Causes of headaches commonly fall into four categories: Vascular (conditions affecting the blood vessels), tension, inflammatory and those associated with abnormalities of the cranial nerves (the nerves supplying the face, head and neck). There are no nerve endings in the brain itself.
Therefore, a headache is a painful sensation in the muscles, the skin or in some organ around the head or around the brain. The pain can be confined to a small area or cover the entire head. Some headaches are preceded by auras (sensations that things are not quite right). These auras can be visual, associated with smell, or auditory (sounds). Most headaches are benign, that is, they are self–limiting and not likely to be serious. However, some headaches are not, and they require extensive evaluation.
Causes & Risks of Headache
What are the causes and risks of headaches?
Many things cause headaches. Vascular headaches are of the migraine type and can be either classic or common. Vascular headaches include cluster headaches (Severe, one–sided headaches that occur in groups) and headaches associated with hangovers or exposure to toxins and other drugs.
Tension headaches are caused by stress, conversion reactions (Psychological problem causing symptoms that resemble an actual physical condition) or arthritis, abnormalities in the neck, muscles or bones.
Inflammatory headaches are caused by lesions such as tumors, meningitis (Infection or inflammation of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), bleeding within the head, auto–immune diseases (Diseases in which the body produces chemicals that attack itself), or arteritis (Inflammation of the wall of an artery). Cranial neuralgias (Severe pains in or about the face or scalp) are caused by trigeminal (Nerve sensing feelings in the face, cheek and jaw) or glossopharyngeal (Nerve controlling the throat and vocal cords) nerve abnormalities. Most people have experienced some type of headache in their lives.
Symptoms of Headache
What are the signs and symptoms of a headache?
Relieve Headache Naturally
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- Acupuncture: This system of alternative therapy is known for its ability to release the blockages in your body, and enable your vital energies to flow better. Needles are inserted at the head, neck, hands and/or feet for about 20 to 30 minutes to achieve its purpose.
- Aromatherapy: Alternative therapy treatment could relieve you of your headache by rubbing a drop or two of diluted “Lavender essential oil” on your temples, the base of your skull, and your hairline for its soothing effect, this can drive your tension away.
- Feverfew: This contains a compound, parthenolide, which would help you control the dilating and contracting of blood vessels in your brain. Mind you, it is the dilation and contraction of blood vessels in your brain that result in migraines. It also works as a prophylactic or preventive, and could be taken over a long period of time. Feverfew is available in its raw form, as leaves or in the form of capsules.
- Massage Therapy: As the name suggests, this form of therapy uses massage as a means to drive away your pain by literally “Smoothening out your tension”. You could start with the base of your head under your ears and gradually work towards the middle of your skull. Then, gently rub your temples, jaws, neck, and shoulders as well, to complete the procedure.
- Osteopathy: This system has been founded on the premise that physical and emotional stress, injury, and poor posture are likely to show up in your muscular–skeletal structure. So, by manipulating these areas, all underlying pains and strains, including headaches could be relieved.
- Reflexology: This system relies on pressing or massaging your feet or hands to stimulate the precise “Reflex” points that correspond to the affected glands or organs of your body. By stimulating the right area, you could soothe your headaches.
- Shiatsu: This involves the simple procedure of applying “Finger pressure”. All you have to do is, press gently on the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Hold it for about 15 seconds or so and release. Repeat it several times on your other hand as well even as you breathe slowly.