Why Do We Get Headaches? Get Rid Of Them!

Graziella

Headaches can seemingly come out of no where or gradually build up. What caused this pain and how can you get rid of it quickly?

Everyone has dealt with one of these suckers at one time or another. For some, it’s actually a long term problem that has to be dealt with on a regular basis. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 people have chronic headaches which makes life a little bit more difficult and even lowers work productivity since it’s hard to focus when it feels like someone is hammering inside of your head.

Contrary to what most people might think, it’s not actually your brain that hurts. You don’t have nerves or pain sensors in your brain. Instead your feeling the pain picked up elsewhere such as from nerves and muscles around the head or neck.

Primary and Secondary Headaches

There are actually two types of broad categories that doctors classify headaches into. Primary headaches which are non relevant to a preexisting or underlying health condition and secondary headaches which are affiliated with various medical conditions such as head injuries, fevers, infections, dental conditions, tumors and pressure in the skull or sinuses.

There are three main causes for primary headaches:

  • Migraine – Migraine headaches can be brought on by lower blood flow to various spots of the cerebral cortex. If you get one of these, the pulsating pain can last anywhere between 2 to 72 hours! It is believed that migraines are due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Around 66% of cases seem to run in the family. Symptoms of migraines include nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, vomiting and an intense throbbing pain usually found on only one side of the head. They will also tend to become aggravated with physical activity.
  • Tension – Tension headaches are caused by muscle strain in the head and neck or even emotional stress. Tension headaches are usually steady aching pains on both sides of the head compared to migraines which almost always on one side. Sometimes tension headaches can develop into a throbbing pain which makes researchers think that migraines are closely connected. Poor vision or eye strain can trigger frequent tension headaches.
  • Cluster – Cluster headaches are headaches that occur repeatedly over an extended period of time such as weeks or even months. Cluster headache pain usually occurs on one side of the head like migraines but is more focused and centered around the eye. The causes of cluster headaches are unknown but may be related to changes in blood flow because substances that affect blood flow, such as alcohol, can trigger cluster headaches.

Too much blood flow can also cause primary headaches. For example, if you’ve read How Does Caffeine Work, you know that caffeine reduces blood flow in the brain. Some pain relievers contain caffeine to take advantage of this effect. If you’ve been taking caffeine every day and you suddenly stop, you very well might be getting a visit from an incredible headache because of the increased blood flow in your brain and sudden change in your routine.

Secondary headaches result from some other problem with your body

If you’re sick with the flu or have a particular health condition, it can bring on headaches which would then be classified as secondary. Once you eliminate the condition, you eliminate the secondary headaches.
Most headache pain can be treated with over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If you experience chronic or frequent headache pain, see your physician as it may be caused by a underlying health problem.

man headache

How to get rid of a headache

1. The most well known cure- take some pain killers. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, and aspirin are some pain relievers that will give you a quick fix to an aching head. Usually it takes about 30 minutes for the pills to kick in, but it’ll save you the pain in the long run. Just make sure you don’t give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19, especially children. Also aspirin sometimes produces a deadly syndrome called Reye syndrome, so if you are worried about it try an alternative.

2. Make sure you drink your water! A headache can come on from dehydration. Dehydration can occur from simply being out in the sun too long or even vomiting. Also beverages like coffees, alcohols, and sodas-even though they are in liquid form-can dehydrate you as well. So just making sure you sip on a glass of water several times throughout the day  to avoid the dehydration headache. If the ache has already started, chug a tall glass and in no time you will start to feel better.

3. Lay down and tune out. What you may have heard for migranes helps headaches as well. Closing the blinds and getting yourself in a dark quiet environment to rest (try at least 30 minutes) can mellow out your head ache.

4. Soak a wash cloth with cold water and place it over your forehead. This might help the pain by constricting blood vessels, especially if you ache is coming from your sinus or temple area. As soon as the cloth starts to feel warm just wet it again. You can also try putting the wet cloth in a plastic bag and freeze it for a long lasting compress.

5. Everybody loves a massage, and in this case it could possibly relieve your headache. Start by gently massaging in circular motions near your temple and work outwards. It helps by relieving tension and improving circulation to hopefully relieve the pain. Another easy way to get this done and taking a little extra time massaging your scalp while shampooing in the shower. If you have someone else that can massage for you bribe them into doing it, it always feels better and more relaxing when someone else takes over.

Having the touch of someone else can definitely relieve a lot of tension. By getting someone to massage the back of your neck, bridge of nose and acupressure point on each hand where the thumb and index finger bones meet these can all relieve headaches depending where they are originating from. Another relief for sinus headaches can be done by putting two racket balls in a sock and lay on them at the back of your skull. It might hurt a bit at first but this pain should go away and start relieving the headache.

6. Have some fun in the bedroom! Sex releases oxytocin which then boosts endorphins in your body. Endorphins are a natural pain killer that’ll help out with that aching head of yours.

7. Do you have an activity or hobby that puts you in your comfort zone? Try doing some relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or whatever you like best. It might distract you long enough for the pain to go away.

headache

 

I’ve always found the biggest cause of headaches for me was from dehydration to the brain so unless you’re getting them from an underlying medical condition, it’s a great idea to try and prevent a headache by drinking regular amounts of water!

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Comments

  1. Interesting post. I ended up with a complete blinder this afternoon thanks to the changing weather conditions. Who needs a weather barometer? Not a lot I could do for it other than lie down, take paracetamol and drink water! Nuisance!

  2. wow, sex as a cure for a headache. Who knew? Great article…….

  3. Oh my goodness :) I read through a couple of your posts and I think the information you post is great for a recovering bulimic like myself. Thanks for being great, and keep doing what you’re doing.

    I also like the fact that you have a reddit share button

  4. And if all else fails, try Traditional Chinese Medicine. I had a tea with fish scales, bugs, twigs, and something that looked like pussy willows. I was headache free for a few years and although they returned they weren’t quite as bad.

  5. Great post!!

  6. You could also try going to the toilet for a number 2. This is helpful to alleviate a headache as you are expelling toxins from your body. :)
    Tip number 8 maybe?

  7. I get migraines and ice-pick headaches. Whilst I can do nothing about the ice-pick headaches as they are done and dusted in a few seconds, once I get the scintillating scotoma that precedes the migraine I take feverfew – fresh leaves. SS is gone in about 90 seconds to two minutes and the migraine headache never materialises. Works for me!!

  8. This is a very informative post! It would really help a lot of people.

  9. I am a great advocate of mental health days – having taken a few in the past week. I’d rather take one day off than proceed to force my body to continue when obviously my immune system is coping with enough. Glad you make a point of good hydration. I was always told that is the key to most headaches.

  10. I get a nasty dehydration headache , usually about 2 hours after the gym… great info here !!

  11. Very informative. Great post, answered a lot of my questions.
    -DesignGute

  12. Nice post. Very comprehensive. Sleep problems cause headaches all the time; I see this all the time in my sleep medicine clinic. I’ll continue to read your posts; thanx for what you provide for the community! Cheers, Morris

  13. It’s good to know! :)

  14. very informative article definitely it deserves a like….

  15. Great article! My girlfriend gets headaches all the time, who knew number 6 could cure them! ;)

  16. Thanks for coming by my blog. I used to suffer terribly from headaches but find that paracetamol and sleep help to get rid of them.

  17. I used to put tiger balm on my forehead. Interesting remedies. No:6. And all this time, women been saying: “Not tonight, I have a headache.” Did you know it was a woman invented aspirin?

  18. This is for me! :) always have migraines, killin’ me each time :( good info!

  19. I used to get migraines until I got pregnant and had my daughter. I haven’t had a migraine in the 20 years since she was born. Not the most efficient way to cure a headache, I must say!

  20. I like this post & the title of your blog! :)

  21. good post!

  22. Good information here. Thanks for the post.

  23. What I most appreciate about your post is the attn you give to proper hydration as a way to alleviate headaches. As a former nutrition teacher I found hydration to be the cheapest, most effective cure…and yet many folks could not abide by it. Thx for your accurate and informative post.

  24. WOW and here all this time women have used the excuse of a headache; NOT to have sex. By the way I’m not one of those women. Lol, lol But its great to know that its an actual cure for a headache..I don’t get headaches often at all & when I do I know its caused by stress..but enjoyed reading the alternatives to Tylenol. Thanks for sharing

  25. Quite informative. Thanks

  26. Great post…..I’ve had migraines in the past and realised that they were never caused by just one thing but a combination of different things; dehydration, (often from too much coffee although this is said to help migraines (not mine!) poor lighting, stress, exposure to cold or drafts on the head, muscular tension etc. Knowing this I have been able to avoid them completely. The same goes for general headaches….we just need to know our own bodies and what impact different elements have on them. Yoga helps tremendously in this too as it releases the tension which can cause pain and helps us be more aware.

  27. I am very impressed by your coverage of the (not-uncommon) headache. You might also want to include use of one or more of the CPTG Essential Oils as a rapid-response to most tension or environmental headaches. Lavender or Peppermint, either neat or in a 50/50 blend applied to the forehead, temples, and across the back of the neck at the base of the skull have proven effective in 95% of the cases I’ve run into.

    Don Werve

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