December 24: I, you or we all have sometime or other suffered from headache, may be transient in nature, which may be present today and gone tomorrow. More often we reach out for pain killers. Some people however do not respond to such pain killers. When the headache recurs they are more concerned which warrants a visit to a physician. There are headaches of various types whose cause can be traced to infections, tumors, head injuries, high blood pressure, eye strain, infections of the nose, throat and ear, and many more. Some cases may be due to Migraine or tension headache. One should not assume that his headache is due to some serious disease because in most cases, headaches are functional and not of any organic changes in the brain.
Though it may look strange, the brain itself is not sensitive to pain which means that most of the headaches are not due to any actual damage within the brain. But any stretching or pressure on the covering of the brain will certainly produce severe headache. Say for example, inflammation within the head as in meningitis will cause extreme pain in entire head, though such conditions are rare nowadays. A tumor growing within the head may cause headache.
Inflammation of para-nasal sinus caused by common cold, influenza or other infection can find way into the sinuses or chambers on each side of nasal passage. Trouble starts due to inadequate drainage due to nasal septum deviation or pressure of nasal polyp. This type of headache is called sinus headache. Even dental infection may find way to maxillary sinuses located on each side above the upper jaw and cause sinus headache. Toothache may be felt if the maxillary sinus is involved.
High Blood Pressure can also cause headache. The reason being increased pressure within the smaller arteries and other blood vessels within the brain. Controlling Blood Pressure with proper medication helps in such headaches.
Watching television over a long period, working on the computer for long hours may also cause headache. Reading for a long period straining the eye may cause headache. Due to the body’s attempt to gain clear vision, within the eye ball the small (ciliary) muscles control the shape of the lens of the eye to focus the vision on the object. This prolonged contraction of the tiny muscles cause headache. Also the muscles that move the eye may go into tension particularly if the muscles controlling one eye are not balanced with those on the other side. This imbalance may cause blurring of vision so that the head may have to be held in a certain position to focus the vision. This results in headache.
Maigraine is the common form of headache. This type of headache comes when the person is under intense nervous strain. Sometimes this headache precedes flashes of light at the sides of visual field (aura). Normally this is one sided headache. Sometimes this type of headache is preceded by short periods of depression, irritability, restlessness as also loss of appetite, sometime right side of the head is affected and in next episode on the left side. In some cases nausea or vomiting may be felt and they want to be left alone and in dark room. They tuck their heads on the pillow. It is also thought that the headaches arise from reflex spasm or tension in one of the arteries leading to the brain. Reduced mental strain, meditation, relaxation and sleep help in preventing this type of headache.
Tension Headache is also similar to Migraine but it is said that the location of the headache may be somewhat different. Prolonged tension seems to produce spasm in the back of the neck. The pain is felt in the back of the neck as also over the top and front of the head. Such people should try to avoid emotional stress and have sufficient rest.
Headache sometimes is due to chronic constipation. It is believed that the toxic products are absorbed from the colon (large intestine) by the circulating blood. One has to take sufficient quantity of water and provide enough of roughage and fiber in the diet to allow stool to pass freely daily.
People are also known to suffer from alcoholic headache. After taking large quantities of alcohol, due to toxic effect on the tissues, the coverings of the brain get irritated resulting in headache. Alcohol dilates the arteries in the brain. This type of headache is also associated with vomiting. Better to stop overindulgence in alcohol.
Exposure to sun can also bring severe headache. Protect your head from the heat of the sun and avoid going out if avoidable when the sun is over the head particularly those who suffer from sun headache.
Some women suffer from headache preceding menses. This type of headache is not uncommon. They become nervous, irritable, depressed, feeling heaviness in the breasts and get headache which may be due to increased hormonal activity. When the discharge takes place, the headache disappears.
Sometimes one suffers from pain in the side of the face and around eyes. This is actually neuralgia called Trigeminal Neuralgia. This is not headache. Trigeminal nerve is the sensory nerve of the face and head. Intense stabbing pain may appear along the branches of this nerve on the face.
Pain is one of the nature’s important warning signals letting us know that all is not well within the body. One should never be satisfied just to relieve the pain. Find out the underlying cause when the pain recurs frequently and take treatment. Homoeopathy offers very good treatment in all the above cases because it has a holistic approach to each case.