A headache is a characterized by aching pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, face or neck. Most headaches occur biologically outside the skull in the blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that surround the head and neck. When the muscles or blood vessels swell, they put pressure on the nerves. The constriction of blood vessels or facial and scalp muscle tension when emotionally distressed can result in decreased blood and oxygen flow to the brain and hence to a headache. Often, people who suffer from headaches simply need to make a few lifestyle changes to avoid them.
While the vast majority of headaches are not life-threatening, the most common types of headaches include tension, migraine, and cluster headaches. There are a number of contributing factors which may cause sporadic headaches including: stress; emotional problems; tension/anxiety.
Warning signs that should concern you include:
A headache with symptoms of numbness, speech difficulty, and one-sided weakness – this may be signs of a stroke.
A sudden onset of a headache as well as symptoms of a fever and stiff neck – these may be signs of meningitis.
An extremely painful, headache, possibly the worst you’ve ever had – this may be associated with an aneurysm and possible rupture.
A headache that worsens over time (particularly if neurological symptoms are displayed) may be indicative of a space occupying lesion in the brain such as a tumor or an abscess.
If you are at all concerned about the nature of your headaches, their frequency or any accompanying symptoms, it is imperative that you see your health care practitioner for a full examination and check up.
Migraines vary greatly and are often preceded or accompanied by neurological symptoms known as migraine auras and may include disturbances in visual perception such as flashing lights, seeing zigzag lines, blurred vision, sensations of dizziness and other visual hallucinations. Some researchers have suggested that the condition is neurological and caused by changes in serotonin and dopamine levels. Brain neurons release additional neuropeptides which cause pain and inflammation of the blood vessels.
For recurrent or chronic headaches the likely triggers are :- illnesses, sleep disorders, food intolerances, dehydration, hormonal changes, rebound headaches from medication or alcohol, and eyesight issues. Migraines can be brought on by triggers similar to those for other headaches and by other factors eg changes in the physical environment .
Homeopathic and herbal remedies can provide relief of the uncomfortable symptoms of migraine headaches. For example, there is a great deal of clinical evidence to support the effectiveness of Feverfew in the treatment of migraines or chronic headaches. Regular use of this herb in therapeutic dosage can significantly reduce or eliminate the frequency and intensity of migraines. Milk Thistle is another commonly recommended herb found to be useful as a liver tonic. Many naturopaths believe that a sluggish or ailing liver (due to environmental and dietary toxins) can be an underlying cause of migraines. Other herbs may also be recommended to address anxiety and stress (e.g. Passiflora) or fluctuating hormonal levels (e.g. Don Quai or Black Cohosh). Homeopathic remedies can alleviate headaches(eg China, Mag Phos &Kali Phos)
Similarly, natural and alternative therapies can be used to help manage headaches safely. (eg Feverfew . Herbal and homeopathic remedies can offer an effective natural solution. Magnesium and B vitamins are used by the body at higher rates under several of the above situations and their supplementation can be helpful to reduce stress, tension and headaches.