Headaches! Delving Deep into Headaches.
Causes, signs & symptoms and self help advice
Headaches! Delving deep into headaches and beyond. Types, causes and cures. Self massage advice to help you at home or in the office.
We have all had them to varying degrees, intensities and frequencies – yes I am talking all things headaches.
I am on a mission to lift the lid on the most common types of headaches for you, signs and symptoms and most importantly how you can deal with them at home or at work or on the road. Along the way you might see an overall improvement in your wellbeing too with just a few simple changes.
My aim is to give you some self help advice so you can start feeling your best again as quickly as possible.
Let’s get started
A headache is one of the most common health complaints and can last from 30 minutes to several hours.
They are generally not serious and can be easily treated at home or at work and usually affect more women than men.
They can be an indicator of an underlying issue or linked to an ongoing health condition so never ignore a bad headache.
Please, always seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your headache.
That goes for a bump to the head as well. Minor or major accidents, whiplash and injuries should be assessed by medical professionals as soon as possible.
What is a headache?
- A pain originating in the head, face and sometimes the upper neck.
- Muscles in the shoulders, neck and head can become tired, fatigued or weak and lead to discomfort and pain.
- Nerves, muscles and blood vessels can swell and tighten causing pressure on other structures which in turn cause pain.
4 Main Types of Headache
Causes of Headaches
- Infections – ear ache, sinus pressure, viruses
- Eye strain
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of physical activity
- Accident / injury / whiplash
- Lifestyle habits
- Check your mattress and pillows
- This list is not exhaustive!
Symptoms of Headaches
- Tight feeling around the head
- Dull ache around the forehead, nose and eyes
- Pain around the eyes and sinuses
- Sharp and or throbbing sensation around the temples
- Blurred / double or distorted vision
- Hypersensitivity to light and noise
Who can be affected?
- Migraines can be hereditary
- Women can suffer from hormone headaches at certain times during their cycle and during the menopause.
- Hydrate! Probably the most important one. Grab a glass of water as your first line of defence.
- Hot or cold pack to the affected area for a few minutes. Heat will open the blood vessels improving blood and oxygen flow to the area. Cold will have the opposite effect and reduce blood and oxygen flow. See which one helps you the most. It may depend on the type of headache you have that day.
- Massage, gentle circles on the temples with your fingertips to reduce tension and improve relaxation.
- Take some slow deep breaths as you do this too.
- Firstly, you will slow your heart rate which in turn will lower blood pressure.
- Secondly, deeper, slower breathing will allow more oxygen into your body and improve feelings of relaxation.
- Take regular breaks from your screen or laptop. Eye strain can lead to tired eyes and eye muscles leading to headaches.
- Easiest step to stop looking at your screen! Go for a walk, whether you are at home or in an office. Get up and move away from the screen.
- Even just closing your eyes will have a similar effect if you can’t leave the screen. Dedicate 5 minutes every hour and see how it helps.
- Posture when working at a desk. Check if your screen is at the right height. Looking down will cause neck muscles to tire and result in a headache over time.
- Rest, if you are struggling with a cold, you may need to take extra rest to fight the infection and let your body’s immune system do its job!
- Hunger. Avoid skipping meals and eat regularly. A drop in blood sugar levels can trigger headaches.
Take a bath
- A warm relaxing bath can help to reduce the tension in the muscles around the neck and shoulders.
- Try adding some bath oils with delicate essential oils to really encourage the body to let go.
- Assess your mattress and pillows. Are they providing you with enough support in the right areas? Is your mattress more than 8 years old? If so, it may time for a change.
- Room temperature this can affect how well you sleep and if you are waking up with a headache.
- Check if the room is too hot and stuffy, you may need to lower the temperature or open a window to let some fresh air in.
- Take a glass of water to bed with you so if you wake up in the middle of the night you can hydrate and prevent a early morning headache.
- Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the frequency of headaches and should be encouraged on a daily basis.
- Even a short 10 minute walk can have a positive impact on your headache and your overall health and wellbeing.
- Outdoors is best but if that is not possible even moving around your house or office will have similar benefits.
- Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi encourage relaxation, mindfulness, meditation and the opportunity for your mind and body to take time out and let go of some of the stresses and pressures of your daily life.
Therapies – get hands on!
- Targeted massage can help to reduce muscle tension which can lead to headaches.
- Products can be used to enhance the calming effects of the treatment. Scents of lavender, sweet almond and coconut oil can help to induce relaxation.
- A 30 minute session also allows the body to unwind, relax and switch off for a while.
- Benefits of a treatment include lower blood pressure, more efficient breathing patterns and better sleep.
- If you nod off during a treatment it is one of the biggest compliments you can give therapist! Go on – let go!
- Your immune and digestive systems will benefit from a massage as well. Hence the noisy tummy during a massage – it is normal and a good thing!
- When was your last eye test?
- It may be over due.
- An eye test is not just the size of the letters and the distance you can read them.
- The test should include checks for the the health of your eyes and can be an indicator of future health problems.
- Consider it an investment in your health!
Over The Counter Medications
- A common pain killer for aches and pains.
- Can help to lower your temperature and is a common ingredient in cold and flu medications.
- It can take up to an hour to work.
- Paracetamol should NOT be used in conjunction with any other product containing paracetamol.
- Generally safe for most people to use.
- Safe to use during pregnancy and breast feeding.
- Available to buy over the counter.
- Belongs to the family of NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs
- Used for general aches and pains
- Used to reduce inflammation – muscle strains and joint sprains as well as joint conditions like arthritis
- Also found in common cold and flu medications
- Can work in 20 -30 minutes
- Avoid taking on an empty stomach
- Works by reducing hormones released that cause the pain and swelling
- It does NOT mix well with other medications
- If you are interested in saving money and having regular treatments have a look at the link below for my subscription service.
Here is a link to a free pdf you can download about tension headaches.
The NHS have solid information if you want to find out more headaches.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Klog, I’d love to hear how it has helped you or if you would like a specific topic covered in future Klogs.
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