Do You Have a Headache?

//Do You Have a Headache?

Headache is described as a common condition that affects many people multiple times during their lives. It is indicated by pain in your face or head. The pain can be sharp, dull, throbbing, and constant. Stress management, biofeedback, and different medicines are used to treat headaches.

You are not the only one if your head throbs. One of the most occurring forms of pain in the world is a headache. In the last year, up to 75% of adults around the world have experienced a headache. Headaches are a major factor of absenteeism from work and school. They influence social and family life as well. Constantly fighting headaches can make some people feel nervous and depressed.

 

What are the types of headaches?

There are two main categories of headaches that are further divided into 150 types.

Primary headaches

Headaches that are not related to other medical conditions are called a primary headache. The main categories of primary headache include

  • Cluster headaches.
  • New daily persistent headaches (NDPH).
  • Tension headache
  • Migraine

Secondary headaches

Headaches that are associated with other medical conditions are called secondary headaches, such as Trauma, infections, hypertension, blood vessel disease in the brain, sinus congestion, head injury, and tumor.

 

Causes of Headache

The following are the main triggers of headache, either cluster headache, migraine, or tension headache.

  • Stress: It happens due to muscle tension of the head, neck, and shoulder muscles.
  • Diet: Processed foods containing nitrates, or foods like onions, bananas, cheese, and chocolate also trigger a headache.
  • Environment: High sound volume, bright light, intense scents, humidity, and smoke are linked with triggering factors of headaches.
  • Hormones: Change in the level of certain hormones like estrogen in women also causes headache.
  • Alcohol intake
  • Lack of sleep and caffeine withdrawal are other triggering factors

 

Headache in Canada

In Canada, it was predicted that 2.6 million adult females and 0.8 million adult males suffer from migraines, but about half of them have been diagnosed by a doctor. In Canada, people from lower-income families are not at a higher risk of migraine.

According to the statistics mentioned in the survey conducted by Canada National Population Health in 1998 shows that Canadians having age more than 12 have been diagnosed with migraine headaches. Females are three times as likely as males to have them such as 1.7% vs. 3.8 % This gender disparity remains in all age range, but is most prominent for those aged 25–39. Migraines affect 15.5 % of women and 4 % of men in this age group.

Canadian Community Health Surveys conducted a study on people living in private households based on evidence from the 2010 and 2011 Census of Living with Neurological Disorders in Canada. Approximately 8.3% of Canadians (2.7 million) confirmed being diagnosed with migraine by a health provider in 2010/2011. Migraine was recorded by 11.8 percent of females versus 4.7 percent of males.

Migraine vs headache

  • Independent condition causes pain in the neck, head, or face. Sometimes it is related to other medical conditions and sometimes a headache is not linked with medical conditions.
  • A migraine is a form of primary headache condition that can cause excruciating pain and other signs and symptoms. Migraine sufferers can report chronic symptoms known as episodes or attacks by physicians. Migraines can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, which can be moderate to severe.
  • A migraine headache generally causes one side of the head, but it can affect both sides in some individuals. A migraine attack can be categorized into four levels, but not all can experience each one.

 

Diagnosis 

The first approach is to discuss your headaches with your doctor. Your doctor will assess you and ask you about your signs, as well as how frequently you experience a headache. It’s important to be as thorough as possible when writing these explanations. Create a list of what causes your headaches, what makes them worse, and what makes you feel better and give it to your doctor. To assist your doctor in diagnosing your condition, keep a headache diary.

Other diagnostic measures used for headaches include CT scan, EEG, Sinus X-ray, Skull X-ray, spinal tap, and eyesight examination.

 

Headache Treatment

Medication and other pain treatments may help prevent the initiation of headaches, although medicines are not the only choice. Changing your diet to reduce stress and prevent causes can also be beneficial. These methods can also help you avoid headaches. What works for one person might not be suitable for another, so consult a physician to determine the right treatment option for you.

Medications for Headaches

The following medicines are used for treating headaches.

  • Tension headaches: For tension headaches, ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and naproxen are most commonly used. However, the use of aspirin in individuals under 19 is not considered safe due to certain harmful effects.
  • Migraine headaches: The medicinal treatment of migraine headaches can be done by using a class of drug called triptans. Commonly used drugs from this class include sumatriptan and zolmitriptan. Moreover, aspirin, naproxen, and mefenamic acid are also commonly used for migraine headaches.

The goal of migraine treatment is to alleviate symptoms while still avoiding further attacks. If you know what causes the migraines, managing them and learning how to treat them will help you stop or minimize the pain. The following treatments options can also be used:

Avoiding certain medicines like topiramate, metoprolol, amitriptyline, and propranolol.

  • Taking small amounts of caffeine.
  • Rest in a quiet and darkroom.
  • Cold and hot compress to neck and head.

 

References

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9639-headaches
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/top-7-reasons-you-have-a-headache
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7860153/
  4. https://www.cmaj.ca/content/164/10/1481.2
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24941316/#:~:text=Migraine%20prevalence%20was%20highest%20among,%25)%20and%20Ontario%20(8.8%25)
  6. https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/migraines-headaches-basics#:~:text=Most%20people%20don’t%20need,when%20you%20had%20a%20headache.
  7. https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/making-diagnosis-doctors-exam
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324890#migraine
  9. https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/understanding-headache-treatment-medref
  10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-daily-headaches/in-depth/headaches/art-20047375
Written by:
Dr. Preety Somal, Chiropractor
Preety works at The Health First Group’s Milton and Mississauga Millcreek Chiropractic Clinic

Our Locations:

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2021-04-15T03:03:02+00:00