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Know your Headache

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022

Knowing what triggers your headaches can help you learn to avoid certain situations and prevent headaches from starting.  Keeping a diary of your headaches may help you. When you feel a headache start, write down the following information:

  • What day and time your headache started
  • What you had to eat and drink during the past 24 hours prior to the onset of your headache
  • How much you slept in the 24 hours prior to the onset of your headache
  • Where you were and what activity you were doing just before the onset of your headache
  • How long your headache lasted and what made it feel better if anything

Review the information you have written in your diary with your doctor. This can help you see if there is a pattern to your headaches and help identify any triggers. You and your doctor can then develop a plan for treatment. Knowing what your triggers are is the first step in eliminating them.

What is the Difference Between a Headache and a Migraine?

Determining which is which may not always be easy because the presence of both muscle tension and another vascular component can be found in both headaches and migraines. There are a lot of cases where migraines are more severe than headaches and usually accompanied by visual problems and even nausea. Headaches, on the other hand, normally respond to over-the-counter medications, unlike migraines.
You can determine a migraine by its symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of migraines:
  • nausea
  • digestive problems
  • debilitating headache
  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • visual problems
  • hallucinations
  • ringing in the ears
  • cold
  • mood changes
  • excessive sweating

What are the Different Types of Headaches?

  • Vascular Headaches. This type of a headache is the most severe and can happen in different locations. Vascular headaches often occur in the top half of the head.
  • Tension Headaches. Tension headaches happen in the area where muscles of the head and the neck meet.
  • Organic Headaches. Organic headaches often occur in young children and mostly happens due to infections in the nose, ear, sinus, brain. This type of a headache can also be due to brain tumors which less frequently happens.

What are cluster headaches?

Cluster headaches are a form of headaches which can be very painful and often affects men more than women. This form of a headache is often localized in the temple, eye, forehead, and the cheeks. Cluster headaches can cause severe pain and can last for 30 to 90 minutes.
It’s called cluster headaches due to the fact that it often happens in a sequence or series of painful episodes, usually at the same time of day, days, week, and months. Causes of cluster headaches include heavy drinking and smoking. Treatment options for cluster headaches are often for prevention, however, there are various medications which can be used for treatment such as:
  • steroids
  • opioids
  • oxygen inhalation
If you experience recurring cluster headaches, it’s best to see a doctor for treatment.

There may be changes you can make in your lifestyle that can help reduce the frequency of headaches. Try the following:

  • Try a different position to sleep or a different pillow.
  • Practice good posture habits, especially when you are working at a desk or computer, when you are reading and when lifting.
  • Change positions frequently when you are working at a computer or typing. Stretching the muscles in your shoulders, back and neck often may help prevent headaches.
  • Get more exercise that increases your heart rate. Check with your doctor to find out what type of exercise is right for you to prevent headaches from occurring.
  • See an eye doctor and have your vision tested. If you can’t see clearly, this may cause headaches.
  • Practice stress management techniques. Everyone has stress, so it’s important to know how to manage it. Relaxation breathing or meditation helps some people cope with stress and may prevent tension headaches. Here are some other ideas that might be helpful to help you ward off a headache before it starts:
    • Walk: If you feel the tension building up that’s likely to end in a headache or even worse, a migraine, take a walk. Increasing the blood flow and oxygen to your brain and creating some diversion from your problems can help to reduce muscle tension. It also helps to release the body’s natural pain-fighting endorphins.
    • Talk: Call a friend. Just the sound of a friendly voice may be able to soothe your mind and help stop those racing thoughts that lead to headache pain and muscle tension.
    • Write: Some people find journaling or writing letters to themselves helpful. Get all of your frustrations down on paper and read them back to yourself. This can help release emotions and tension in a safe way and may help to ward off a headache.

If your doctor prescribes medication for your headaches, be sure to take these exactly as instructed and tell your doctor if you notice any side effects.

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