At some point in life, most people experience headaches. While it may just be annoying for some people, it may be extremely worse and unbearable for others. Hence, the need to get rid of headaches quickly when it comes. While some chronic headaches might require you to visit a physician and carry out some underlying tests, you can deal with most headaches at the comfort of your home. In this post, you will learn different types of headaches, the causes, the symptoms, how to prevent them, and some home remedies to get rid of headaches.
Table of Contents
What Are Headaches?
A headache is simply the discomfort or painful feeling experienced in the head region. The intensity of this pain varies in people, depending on the cause and the type. The pain experienced may be of sudden onset or prolonged and may last between a few minutes to several hours and even days. The pain felt may be localized to one area in the head or felt in all head regions, right from the scalp through the forehead and down the eye.
Classification of Headaches
Headaches can be classified into two:
- Primary Headaches
- Secondary Headaches
What is Primary Headache?
Primary Headaches are mild headaches that have no underlying conditions associated with them.
Some of the triggers of primary headaches include stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, fatigue, hunger, bright light, long-term staring at electronic screens, smoke inhalation, air pollution, change in weather, eye stain, etc.
Primary headaches can further be classified into:
A tension headache is the most common type of headache. This type of headache feels like a band is tied very tightly around the head. It ranges from mild to moderate to severe, and it produces tension around the head region.
Migraine is an intense headache with a throbbing sensation. It is different from tension headache in that it comes with nausea and vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, mood changes, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. Tension headaches come in clusters. They are called “clusters” because they come in collections and can affect someone seven to eight times within a day. One can get relieved temporarily between those times before coming back again. There are pauses between headaches, which is why they are called clusters. They give a burning and sharp sensation on one side of the head region.
A cluster headache comes with some symptoms: pain on one side of the head region, swollen forehead, swelling at the affected region, running nose, teary eyes coupled with reddened eyeballs, and drooping eyelids.
What are Secondary Headaches?
When an underlying condition causes a headache, it is called a secondary headache. Different conditions can cause you to have secondary headaches, and when this occurs, it is better to see a physician to get tested and provided with appropriate treatment. Some of these conditions include meningitis, sinusitis, hydrocephalus, bleeding inside the brain, Gastrointestinal infections, tumors, etc.
Some of the symptoms of secondary headaches include severe pain, seizures, slurred speech, limb paralysis, fainting, weakness, confusion, etc.
Secondary Headaches can further be classified into:
Post Traumatic Headache
Post Traumatic Headache is a type of headache following an injury to the brain. It usually occurs to people a few days after losing consciousness or after the injury. Its symptoms resemble migraine headaches like nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light.
Thunderclap Headache is a rapidly occurring type of headache that resembles a clap of thunder and reaches maximum pain 60 seconds after sudden onset. It is often a result of a blood bleed or blood clot and may be accompanied by mental confusion, seizures, or vision changes.
Rebound Headache results from drug overuse. When you try to treat a headache by using a pain-relieving drug and keep using it until your body becomes accustomed to it that it’s no longer effective, a rebound headache may occur. This usually occurs when you don’t follow the prescription by your doctor. As you keep using the drugs, their effects wear off, and you begin to take more dosages or use them over again. Rebound Headache can also result from withdrawal from other drugs, e.g., caffeine drugs. It usually comes with poor quality of sleep, feeling of anxiety or depression, temporary loss of memory, high level of irritation, etc.
Causes of Headaches
There are numerous causes of Headaches, and some of them have been mentioned, but below are some other causes of headaches:
Your ears can become sensitive to noise, which can come from loud music, objects falling, car honking, people talking and shouting, staying close to a factory where they use machines, etc. When this noise reaches a particular level in which your head can no longer adapt to it, it leads to headaches.
Putting pressure on your emotions and mental state can cause you to have headaches. Also, prolonged work can cause physical stress.
Maintaining poor posture for a long time can lead to tension in your muscles and cause headaches. Sitting for a long time without standing up to stretch your body can result in headaches. Poor posture can also lead to back and neck pain, which can radiate to the head to cause pain.
Straining the eye can also lead to a headache. Reading with dim light, reading very tiny words, reading for a long time without breaks, and being exposed to very bright light (which could all lead to straining of eyes) can cause headaches.
Poor sleep pattern
Lack of sleep and insufficient sleep can cause the body to produce specific proteins that cause pain. Some of these proteins are responsible for reducing the way your body becomes adapted to pain, which can trigger a tension headache.
When you take too much alcohol frequently, it acts on the kidney and allows you to urinate more, thereby losing fluid, which causes dehydration and, in turn, will lead to headaches.
When you are already used to a particular environment, a change in environment (which may be changing from cold environment to hot environment and vice versa, dusty environments, or dry environments) can all trigger headaches.
How Can I Prevent Headache?
Good and adequate sleep keeps the body refreshed and makes you calm and well-oriented.
Drinking water is very crucial to maintaining the body’s health. Apart from the fact that it helps prevent headaches, it is important to the body’s overall well-being. Take water with you always.
Exercising three to four times a week is good for the body’s overall health, especially aerobic exercises, which help keep the body flexible and release tensed muscles. You can also practice physical activities like yoga, tai-chi, and Qigong.
Avoid prolonged sitting
Sitting on a spot for a long time can cause headaches, so there is a need to take breaks. After an hour of sitting, stand up, walk around, stretch your body before going back to sit to continue your Job.
Protect your eyes
Avoid reading with dim light, reading with very bright light, reading with poorly working lenses, and prolonged staring at your computer screen to avoid headaches that may result from them.
Make sure you go for regular check-ups to know if there is an underlying condition that needs immediate treatment to prevent serious complications.
Food is essential to life. Therefore, ensure you don’t starve yourself and eat food rich in vitamins.
Home Remedies To Get Rid of Headaches
Here are the 11 natural remedies to get rid of headaches:
Cryotherapy involves using ice to reduce the inflammatory response that causes pain. Breaking ice into cubes, wrapping it in a towel, and placing it on the head or area of the headache can cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels, which reduces the inflammatory response and helps in numbing the pain. It should be removed after 15 minutes to prevent frostbite.
Application of heat using media like heating pads or packs can cause an increase in circulation, which aids in blood flow and reduces headache. People with medical conditions that are not compatible with prolonged heat should avoid this method, e.g., diabetics.
3. Take a shower
To ease tensed muscles, you can take a warm shower, and this can help the brain to reject pain receptors and, in turn, reduce headaches. For headaches accompanied by nausea, a cold shower is more effective.
When you feel a headache, you can decide to sleep for a few hours, and you will be surprised at how refreshed you will be after waking up. Ensure you create the appropriate environment for sleep, which is a quiet, relaxed, and comfortable environment. Moreover, sleep for about 7-8hours a day and stick to a regular sleeping time. Make sure you don’t sleep too much, as sleeping for a very long period can also cause tiredness and headaches.
People are often so busy with work that they get all worked up and feel sick after stressing themselves out, but your health needs to rest. After working for some time, find time to take breaks in-between work before going back to continue your work.
When you feel a headache, you can take water, which may resolve within three hours of drinking. Water loss in the body must be lower than water consumed, and drinking water would also reduce brain contraction due to fluid loss.
7. Aromatic Oil
Inhaling certain oils like lavender, basil oil, peppermint oil, and so on can also help to relieve headaches. You can put the oil in tissue paper or cotton wool and inhale it or mix with a base oil like coconut oil and apply it to the area where you have a headache. If you have allergy reactions to these oils when applied to your skin, you should try other options.
Massage is one of the things that can be done to ease your headache. Gently massage the area of your temple between your forehead and your ears. Moreover, you can massage your shoulders and the back of your neck, which can help to reduce headaches.
Ginger tea is of great importance in the treatment of headaches as it contains natural oils that are effective in treating headaches. When people experience migraine headaches, the serotonin level reduces, and ginger tea has been found to increase the level of serotonin, which in turn reduces headaches.
10. Practice leg on the wall pose
Leg on the wall pose is a form of yoga practice that helps to improve circulation, relieve stress, and reduce anxiety, which can, in turn, reduce headaches. It is done by placing a mat or cloth on the floor close to the wall; you then try to lie down and place your leg on the wall, which should be at the right angle to the body on the mat. Ensure your sit bone is against the wall and your pelvis is on the same plane. Relax your body and stay in this position for about 10 minutes or till when it’s comfortable for you, and gently release yourself from this position to rest.
Recognize your triggers and apply the best suitable treatment for your condition. It is expected that the headache should reduce or disappear after applying the above measures. However, if the home remedies to get rid of headaches do not work, it is expedient to see your doctor as soon as possible. If the headache does not disappear after 24 hours, then there might be a high chance that it is a secondary headache due to an underlying condition, and you need to get tested so that the right amount of treatment can be prescribed to you on time.