Headache is an umbrella term that includes several different sub types of pain felt in the upper neck, forehead as well as the temple region, each of which are caused due to different factors and present varied signs and symptoms. An overwhelming majority of the population complains of headaches and, in general, the more common headaches are the ones that are caused due to tension and everyday stress related to work as well as other day to day activities.
Headaches can be pretty annoying and are one of the biggest irritants a majority of people have to put up with on a daily basis. Treacherous headaches, in most cases, lead to wasted days and a spoilt mood. The reason behind the pain should be identified, in order to prevent the pain from recurring or, at least, minimize the intensity of the attack in the future. Managing and avoiding headaches are possible only when they are properly understood.
Headache Types and Causes
We have to understand how headaches are caused and how they progress for any logical plan to be successful in preventing their occurrence. Headaches are certainly avoidable if the proper precautions are taken at the right time. It is important to know what activities or changes give rise to pain and try to minimize such triggers.
The more common types of headaches are the ones that result due to strain and stress. When tension takes over the body, the muscles around the brain stiffen and go in to spasms. This results in the pain that is felt around the head as well as the region of the upper neck. Identifying the causes is key to prevent any future attacks.
Tension type headaches are the most common, followed by Migraine headaches. Changes in the arteries around the brain are responsible for triggering vascular headaches, of which migraine is the most common one.
Certain headaches are caused due to certain ailments of the body. These headaches are termed as secondary headaches and are most frequently caused due to certain disease conditions such as brain tumor, cancerous growth in the brain, infections such as meningitis, encephalitis as well as seizures and strokes. Unless the primary cause and symptoms are identified and treated, it is not possible to treat or avoid such headaches.
Simple Tips on How to Avoid Headache
Most forms of headaches are related to the lifestyle of a person. Lifestyle changes, such as a switch over to healthy eating habits, regular exercise as well as dropping smoke and liquor go a long way in helping a person avoid headaches, both episodic as well as the chronic forms.
- De-stress and Relax: One of the most common causes of headaches, as discussed earlier, is stress. Both physical as well as emotional stress have an equal role to play. Stress results in muscular rigidity and eventually spasms that manifest as headaches. Stress management as well as relaxation techniques should be resorted to if your job is very stressful, resulting in the ordeal of headache after work.
- Yoga and Meditation: The techniques of meditation and the yoga asanas greatly help in relaxing the body as well as the mind. Several yoga asanas help correct posture issues and also relax the muscles and the nerves. The Suryanamaskar and the Shavasana, when practiced regularly, act as potent de stressors. Breathing techniques help relieving stress, both physical as well as mental. Meditation along with visualization greatly helps a person to come out of painful attacks. It might not be the easiest thing to do, but is definitely worth giving a try.
- Bad Posture: Slumping and slouching place a heavy strain on the neck as well as the back. This strain, over a period of time builds up the necessary tension to kick off a headache bout. Maintaining a good posture is key to avoid headache. In case posture problems are indeed the cause of recurrent headaches, conscious posture corrections should be made at the earliest to avoid the damage it can do the body as a whole. Ergonomic chairs are the best options to tackle posture issues during long work hours.
- Keep the Eyes Relaxed: The eyes play a crucial role in controlling headaches. Blinding lights and computer screens have a damaging effect on the eye which initiates or sometimes, aggravates headaches. When the eyes are strained, the nerves that run through them as well as the muscles that control the eye are strained which results in increased levels of stress in the head region. When tension begins to set in, it is best to massage the eyes lightly, without applying too much pressure, to relieve the stress at the early stages itself and prevent a headache episode even before it begins. Working or studying in a well lit room is one of the best ways to avoid headaches due to stressed out eyes.
- Sleep Well: Inadequate sleep and altered sleep patterns, in most cases, result in headaches. Proper hours of sleep and rest everyday are of utmost importance to avoid headaches.
- Fresh Air: Stuffy rooms without proper ventilation and air circulation can be potent triggers of headaches. It is important to keep the workplace as well as the rooms at home well ventilated. When symptoms of headache seem to appear, it is advisable to leave the stuffy room and take a stroll outside and breathe in some fresh air to improve circulation.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Several times headaches are caused due to dehydration, especially when out in the sun for long hours. The best way to avoid such headaches is to keep the body adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water at regular intervals.
- Watch What You Eat: Certain food items have the capacity to induce headaches. Preserved foodstuff with high concentrations of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is believed to be potent headache triggers although there is no research proof behind such a prediction. Other triggers include aged cheese, red wine, chocolate as well as cold items such as ice creams and cold drinks.
- Exercise and Workouts: Regular exercise keeps the body’s organs ticking in perfect rhythm. Headaches most often are caused due to disruptions in blood flow to the brain. Exercise improves over all circulation and results in the release of endorphins that help to keep headaches away. Stretching the neck as well as the muscles of the back help in relieving the stress build up, thereby avoiding the chances of tension headaches.
- Acupressure: Activating pressure points in your body helps relieve tension and stress, improves circulation and also provides immediate relief from headaches. The acupressure points on either side of head in the temple region as well as the one above the bridge of the nose, when massaged with a circular motion, provide instant relief from headaches.
A healthy and balanced diet, stress free lifestyle and good hygiene act as shields against most ailments and applies to avoiding headaches as well. The known triggers of headache should be kept at bay as much as possible and if any signs of a headache attack appear, it is necessary to act quickly to abort the pain from transforming into a full fledged attack. Headaches can be avoided as well as managed efficiently when proper attention is paid to keep the possible triggers at bay. Prophylactic measures are the best options when it comes to headaches as it is always better to save a day before it is spoilt.