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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Headache

Overview
Symptoms
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Headache is a term used to describe aching or pain that occurs in one or more areas of the head, face or neck. It involves the network of nerve fibers in the tissues, muscles, and blood vessels located in the head and at the base of the skull.

Types and symptoms of Headache

  • Tension headaches are typically a steady ache rather than a throbbing one and affect both sides of the head. It is characterized by mild to moderate pain, tight-band and pressing. It usually occurs at the back of the head and neck and it is usually experienced upon awakening.
  • Migraine headaches are usually felt on one side of the head by about 60% of migraine sufferers, with the pain characterized as throbbing. Nausea, with or without vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light, noise, odors and sound often accompany migraines.
  • Cluster headaches are manifested by an extremely severe pain around one eye. The eye may be inflamed or watery. Sometimes, there is nasal congestion on the affected side of the face. Attacks are brief, lasting no more than an hour or two.
Symptoms
  • Common cold
  • Fever, flu, sinusitis
  • Head injury
  • Neck pain from strain or arthritis
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Stress
  • Medications (indomethacin, nitrates, vasodilators)
  • Withdrawal from drugs (caffeine, ergotamine, sympathomimetics)
  • Alcohol withdrawal, hangover
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
  • Get enough sleep an average of 8 hours
  • Eat on time
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid foods that contain nitrites or other additives or preservatives which can trigger attacks
  • Participate in a regular fitness program
  • Protect eyes. Bright light can lead to eyestrain and eventually, headaches. Use sunglasses to avoid direct sun rays into the eyes
  • Two cups or one mug of coffee a day help prevent headaches. Lack of caffeine may leave blood vessels dilated resulting to a headache. Similarly, too much caffeine will also give one a headache.
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