What is good for a severe headache?
One of the most common health complaints in the society is headache. Headache, which is observed in 48.9% of the general population, affects people of all ages, races and socioeconomic sections. It is more common in women than in men. Some headaches can make people tired and negatively affect their quality of life.
Studies have shown that one out of 10 people who applied to family physicians came due to headache. In addition, 1 out of every 3 referrals to neurology is due to headache.
The International Headache Society has classified headaches into 14 main groups and hundreds of subgroups. If the headaches do not occur due to another underlying health problem and directly occur with a headache, it is called primary headache. The most common types are migraine, tension type and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are headaches that are seen at a rate of 10 percent and occur during the course of diseases such as cerebrovascular diseases, nervous system diseases, brain tumors, eye diseases, sinusitis, meningitis, depending on a certain disease.
What are the headache areas?
The most common types of headache, along with the headache areas, can be listed as follows.
Tension Headache: It usually causes pain around the head. It is caused by stress, tension and fatigue.
Migraine: Usually the pain is on one side of the head. The pain is throbbing, moderate or severe. Nausea and vomiting may occur. Headache comes in crises, ie attacks, and lasts 4-72 hours. Pain increases with head movements and physical activity. The person with migraine is disturbed by light and sound.
Cluster Headache: It usually manifests itself as a severe pain behind the eye. The pain usually comes in episodes that last for days, so it tends to cluster at certain times. It may be accompanied by flushing and tearing.
Tension-Related Headache: Generally, there is severe pain in the nape of the neck. It is associated with increased blood pressure.
Trigeminal Neuralgia: It causes a sharp pain on the face and spasm of the facial muscles.
Although the majority of headaches can be treated by family physicians in primary care treatment centers, it is vital to correctly diagnose the underlying health problem in secondary headaches.
The answer to the question of what are the causes of headache varies according to the type of headache. For example; In primary headaches, in genetically susceptible individuals, environmental factors create an activation in the brain. This activation causes dilation in brain vessels and chemical substances are released. These stimulate the nerves, causing pain.
There may be very different reasons under secondary type headaches. For example, infections (sinus, ear, meningitis), damage to blood vessels (aneurysm, malformations, vascular occlusions), tumors and hypertension are just a few of these reasons. For this reason, it is vital to determine the cause of secondary headaches.
In addition, women may experience headache during menstruation. Apart from this, stress is also an important trigger factor.
Whether there is a secondary cause in persistent pain should be investigated. If the pains are continuous in patients with periodic pain, it should be considered that the patient may have used many pain medications or that underlying psychological reasons.
If there is an underlying health problem (such as sinus infection) in headache, the relevant treatment is obtained from the specialist physician. Apart from this, in primary headaches, especially migraine, the neurologist takes your medical history and examines it and initiates the relevant treatment.
There are many medications to try in the treatment of headaches. The goal in migraine treatment is to reduce the triggering factors, to suppress the sensitivity in the nervous system and the events around the veins and vessels that occur during pain. Basic treatment is divided into two as preventive and relapse treatment. Here, the frequency of the patient’s pain is effective in the treatment decision. For example; If the patient’s pain is seen once or twice a month, treatment is recommended only during an attack.
Simple pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ergotamine drugs and triptans are used in pain treatment. Although pain medications are generally innocent drugs, when used continuously, they can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys and other organs. Therefore, continuous use is not recommended. Painkillers should be taken at the beginning of the attack. Preventive-preventive treatment is applied if the number of attacks exceeds three or four in a month. In preventive treatment, drugs are taken every day. Heart medications, depression medications, epilepsy medications are used for this purpose. Such drugs should never be taken without consulting a doctor.
Apart from all these treatments, there are a number of alternative treatment methods used in headaches. As an example to these;
Biofeedback (back conduction – relaxation training) in tension headache,
Acupuncture in migraine,
In chronic pains, tissue massage, Riboflavin, magnesium, medications containing “fever few” plant can be given. These treatments may be useful in some patients.
Although Botox has been used in the treatment of headache in recent years, it is a treatment alternative for frequent and chronic pains, but it is not a practical treatment that is primarily used because it is very expensive.
You can make some lifestyle changes to prevent headaches. We can list them as follows.
Discover your headache triggers, note the time of day and what activities you usually feel more aching headache after doing. If you can, reduce these activities.
Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol causes headaches, especially red wine.
Processed foods that contain nitrates can cause headaches. Examples of these foods are chocolate, processed meats. Nitrates act on blood vessels in the body. For this reason, it is thought that it can interact with the vessels in the brain and cause headache.
Sleep deprivation: The quality and duration of sleep is important for a healthy life as well as an important factor to prevent migraine or headache attacks.
Posture disorders: After using a computer or mobile phone for a long time, some tiredness and pain may be observed in the neck muscles. In such cases, changing positions frequently can prevent pain.
Since hunger is a headache trigger, it is important not to skip meals to avoid headaches.
Stress: Some types of headache are directly related to stress. For this reason, dealing with stress in your life is very important in terms of both controlling your headaches and increasing your quality of life.
When should a headache patient consult a doctor?
If the pain is continuous and of increasing intensity
If the age of the person who meets pain for the first time is under 10 or over 50,
If the severity and shape of the previously present pain has changed, if it does not respond to treatment,
If the headache is the most severe pain he has ever faced in his life, and the pain occurs during a physical activity (lifting a heavy load, sexual intercourse) and increases its intensity, you should definitely go to the doctor.
If you observe the above factors in yourself, be sure to consult a neurologist.