A headache continues to be one of the most common symptoms for which patients seek medical help - in the outpatient as well as in casualty/emergency, for sudden severe headache. A headache is responsible for a lot of suffering and loss of work days in the working population.
It should be noted that brain tissue by itself does not experience pain, it is the meninges and blood vessels around the brain that cause the pain.
The following headaches are the most dangerous ones-
- First-time headache in an elderly
- The worst headache of your life
- A headache associated with vomiting
- A headache associated with visual symptoms
- A headache associated with other neurological problems including neck stiffness etc.
It is obvious that these are serious headaches that need urgent medical attention.
Apart from these, a vast majority of headaches occur because of a migraine, or too much stress, or a chronic condition.
To minimise the common ones, some simple lifestyle modifications can be made. These will help in reducing the severity as well as the frequency of these episodes.
1. Get adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep, sleeping either less or more frequently causes a headache. Establish a good 'sleep hygiene' - go to sleep the same time every night, do not have a heavy meal before sleeping, read a light book before you sleep.
2. Drink plenty of water.
It is true that in our busy schedule we sometimes forget to drink adequate water. We must drink water at regular intervals.
3. Avoid certain foods.
Certain foods like cheese, chocolate, very heavy and oily meals, sweets can cause headaches in some people. These should be avoided. Do not skip meals. Skipping a meal or eating excessively - both can lead to headaches. You must eat regularly, and in moderation.
4. Avoid going out in the hot sun.
Carry out your outdoor activities in the morning or evening. If it is unavoidable to step out in the sun, cover your head, wear dark glasses and drink plenty of water.
5. Regular physical activity.
Especially some group activity like Yoga or playing a game helps connect with others and keeps you cheerful and healthy. Moderate physical activity is helpful.
Many of the lifestyle-related headaches can be prevented by making these minor adjustments in our daily routine.