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Headache

Headache affects people of all ages, occupation, caste, creed and race. It has become a part and parcel of one’s daily life. Headaches can be due to emotional disorders, head injuries, migraine, fever intracranial vascular disorders, dental diseases, diseases of the eyes, ears or nose or even sinuses. However, a majority of the headaches are due to modernization and a changed lifestyle, and habits such as an improper diet, tension, stress, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol, stimulants such as coffee and tea. Headaches in fact are a distress signal sent up by the body indicating that all is not well with the system. In fact, many headache sufferers do not think so and try to suppress it with analgesics while continuing with unhealthy lifestyle, resulting in the manifestation of another bout of headache soon.

Most people experience headache as a sort of ‘pain in the head’ which is actually due to congestion in the blood vessels which press the nerve endings present in the skull region. Depending on the cause, headaches are classified as tension headaches, toxemic headaches, congestive headaches, sinus headaches, postural headaches, cluster headaches and one sided headache otherwise known as migraine.

Treatment


Insomnia

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia or sleeplessness. Twice as many women as men complain of insomnia, and it is more prevalent among the elderly.

There are three kinds of insomnia

Insomnia is mainly due to psychiatric or medical problems such as depression, alcoholism, sleep apnea, nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting), restless leg syndrome (muscular cramps of calf muscles). Other factors such as stress, bereavement also lead to insomnia for about 3–4 weeks. Fasting, indigestion too results in temporary disturbances in the sleep.

A small percentage of disorders related to sleeplessness start during childhood. Generally, sleep disturbance results in fatigue, irritability and unpredictable levels of work efficiency. On an average, an adult requires about 6–8 hours of sleep a day.

Measures to be taken for good sleep

Migraine

Migraine which afflicts 12% of the world’s population is still a misunderstood phenomenon. Migraine needs no introduction. There will be distinctive hammering or throbbing one–sided headache during an attack with nausea or vomiting. Only a migraine sufferer knows the severity of the affliction. When it strikes it stops work, thought and every other activity of the sufferer.

Migraine headache takes the form of either classical migraine or simple common migraine. The classical migraine attack can easily be distinguished from the other by the chain of reactions that characterize it. The troublesome syndrome is preceded by an ‘aura’ which serves as a warning of the headache to follow.

The ‘aura’ may take the form of an uncommon feeling of well being which alerts the person to expect an attack. The initial symptoms of migraine are usually blurring of the vision which may reach its peak in 15 to 30 minutes and then fade. Normalcy will return in about an hour. Then starts the typical one–sided headache, throbbing in nature, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The severity of pain ranges from a dull, persistent ache to an unbearable thumbing and pounding pain. The pain is triggered off, most of the time, by intense light and high frequency sound.

Common or simple migraine occurs more frequently than the classical one, it has no aura or any early indications of the impending attack. But all the signs of a typical migraine’s attack may manifest.


Treatment

  1. Preventive Measures
    • Treat the underlying precipitating factor i.e. indigestion and constipation by cleansing the bowels by warm water enema for the first 2–3 days.
    • Regular practice of yogasanas, kriyas, pranayama improves health and relaxes the body.
    • Regular practice of yoganidra or shavasan or progressive relaxation or biofeedback help relax the body and the mind leading to prevention of migraine.
    • Other general measures adopted to improve the functioning capacity of the digestive system also help in the treatment of migraine.
  2. Before An Attack
    • Avoid consumption of condiments, pickles, sugar, tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol and heavy spicy food on the onset of attack.
    • Hot fomentation to the back of the neck before the onset of the attack is also beneficial.
  3. For Relief During Attack
    • Head massage followed by hot foot immersion, a cold trauma and cold pack help to relieve the symptoms.
    • Induced vomiting relieves pressure by emptying the stomach.
    • Steam inhalation dilates blood vessels of the face and divert the blood flow relieving the symptoms of migraine to a certain extent.
    • Hot foot and arm bath diverts the blood to the upper and lower limbs and thus help in relieving the symptoms.
  4. General Measures
    • Steam and sauna baths open up sweat pores, help to eliminate toxins from the body through the sweat, which cleanses the internal system.
    • Warm water immersion baths, which diverts blood to the periphery if taken for a prolonged period is also beneficial.