Headache - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

· 2 min read
Headache - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

If you suffer from a constant or intermittent headache, there are several treatments and preventative measures you can take to relieve the pain. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this common ailment. We will also discuss some lifestyle changes that can cause headaches and how to prevent them.

Symptoms

When a headache begins suddenly and becomes severe, it may signify something more serious. It could be the result of an abscess or infection in the brain, or it could be due to a swollen artery in the head, neck, or temples. These headaches are painful and can prevent a person from doing day-to-day activities. Sometimes, a headache may accompany other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or confusion.

Symptoms of headache include constant or intermittent pain, throbbing, or a squeezing sensation in the forehead, temples, or back of the head. Severe cases can radiate to the neck and shoulders. Fortunately, most headaches are not life-threatening, but they can be debilitating.

Causes

The causes of headaches are many and varied. However, the history and physical examination are often sufficient for the diagnosis. The doctor may also ask about the patient's medical history and perform tests to determine the underlying cause of pain. For some people, certain types of headaches are accompanied by other symptoms. For example, a patient may experience neck pain or ipsilateral lacrimation. Headache may also be associated with focal neurological deficits, fever, or altered mental status.

Other possible causes of headaches include dental abscesses, post-extraction infection, and other dental problems. In addition, infections in the nose, throat, or ear can cause headaches. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, decongestants, or antihistamines. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. In some cases, natural chemicals in foods can also cause headaches. However, patients should seek a doctor if they have persistent or recurrent symptoms.

Treatments

Cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT, helps patients identify their triggers and develop strategies to prevent or treat their headaches. In addition to headache prevention, cognitive behaviour therapy can help patients cope with the stresses that cause their headaches. By addressing these concerns and learning to cope with the adverse effects of headaches, patients can reduce their headache-related disability.

For episodic tension-type headaches, simple analgesics or caffeine-containing combinations are effective. However, frequent use of these combinations can lead to rebound headaches and tolerance, as well as drug overuse and dependency. Additionally, patients should only use these treatments once or twice per week.

Prevention

There are several ways to prevent headaches. The first step is to identify your triggers and avoid them. Avoid things that worsen your headaches, such as caffeine, alcohol, or aged cheese. You can also take steps to reduce your stress. Stress can be caused by overwork, job loss, or family issues, and it can tense your muscles and cause a headache. Some relieving stress includes progressive relaxation, biofeedback, and deep breathing.

A physical exam will help your doctor rule out other possible causes of a headache, such as infection. It can also reveal changes in your blood vessels and bones. Your doctor may also perform neuroimaging tests to check for growths and cysts in the brain. An electroencephalogram can also detect conditions that may be causing your headache.