Ways to Deal with Those Nagging Headaches

Most people don’t know that more than 1 billion people suffer from headaches each year. Headaches can last from minutes to months at a time and vary from simple discomfort to debilitating pain, preventing even ordinary activities. There are numerous kinds of headaches, each with specific characteristics and levels of severity — from harmless to life-threatening.

Migraines are one of the most common and leading causes of lost days of work. These severe headaches affect women more than men and most commonly between the ages of 25 to 55. They tend to run in families and childhood migraines are a predictor of chronic migraines as an adult. Often, migraines accompany symptoms such as: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tingling or numbness in the face or body, visual disturbances or increased sensitivity to light, touch, sound or smell.

Various headaches can mimic migraines but the cause and patterns differ (tension, cluster, tension headache or whiplash-related headache). Of the hundreds of types of headaches each has a different presentation and often a combination of triggers.

What causes headaches?
Surprising to many, the brain has no pain receptors, therefore the headache pain is not coming from the brain, but from the skin, muscles, sinuses, blood vessels and other connective tissues surrounding the brain. When irritated or inflamed, one’s head will ache. The most common causes include: stress, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, toxicities and dehydration.

Treatment
Often doctors will conventionaly prescribe medication and rest. While they may provide some relief, often there are side-effects and they never address the root cause. If headaches occur with any regularity or severity it is important to work with a skilled doctor who can identify the root cause. Sometimes lab testing is necessary to identify personal triggers so a personalized plan can be established to keep headaches at bay permanently.