Last week we covered a very important and severely painful form of primary headache – Migraine. It turns out that it is not necessary that all migraines deliver a headache. With Covid cases rising, so will the incidence of one of its primary symptoms – including an acute lasting headache.
Be it just a mild throb or a feeling of the skull about to explode, headaches are not pleasant. It’s also hard to put a finger on the cause of it. Let’s start by examining what is a headache. There are many different types of headaches, which as I had explained, experts have classified into two main groups, primary and secondary.
Primary headaches refer to independent conditions that cause pain in the head, face, or neck. Examples of primary headaches include migraines and tension headaches. Secondary headaches occur as the result of another medical condition, such as an infection, stress, or medication overuse.
Tension type headaches affects around 42 per cent adults worldwide. They feel like a band of intense pressure around the head. Several factors can cause tension-type headaches. These can include: Clenching the jaw, hunger, depression or anxiety, lack of sleep, sleep apnea, arthritis, bending or straining the neck, poor posture and stress
Cluster headaches cause severe pain on one side of the head, often behind the eye. These headaches come in clusters, meaning multiple headaches occur around the same time every day for several weeks. Cluster headaches occur in cycles of recurring headaches followed by periods without headaches usually lasting 6 to 12 weeks. Cluster headaches tend to affect males more often than females. Symptoms of cluster headaches include: Severe pain on one side of the head, pain behind the eye, red, watery eyes, sweating, congestion, restlessness or agitation and changes in heart rate.
Hemicrania are persistent headaches that fluctuate in severity. These headaches usually affect the same side of the head. People can have daily, or chronic, hemicranias headaches. Other people might experience periods of recurring headaches followed by headache-free periods. Other symptoms of hemicranial headaches include: Nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, watery eyes, redness or irritation of the eyes, sweating, congestion and swollen eyelids.
Illnesses and chronic medical conditions that affect the nervous system can cause secondary headaches. Causes of secondary headaches include: Sleep disorders, brain tumors, strokes, withdrawal from medications or drugs, head trauma, inflammation, seizures, leaking spinal fluid, physical deformations of the head, neck, or spine.
While doctors prescribe over the counter or restricted medication, here are a few complementary methods of reducing the pain if not curing it altogether, and the best part – you don’t have to bother trying to figure if the ache is due to a migraine.
Should you experience a frontal lobe headache - which feels like something is pressing on both sides of your head, with mild to moderate pain.
● Pressure points for Frontal headache: Li 4, St 44, GV 23, St 8 ↓ all
Some people describe a frontal headache like a vise or belt tightening around your head. Sometimes the pain can be more severe. Some areas of your body may feel tender, such as your scalp, head, and shoulder muscles. A frontal lobe headache doesn’t cause nausea and other symptoms of migraine headaches. It is also not affected by: Physical activity, noise, light and odor.
Pressure in your temples can result from tense muscles caused by stress, training your eyes, clenching your teeth. For such cases:
Nummular headache (coin-shaped cephalgia) has an unusual distinct feature: It is characterized by mild-to-moderate pressure-like pain exclusively felt in a rounded or elliptical area typically 2-6 cm in diameter. Although any region of the head may be affected, the parietal area is the common localization of nummular headache.
The pain remains confined to the same symptomatic area which does not change in shape or size with time. The pain is continuous but lancinating exacerbations lasting for several seconds or gradually increasing from 10 minutes to 2 hours may superimpose the baseline pain. The temporal pattern is either chronic or remitting. Pseudo Remissions may be observed when the pain reaches a very low grade or only discomfort (not pain) in the affected area is reported.
At times, discomfort may prevail. Either during asymptomatic periods or interracially, the affected area may show a variable combination of hypoesthesia, synesthesia, parenthesis or tenderness. Physical and supplementary examinations are normal. Nummular headache emerges as a primary clear-cut clinical picture. The particular topography and signs of sensory dysfunction make it reasonable to vent the idea that nummular headache is an extra cranial headache, probably stemming from epi cranial tissues such as terminal branches of sensitive nerves.
Nummular headache may seem to be the paradigm of ep cranius (group of headaches and per cranial neuralgias stemming from epi cranial tissues). Nummular headache must be distinguished from head pain secondary to local processes and from tender points of more extensive headaches. Although nummular headache may frequently coexist with other primary headaches, it has an independent course. Treatment is seldom necessary and in most cases simple reassurance is sufficient.
● Pressure points for Temporal Headache: Tw 5, GB 41, 8, ↓ all
● Pressure points for Parietal Headache: Si 3, UB 67, Liv 3 GV 20 ↓ all
Occipital neuralgia results from irritation or injury to the occipital nerves. There are three occipital nerves — the greater, the lesser, and the third — present in the second and third vertebrae of the neck. The nerves run from the spine to the scalp, up each side of the head. Sensitivity can develop anywhere along this route.
● Pressure points for Occipital Headache: Si 3, UB 62, 20, GV 19 ↓ all
A diet that reduces carbohydrates may cause frequent headaches as it decreases the body’s store of glycogen – a main source of energy for the brain. This way, the body loses liquid and gets dehydrated, resulting in headaches. Rice, whole wheat, fruits or yogurt can replenish the same and improve mood as it enables release of serotonin.
This may sound weird, but spicy foods like spicy salsa or hot peppers can help you get rid of that headache that much faster. The question is, what caused the pain? These foods are great at solving pain related to your sinuses. The spicy foods will open the airways, which will alleviate the headache.
Our body can warn us that it needs calcium when we get a headache and fast throb. Satisfy it with yogurt and other calcium rich foods. The tiny sesame seed is packed with vitamin E, which may help stabilize estrogen level in women and prevent migraine. It may also help blood circulation. Spinach has been proven to reduce blood pressure and deal with hangovers. So, if your head is throbbing, consider a big spinach salad. Pressure points for other types of headaches are:
● Supraorbital Headache: UB 2, 57, Li 4, GB 20, Tw 23 ↓ all
● Unilateral from temples to top: Tw 5, GB 7, 8, 21, St 8 ↓ all
● Headache affecting top of head: GV 20, Si 3, UB 7, 67, K 1, ↓ all
Headaches can start right away or months after an injury. They might be at the site of the blow or all over your skull and may get worse when you're stressed. The cause isn't always clear, but sometimes too much blood builds up in one spot. This is called a hematoma. In serious cases, you may feel weak, confused, nauseous, and forgetful. See a doctor if you have any of these symptoms or if you have a headache after hitting your head.
In rare cases, a headache might be a sign of something more serious. It could be a condition that develops slowly, such as a brain tumor. Or it could be a medical emergency, like a stroke. Call Ambulance if the pain is sudden and severe or you notice any of these symptoms along with it: Numbness or weakness on one side of your face or body, garbled speech or confusion, trouble seeing, dizziness, loss of balance etc.
(The Free Press Journal along with the Lions Club of Mumbai ACTION would like to guide people on how to treat self through non-invasive, therapies like Sujok, Ayurvedic Acupressure and Mudra Yoga. This is complementary and will not override the treatment given by doctor. Please share your problems by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com. You can also share the problem on WhatsApp at 9323178565.)