There are a many different types of headaches including tension, cluster, sinus headaches and the ultimate in painful headaches, the migraine.
Some headaches have obvious causes and treatments such as the “ponytail pounder”, the cure for which is simply to let your hair down! Or the hunger headache – eating small balanced meals and keeping your blood sugar levels stable should do the trick for that one. So what should you do when suffering from a headache?
With all the running around in our daily lives, tension headaches are the most common type experienced these days. They often feel like a tight band around your head. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to relieve the pain, but these headaches may also respond to relaxation techniques such as yoga, or a wheattie pack or long, hot shower can help.
Repetitive tension headaches and migraine headaches might appear to be the same. The difference is that tension headaches are not linked to visual disturbances, nausea or vomiting. Sometimes you might have an increased sensitivity to light or sound, but it is not common.
If you have a sinus headache the pain will be in your face and forehead. It is usually, but not always, associated with a cold. The pain comes from swelling in your sinuses and excess mucous. Using a nasal spray to dry the mucous will relieve the pain. Otherwise taking oral decongestants or inhaling steam from a vapouriser or shower can help. Sometimes a bacterial infection is involved, so check with your pharmacist or GP if it doesn’t go away, gets worse after self care treatment, or you have a fever.
Cluster headaches are aptly named, as these are intensely painful, one-sided headaches that occur in clusters. Fortunately they are uncommon.
Migraines cause very painful, recurring headaches, commonly associated with nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Treatments include painkillers and anti-nausea tablet combinations that you can purchase at a pharmacy. There are also specialised migraine medications that are available on prescription from your GP. People who get migraines often have low levels of magnesium, and several studies suggest that supplementing the diet with magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in those with low levels.
Headaches can also be a sign of more serious health problems, so if you are unsure, contact your local health professional for advice.
Well I’m off to let my hair down. No “ponytail pounder” for me today!