor sleeping habits
- A cold or some other illness
- Weather, altitude, or pressure changes
Head Ache Prevention
The best remedy for a headache is making sure you never get one in the first place. Here are some ways to steer clear of them:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Cut down on caffeine (although small amounts of caffeine can help cure headaches, excess caffeine is known to cause them)
- Eat a balanced diet including many fruits and vegetables
- Get a good night’s sleep regularly
- Exercise moderately
- Practice stress reduction techniques
Although there are many ways to prevent headaches, sometimes they are impossible to avoid. If you find that you have a headache that you were unable to prevent, here are some techniques that you can use to fix it:
- Drink a glass of water
- Drink a small cup of tea or coffee
- Eat a snack
- Relieve any pressure on your head by removing glasses, sunglasses, cap, headband or ponytail
- Get a massage, or give yourself a massage on your temples with your fingertips
- Place an ice pack on your forehead, temples, or the back of your neck
- Get some mild exercise
- Lay down and rest, or sleep if possible
- Go to a quiet, dark room
- Meditate, practice deep breathing, or go to a yoga class
- If other remedies do not work, ake some over-the-counter medication – acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin
When to see a doctor
Mild headaches, such as ones caused by tension, are a normal part of life and usually do not require professional medical treatment.
However, if you have head pain that is more severe than normal or lasts more than a few days, you should consult your physician.
If you ever have a headache that is accompanied by vision changes, confusion, fever, or seizures, seek emergency medical care immediately.
Remember, if your head pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as cold, flu or sinus infection symptoms, it is likely that the infection is causing it. See a doctor or treat the illness first before trying other remedies.
What to do next
Most headaches will pass with time and will improve with use of the remedies listed above. Normally, mild headaches do not require a trip to the physician’s office. However, it is important to remember that not all head pain is normal. You should see your doctor if your pain is severely debilitating or is unlike any headache you have had in the past.