She shuts her eyes tight and holds her head with both hands. She feels a pounding sensation in her temples and a cannon appears to go off incessantly somewhere in her head. She tightens her eyes again to be sure the infantry battalion marching through her head was actually not standing before her. She is right, the artillery is right inside her head. She picks up her papers to scan the content – she’s got a conference presentation in 20 minutes and got no time left – but the pounding artillery in her head won’t allow her to focus on the paper. She knows it is useless reading any God-knows-what at this time. She plops into a recliner to rest her head and to appease the ravaging demons therein – and before she knows it, she doses off.
This experience appears familiar, right? Well, it does for almost everybody.
Let us take a look at what headache or cephalalgia is all about. Headache or cephalalgia is the pain in the head caused by dilation of cerebral arteries or muscle contractions or a reaction to drugs. It is the pain we feel anywhere in the region of the head as a result of a ruckus of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. The severity of this pain may be dull, sharp, agonizing, constant, mild or intense depending on its causative factors.
Types of Headaches
Headaches can be categorized into two: primary headache, and secondary headache.
- Primary Headaches
Primary headaches are the non-threatening, recurrent headaches not caused by medical problems. For instance, migraine is a type of primary headache and usually caused by stress – not having enough rest. Bear in mind that stress and anxiety can trigger tension, headaches, and migraines – so it’ll be a good idea to always take some time off for a little rest; don’t be a workaholic, it’s not good for your overall health.
- Secondary Headaches
Secondary headaches are the severe ones, resulting from an underlying physiological problems in the head or neck. It can come from dental pain from infected tooth, and pain from infected sinus, among others. All traumatic headaches fall under this category.
Short-term treatment and cure:
- Use of painkillers such as aspirin or Paracetamol
- Heat treatment such as a long soak in a hot bath
- Ice packs to the face
- A scalp, neck and shoulder massage
- Stress-relieving activities such as relaxation, meditation, or hypnosis
- Moderate physical exercises
- Entertaining distractions such as a good book, or movie
Long-term treatment and cure:
- Aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming, or walking
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and hypnosis
- Consultation with a psychologist to improve stress management
- Addressing the musculoskeletal tension with chiropractic or physiotherapy
- Antidepressant medication.
Do not forget to visit your doctor, complementary therapy practitioner, psychologist, chiropractor, and physiotherapist when the headache situation becomes tougher and sharper than imagined. There are also alternative home remedies that you can explore to alleviate your headaches.