A Headache can be a serious disruption to an otherwise pleasant day. Thankfully, if you suffer from one of the more common types of headaches, finding relief isn’t impossible.
If you want to find out more about the causes of headaches and some of the ways you may be able to address them, keep reading!
Types of Headaches
When talking about headaches, it is important to understand that they are not all the same. The intensity, location, and frequency can reveal what type of headache you have and whether it is something you can handle without consulting a doctor.
Headaches fall into two primary categories, but can also overlap. There are “primary headaches” and “secondary headaches.” If symptoms or causes overlap, they are known as “mixed headaches.”
A primary headache occurs when there is no underlying disease or other medical problem. In general, these headaches aren’t considered threatening to your life.
The primary cause of the headache is usually due to inflammation or a disruption around nerves, blood vessels, or the muscles around the neck or head. They can also be the result of the following:
- Alcohol consumption (especially red wine as a result of high tannin content)
- Processed foods containing nitrates
- Changes in sleep quality
- Poor posture
- Missed meals
- And more
These types of headaches may be diagnosed as one of the following:
- Migraine headache
- Tension headache
- Hypnic headache
- Cluster headache
Secondary headaches are more rare and can be the result of a life threatening condition, such as a brain tumor, aneurysm, neck or brain injury, or meningitis. However, they can also be the result of a sinus infection, allergies, and alcohol consumption.
For example, a tension headache may become severe enough that it is confused for a migraine, so treatment for the migraine begins but doesn’t solve the underlying issue. Likewise, a frequent migraine may feel like a tension headache and treatment for the cause of the tension is sought. If it sounds confusing, it is. Both doctors and patients may become increasingly frustrated by mixed headaches.
Natural Ways to Deal With Headaches
- Get more sleep.
- Keep a regular meal schedule.
- Stay hydrated and drink 16 ounces of water when you feel the onset of a headache.
- Learn to manage stress.
- Get your caffeine fix with a cup of coffee or tea if you’re addicted, but learn how to wean yourself onto less caffeinated alternatives.
- Put an ice pack or hot pack on the neck or shoulder area.
- Get a massage.
- Avoid too much light from the sun, computers, or similar devices; glasses that block blue light from these devices may help.
- Avoid aged cheeses, alcohol, chocolate, and citrus, because they contain compounds that may affect the nerve or blood vessels in the brain.
- Close your eyes and rest.
- Massage your neck and temples.
- Book an appointment with an acupuncturist.
- Try a B vitamin supplement to support blood and nerve health.
- Try a magnesium supplement to help with a mineral deficiency that may be contributing to head pain.
- Consider a peppermint or rosemary essential oil to help soothe the body and mind.
- Use a homeopathic formula from Boiron designed specifically for headaches.
- Try Head Soother, a tincture formula from Herb Pharm, which may provide temporary relief from occasional head pain.
- Take Feverfew 120 Mg from Vital Nutrients, which is a formula that works to support the lining of blood vessels so they can expand and contract normally.
With a combination of one or more of the above suggestions, you may be able to find the relief that you want when headaches occur.
Warning About Headaches
- Sudden headache that feels like you were struck by something (with or without a stiff neck.)
- A headache following a physical hit to the head.
- A headache with a fever.
- Confusion or loss of consciousness.
- Headache with eye or ear pain.
- Persistent or severe headache when you have no history of headaches.
- Headache that interferes with normal routines.
Children with these symptoms may be at increased risk of an underlying medical condition and should see a doctor immediately, especially if the headache occurs at night or in the morning.
Headaches are never pleasant, but you may be able to do with more by trying one or more of the above suggestions and see if they make a difference in your life.