Common Causes Of Headaches
The best way to get rid of a headache quickly may depend on whats causing it and what type of headache it is. A primary headache is caused by overactivity or problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common types of primary headaches include migraine attacks and tension headaches.
A less common type of primary headache is a cluster headache, which comes on suddenly, almost always affects only one side of the head, and is accompanied by a runny nose and tearing eye on the same side of the head as the headache. The pain of a cluster headache is severe and lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours, when untreated. For most people, cluster headaches occur in a series, or in clusters, lasting weeks or months, separated by remission periods of months or years.
A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can trigger pain-sensitive nerves in the head. There are many conditions that can cause a secondary headache, from a sinus infection to a brain aneurysm to hangovers to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
While a hangover or a headache caused by a sinus infection or by COVID-19 may respond to the same pain-relieving treatments as a tension headache, a brain aneurysm, or other severe headaches associated with neurologic changes such as weakness or loss of consciousness, for example, are medical emergencies that you shouldnt attempt to treat on your own.
Secret #: Get Rid Of Your Exertion Headache
Exertion headaches are a real bummer. You just finish doing something great and before you can admire your accomplishment, your head is pounding. While these arent as well known as migraines, they can be every bit as painful. Some of the best tips for stopping an exertion headache include:
- Cooling down. An exertion headache is your bodys way of saying that you have overextended yourself. Try drinking some cool water and taking a break for 20-30 minutes.
- Avoid Triggers. Take note when you get these headaches and see if you can find a trigger. Some people discover that they are dehydrated, or they occur on days when they didnt sleep well the night before.
- See Your Chiropractor. If you get these headaches when you are exercising, it might be due to incorrect posture. Lifting heavy weights or running with your head too far forward or back will limit the blood flow and cause muscle tension. Your chiropractor can help to adjust your spine and neck, as well as suggest improvements to your form as you work out.
If you still cannot find the source of your exertion headache, speak with your doctor or chiropractor about other possibilities.
Headache Because Of Eye Strain
The advancement of technology though baneful has led to an increase in the occurrences of headaches. Constantly gazing and gawking at the screen for a long time harms your eyes, which in turn triggers headaches. No one can deny the importance of technology, but at the same time, people can also not disregard the fact that it is the same technology that has upset the lifestyle of people. Therefore finding solutions to the burning question of how to get rid of headaches becomes even more pertinent.
When a persons eyes work too hard, this causes headaches. Now one might ask how this is even possible. This happens because when eyes do not get enough rest, the muscles present in the eyes contract too much. This prolonged period of contractions leads to a type of headache, which is often called the eye strain headache. There are various ways through which a person can get rid of headaches caused by eye strain.
One should follow the 20-20-20 rule. This rule suggests that a person if possible should look at something from a distance of 20 feet away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes. This is one of the easiest rules to follow, and following this rule regularly would help people get rid of headaches.
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How To Get Rid Of Migraines
Once a migraine has started, there are ways to ease the pain:
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen , acetaminophen , or aspirin. These work best if you take them at the first sign of a migraine.
- Use doctor-prescribed medications that block pain pathways in the brain or cause blood vessels to constrict, easing inflammation. These can include pills, nasal sprays or shots.
- Go to a darkened, quiet room and try to relax or sleep
- Apply cold or heat to your head and neck. Ice can numb the pain somewhat, while heat can relax tense muscles that may make your headache worse.
- Drink something with caffeine. Yes, caffeine can trigger a migraine. But once the headache has started, a small amount of caffeine may help reduce pain.
If youve experienced migraines, you know how much they can affect your quality of life. But there are many ways to prevent and treat this common condition. A virtual visit with your primary care provider can help you explore your options.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of The Menstrual Migraine Patient
Conflict of Interest: Susan L. Hutchinson, MD has received honoraria from GlaxoSmithKline and Ortho-McNeil and is on the advisory board of GlaxoSmithKline. Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, has received research grant support from Abbott Laboratories, Advanced Bionics Corporation, Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc., AGA, Allergan Inc., AstraZeneca, Endo Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Company, Medtronic, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Ortho-McNeil, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Pozen Inc., ProEthic, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, and Vernalis plc is on the Speaker’s Bureau for AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Inc., Ortho-McNeil, Inc., and Pfizer Inc. and is an Advisory Board Member for Allergan Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Medtronic, Inc, Merck & Co., Inc., Ortho-McNeil, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Pozen Inc.,and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
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Prescription Drugs For Quick Migraine Relief
Headaches caused by migraine frequently occur along with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many people experience a migraine attack as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Treating migraine symptoms right away can shorten the attack.
The types of medications that can alleviate symptoms once a migraine attack has started are known as acute, abortive, or rescue medications. These include OTC pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, prescription medications called triptans, and a new class of drugs called CGRP receptor antagonists.
Triptans Triptans are selective-serotonin receptor agonists, which means that they are believed to stimulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the brain, to reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels, which in turn stops the headache or migraine attack, according to the National Headache Foundation.
There are currently seven triptan drugs available in the United States: Axert , Relpax , Frova , Amerge , Maxalt , Imitrex , and Zomig . All are available in pill form two, Imitrex and Zomig, come as a nasal spray and one, Imitrex are sold in an injectable form.
Other Acute Migraine Treatments Other medications that may be used for acute treatment of migraine include:
Write Numbers With Your Nose
Lynne Robinson says: This simple pilates exercise can help mobilise the neck and ease some of the more common types of headache, such as those caused by tension.
Lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and parallel. Take a few breaths into the back and sides of your ribcage.
Now imagine an upright figure eight and draw the shape with your nose. Repeat three times, then change direction.
Then imagine the figure eight on its side. Trace again with your nose three times before changing direction. Finish with a gentle chin tuck, drawing your chin down and lengthening the back of your neck. Keep your head in contact with mat.
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Triptans Can Play A Preventive Role
But there are certain types of triptans that are longer acting, which can make them useful in helping to prevent a migraine attack or make it less severe, says Hindiyeh.
Your shorter-acting triptans such as Imitrex and Maxalt typically have a half-life of about four hours, she explains. The half-life of a drug is the length of time required for the concentration of that drug to decrease to half its starting dose in the body, according to StatPearls.
There are also triptans that have a longer half-life. For example, Frova has a half-life of 26 hours, and Amerge has a half-life of 6 to 8 hours. These longer-acting ones can often be used as a mini-prophylaxis right around your period, she says.
If you know your period is a big trigger for a migraine attack, you can start taking one of those longer-acting triptans a couple days before your period on a schedule, either every day or twice a day for a few days in row, depending on the medication. This can help prevent the migraine attack from getting so bad, says Hindiyeh.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Period Headache
Doctors say that you don’t need to suffer from menstrual migraines since there are treatments available. Unfortunately, there is no cure for migraines. The strategy is to treat symptoms right away when they happen and then do what you can to prevent symptoms right before your period and throughout the month.
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Prescription Painkillers For Frequent Tension Headaches
For those people who have frequent or recurring tension headaches, doctors sometimes recommend prescription-strength doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Indocin , an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin‘s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation as a side effect,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can also harm kidney function if taken at high doses or chronically.
Does This Feel Like Your Typical Headache Or
They may present a little differently than a typical headache or migraine. Menstrual headaches can range from mild to severe when it comes to pain, says Dr. Talebian, and they tend to start on one side of your head before spreading .
Classic migraine symptoms could strike, too for instance, you might feel super-sensitive to light and sick to your stomach.
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Hormonal Migraines And Life Stage
When and whether you get hormonal migraines can also depend on your life stage. Menstrual migraines happen because of estrogen levels when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, estrogen levels also change significantly. Researchers have found that most women who have a history of menstrual migraines see a significant improvement during pregnancy. When it comes to menopause, some women may find migraine attacks getting worse when leading up to menopause.
Consider What Caused It
If you can determine the cause of your migraine, you may be able to take additional steps to find relief. For instance, are you getting a migraine because you havent had enough to eat today? Some migraines can be triggered by a lack of food, which can cause . If you think your headache is triggered by hunger, eat something thats easy on the stomach such as saltine crackers. This, in combination with your medications, may give you additional relief. The National Headache Foundation says some people may crave carbohydrates just before a migraine hits. If this is the case, listen to your body and have a snack.
Dehydration can cause headaches too, and may make your migraine worse. If you havent had enough fluids today, get a drink of water. Sip slowly to avoid triggering nausea or vomiting.
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Increasing Your Intake Of Certain Vitamins And Minerals Could Help You Get Rid Of Headaches
Scientists don’t exactly know why but nutritional deficiencies including low levels of vitamin D and other essential nutrients have been found to be a trigger for headaches in a number of different individuals .
One of the minerals most often linked to headaches is magnesium. According to WebMD, magnesium to keep blood pressure and blood sugar in check and muscles and nerves working properly. However, according to the site, “People with migraines have lower levels of magnesium than the rest of us.” In a review of more than 200 studies published in Headache, Swiss researchers concluded that for those who experience migraines regularly, taking 600 milligrams of magnesium daily may help to reduce headache frequency.
A vitamin that is also often linked to headache prevention is riboflavin, or vitamin B2. MedlinePlus explained, “Taking high-dose riboflavin by mouth seems to reduce the number of migraine headache attacks, by about 2 attacks per month.” The site added that pairing riboflavin with other vitamins and minerals has also been shown to help reduce pain levels experienced during a headache.
When Natural Is Not Enough
There are medications you can take to help alleviate headache pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, triptans, beta blockers and others. I recommend using medication only if you arent able to relieve symptoms through the methods listed above. Remember, ibuprofen can poke holes in your gut and cause many gastrointestinal issues, and nearly all prescriptions have their side effects. I find regular fish oil works better than ibuprofen.
And while the occasional headache is normal, hormonal-related headaches certainly dont have to be part of your everyday life or monthly cycle. Prevention is the best strategy, and in the long run it will cost you less than the painkillers currently taking up space in your medicine cabinet.
How do you deal with headaches? Do you have any no-fail tips? Share them with me in the comments below.
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Daily Magnesium Has A Preventive Effect
I really like magnesium as a natural supplement to take every day to help prevent menstrual migraine, says Hindiyeh. There is evidence to support using magnesium, though the mechanism of action, or the why behind how it improves migraine, is not totally understood, she says. It could be stabilizing cells or decreasing hyperexcitability or neuronal firing, but thats all theoretical at this point, she adds.
You can learn more about the various types of magnesium supplements on the website Migraine Again, and remember that its always a good idea to talk with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or are interested in taking.