You are likely to experience headache from time to time, with varied frequencies. This is the pounding pain that you experience in your head, which may extend to the back of your neck. Headaches in themselves are not a disease or illness. They may occur purely as such, headaches or can be a symptom of a deep-rooted disease, illness or health condition. The term here is ‘they’ because there are different types of headache, which are caused by different factors. Because headaches can occur on their own or as symptoms of underlying disease(s) and because many people suffer from headaches on a regular basis, the International Headache Society has classified headaches in two broad classes.
Types of Headaches
The classification is aimed at assisting doctors and health care providers in proper diagnosis of headache, which is necessary for correct and effective treatment. The classes include:
Primary headaches – Primary headaches are mild headaches that may or may not be related to any disease or health condition. Some of primary headaches include:
Tension headache – As a woman, this is the most common sub-type of headache you are likely to suffer from. It is more common in women compared to men. Tension headache in children is however rare.
Migraine headache – While migraine sub-type of primary headache affects both children and adults, it is common in women. Children and teenagers will suffer migraine headache until they attain puberty, when the experience ceases. In adulthood, women suffer migraine headache the most.
Cluster headache – Although this sub-type of primary headache is not common, those at risk of suffering are mostly men just past their puberty stage.You may suffer primary headaches due to various reasons and in any case, the same is bound to clear without any medication, unless necessary (with migraines).
Secondary headaches – Secondary headaches occur due to various reasons including injury to the head or neck, diseases (such as meningitis) or body health condition. Differentiating secondary headaches from primary headaches is fairly simple. While primary headaches may only last for a few minutes or days before fading away, secondary headaches persist and show some signs, which include pounding in the head, difficulty in moving limbs, confusion, coughing, straining, fever, stiffness of the neck and thrombosis amongst other signs.
Causes of Headaches
There are varied causes of headaches, depending on type. While most primary headaches are caused by such factors as high stress levels, fatigue, exhaustion and dehydration amongst others, secondary headaches are closely related to your overall health condition. While you can manage primary headaches with over-the-counter analgesics (painkillers) such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin amongst others, secondary headaches require further investigation for the main cause to be ascertained before you can be put on proper medication.
Treatment of Headaches
In order to obtain the correct diagnosis and effective treatment, your doctor or health care provider will depend on the information you provide. For this reason, it is important to:
- See your doctor for a throbbing or pounding headache that lasts for more than 24 hours.
- Determine and disclose to your doctor the correct location of the headache (back of head, side or front).
- Examine your routine and note when such headaches occur and disclose the same to your doctor for proper advice.
Tips to Prevent Headache
Headaches can disrupt your life, especially if they turn chronic. It is however good to note that you can easily prevent headaches and in particular primary headaches, which are the most common. The following tips should help you in preventing the same:
- Do not skip meals. Take time to bite something however late you are or in a hurry.
- Drink a lot of water on a daily basis. Water is necessary for digestion, elimination of waste products and toxins from the body, for body processes and in maintaining appropriate body temperature.
- Exercise on a daily basis. By exercising, you loosen up tight muscles and naturally release body painkillers. Exercising can be as simple as walking.
- Obtain adequate sleep on a daily basis. Lack of adequate sleep is a major cause of varied health problems including headaches.
- Maintain a comfortable (correct) posture while walking or when seated. This is necessary to avoid straining your muscles.
- Avoid using analgesics every time you suffer mild headache, they can worsen your headaches.
- Plan ahead – Avoid stressful situations. Always plan what you need to accomplish in any given day.
Treatment is always better than cure. That is a common fact that most people ignore. You can do so at great cost. Ensure that you live a headache-less life.