By: Michael Manion Viewed: 4/17/2024
Topics/Keywords: #Headaches #Health Page Views: 14855
All about headaches.

What Are Headaches?


It can be a small, singular pain in the area of the head. It can be a massive affected area, or the whole head. It can be a minor annoyance, or a symptom of a life-threatening illness. It can be a simple distraction, or so all-enveloping that not one thought other than that of anguish can fit with it in that throbbing, pounding, skull.

Pretty much everyone suffers from a headache at some point in his or her life, but, for some folks, headaches occur with such frequency and intensity that life is lived with one, or trying to avoid one, or praying that the current one will go away.

But, in spite of the fact that headaches all affect the head, there are, in fact, many types of headaches, each with its own cause...and treatment.

Types of Headaches

StressThese occur when something directly affects our emotions, which then cause a physical response. They are triggered by stress, tension, anxiety, and muscle tension. Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), while considered to be a physical condition, originally stems from emotionally- based situations and can include headaches among its symptoms.

Then there are those headaches that are related more to outward forces upon the head, such as trauma, occupational straining of the muscles or eyes, and exertion headache from moving heavy objects or even sleeping improperly.

Other headaches are systemically induced. Allergies can cause headaches, as can sinus pressure, coffee consumption, hunger, hormonal imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, and fever. The use of alcohol, drugs or tobacco can sometimes cause headaches (the infamous "morning after"); and exposure to irritants such as pollution, perfume or even after-shaves and/or lotions can do it, as well.

ChocolateSystemic headaches may be related to an underlying health problem. People who suffer from frequent headaches may be reacting to certain foods or chemicals in foods. Some people have been known to have developed headaches from ingesting wheat, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, sulfites (used by restaurants to keep salad bars items looking fresh), sugar, hot dogs, lunch meat, dairy products, nuts, citric acid, fermented foods (cheese, sour cream or yogurt), alcohol, vinegar, and/or marinated foods.

Anemia, bowel problems, brain disorders, bruxism (tooth-grinding, which also relates to TMJ), hypertension (high blood pressure), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), sinusitis, spinal misalignment, toxic overdoses of vitamin A, vitamin B deficiency, and various diseases of the eye, ear and throat can also express themselves as headaches.

So, what kinds of headaches do you have? Tests show that 90% of all headaches are tension-related; 6% are migraine headaches. Tension-related headaches are caused by muscle tension. Migraine headaches are systemic, and stem from a disturbance in the blood circulation of the brain. The remaining 4% are known as "cluster" headaches. These are quite severe, recurring headaches that affect millions of Americans. These most often are caused by stress, alcohol or smoking.

Treatment of Headaches

One thing that may help with all types and intensities of headaches, is to adopt a proper attitude concerning the thought patterns that may have led to the condition. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise L. Hay says that the probable old thought patterns that lead to headaches are, "Invalidating the self. Self-criticism. Fear." She says that the new thought pattern to nurture and develop is, "I love and approve of myself. I see myself and what I do with eyes of love. I am safe."

Additional Information: You can contact the following places for additional information concerning headaches:

National Headache Foundation 5252 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60625 800-843-2256

American Council for Headache Education (ACHE) 875 Kings Highway, Suite 200 Woodbury, NJ 08096 800-255-2243 (ACHE)

Each type of headache may differ in intensity, symptom and cause. Let's look at the most common headaches and their symptoms, causes and possible treatments.


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