Headache is a very common condition and most of us at various points in our lives have definitely experienced headache. For appropriate headache treatment, the doctor needs to confirm the type of the headache a person is suffering with.
Video talk on the topic “Headache, some of its causes, and Treatment”.
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Dr. Umalakshmi Damodar,
Keyhole Clinic, Edappally, Kochi
Migraine is a primary headache disorder and this is the most common form of headache. There are small blood vessels in the brain. Due to a variety of reasons, there can be increase in blood flow through these blood vessels to certain areas of the brain, which causes migraine headache. Pain associated with migraine head can be a throbbing pain.
Symptoms of Migraine
Symptoms associated with migraine can include nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, noise or odors, flashes or light or blind spots, sweating.
Trigger Factors for Migraine
Different people can have different trigger factors. Some trigger factors include:
- Stress: Most common trigger factor is stress or anxiety or tension.
- Not having food at proper times.
- People who are not accustomed to have certain food, when they have that food. For example, people who are not accustomed to have Chinese food, when they have Chinese food, the Ajinomoto in the food can cause headache in some individuals. Some people gets headache if they have chocolates.
- Going out in the sun after applying oil on the hair can cause headaches in some individuals.
Migraines can appear on both sides of the head near the eyebrows or on one side, and comes as a throbbing type pain. As mentioned earlier, it can be associated with vomiting, sensitivity to light, noise or odor, sweating, irritation, etc.
Migraine Headache Treatment
Diagnosis is a diagnosis of exclusion. That is, the doctor first confirms that the headache is not a symptom of any other condition. If all other causes of headache are ruled out, the treating doctor confirms that the headache is migraine headache.
Patients should visit an ENT Specialist and take the appropriate treatment for the headache because, though for some people the headaches resolve with a pain killer, for many the headache can be prolonged. Taking painkillers for headaches can become a habit in such patients. Also, sometimes over-the-counter medications available at the counter can be dangerous or poisonous. It is advisable to take medications under medical supervision.
These are some points to remember regarding migraines.Read More on Migraine Headache
Another common cause of headache is sinusitis. Sinuses are hollow spaces within the bones between the eyes, behind the cheekbones and in the forehead. They are ethmoidal sinuses, maxillary sinuses, sphenoidal sinuses, frontal sinuses. These are air filled and serves a few purposes. One purpose is they give resonance to the voice and thus help produce sound. Second purpose is to make the skull lighter.
Sinusitis means inflammation of the sinus (itis means inflammation). If it is an infection of the sinus, it can be treated with anti-bacterial medicines and pain killers.
There are a few investigations to diagnosis sinusitis. An x-ray of the sinus can be taken. Another OPD procedure performed to diagnose sinusitis is Diagnostic Nasal Endoscopy to find exactly where the sinusitis is.
Symptoms of sinusitis include nasal inflammation, discolored discharge from the nose, headache especially on the front side, facial pain, postnasal drainage or drainage down the back of the throat. This is because the sinus opens into the nose.
Sinuses can be treated with sinus drops, anti-allergic medications, antibiotics after consultation with a doctor, anti-inflammatory medications.
Vision problems, pressure in the eyes are common causes of headache and can be corrected by following the instructions of an ophthalmologist.
Lifestyle diseases are very common. Most of us are tensed these days. There is increased use of mobile phones, laptops etc.
One of the most common lifestyle disease is hypertension. Hypertension mostly presents itself as headache, dizziness or fatigue. When we rely on painkillers for the headache, we could often ignore the fact that the headache could actually be a symptom of hypertension. It is important to treat hypertension, and it can be effectively treated with lifestyle changes, yoga, medicines, etc.
Red Flag signs of headache
All the above mentioned headaches are benign in nature. But there are some headaches which we should be concerned about. For example headache accompanied by loss of sight, loss of consciousness, seizures, paralysis on one side of the body, etc. The underlying condition for these kinds of symptoms could be brain tumors, meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscesses etc. The meninges are membrane layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Some people can be affected by infection of the meninges. Symptoms can include fever, headaches, etc. Admission may be required in these cases.