Headache is one of our most common health complaints. The multimillion dollar sales of pain killers is an evidence of how many people suffer from headaches.
What are the causes of headache?
Almost all headaches can be divided into the following three groups:
* Tension headache
* Diseases of the head, eyes, ears, teeth, etc.
Tension headache is by far the most common type. It is not serious and generally believed to come from the pulling of muscles on the sides of the head. The pain may be felt in areas such as the sides and front of the head or around the eyes.
Tension headache is so-called because it can result from stresses and tensions of everyday life. It may be a result of sleeping or working in unhealthy positions, a long period of close work, or excessive gum chewing.
This type of headache usually lasts for a short period of time and is often relieved by a simple over-the-counter pain killer. However, taking pain killers on a daily basis can make the headache even worse.
Migraine is a common type of headache, but its real cause is still unknown.
About one in ten persons suffers from migraine. And this type of headache can run in families, even young children may have migraine.It can produce different symptoms in different patients:
* A severe headache at one side of the head without other symptoms.
* Seeing zigzag lines followed by a severe headache at one side of the head, but these lines can be seen by one or both eyes.
There are some common features of migraine headaches:
* The pain usually comes as repeated attacks;
* It is often more severe on one side of the head, but can include both sides;
* It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting;
* It is not often associated with serious complications;
* There may be some known triggers such as bright lights, menses, certain foods such as red wine, cheese, chocolate or withdrawal from caffeine. Birth-control pills and hormones can worsen migraine. Irregular sleep habits may also lead to an increased number of attacks.
Many persons who have migraine mistakenly believe they have sinusitis headache. Contrary to the common belief, sinusitis headache is quite rare.
Eye Diseases are the least common cause of headache.
Headache caused by eye disease is usually felt in the eye or in the bone around the eye. This type of headache is often associated with other symptoms, such as:
* Blurred vision;
* Haloes around lights;
* Extreme sensitivity to light.
Headaches may also be caused by high blood pressure. A blood-pressure measurement is helpful in evaluating any continuous or repeated headache. However, there are many people with high blood pressure who do not have headache.
Headache caused by brain tumor or disease is rare, and this pain may have several unique features:
* It may appear quite suddenly or quickly increasing in severity;
* It may disturb sleep;
* The intensity of the headache may change depending on body position, sometimes becoming unusually severe when the head is down;
* It is often associated with other symptoms such as numbness, dizziness, weakness or seizures;
How is the cause of a headache diagnosed?
Because headache is a very common problem, a complete medical examination by your family doctor is advised for any chronic or repeated headache. An eye exam may be helpful in some cases. You can help your doctor determine the type and cause of your headache by describing your symptoms, noting when the headache occurs and providing a complete medical history, including any family history of repeated headaches.
How are headaches treated?
Headache treatment depends on its cause. If a serious medical disease is found, it needs to be treated. If depression or anxiety is the cause, a referral may be made to a family doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
If migraine or tension is responsible, an accurate diagnosis can be reassuring, and your physician's suggestions for medicines, self-help and assistance are the best solutions. If your doctor determines that your headache is not a symptom of a disease, what you tell your doctor about your headache can helpful to plan a treatment program that is right for you.
Are headaches ever caused by eyestrain?
Almost all headaches are made worse by lengthy use of the eyes, but those that are caused by eyestrain appear when you have used your eyes for only a short period of time.
Because headaches often produce eye symptoms, many people who suffer from chronic headaches feel the need to have their eyes examined. Your eye doctor can be of help in diagnosing the cause of headache, even though headaches are infrequently caused by eye disease or the need for glasses.
If eye disease is present, your eye doctor will be able to diagnose and treat the problem. If there is an indication of an unusual medical cause for the headache, further testing or referral to another medical specialist may be advised.