Headache or cephalalgia is one of the most common forms of pain encountered in your daily life. Almost everyone suffers from headaches at least once in their life. People who suffer from headaches, once in a while usually neglect it. However, there are people who suffer from severe forms of frustrating headaches frequently and consult many doctors over a period of time.
The headache you might experience on a regular basis is most likely a primary headache. A primary headache is when the headache itself is the main problem. These are usually not dangerous and do not point to an underlying disease or condition. To treat and manage your primary headaches, it is important to understand their causes.
Common Triggers of Primary Headaches
Most often, primary headaches are triggered by lifestyle factors. Excessive intake of alcohol, poor posture, skipped meals, and certain foods can trigger a primary headache.
Besides these, a few other common triggers of primary headaches include:
1. Inadequate or poor sleep. Sleep is an important part of your daily routine which affects every aspect of your overall health. Poor or disturbed sleep is a common health condition.
Poor sleep leads to a bad mood, irritation, reduced concentration, and a lack of memory which causes depression, anxiety, and addiction. It may also lead to frequent headaches and result in lower productivity at home and work.
Lack of proper sleep reduces your body's pain threshold, making you more prone to headaches. Inability to stick to a sleep schedule or undue indulgence in gadgets or substances are common reasons for poor or disturbed sleep.
To reduce headaches due to poor or disturbed sleep, try and follow a regular sleep schedule. Keep your bed clean and lights dim. Practicing a bedtime ritual like meditation can help you sleep faster and deeper.
2. Acidity. Acidity, also known as acid reflux or heartburn, is a term used for a set of symptoms caused by excess production of acid by the gastric glands (glands located in different regions of your stomach that secrete juices and mucous) of your stomach.
Acidity is a common stomach disorder that can affect children, young adults, and older people. Most often, acidity is a result of a sedentary (inactive) and stressful lifestyle.
Acidity or acid reflux can cause activation of pain throughout your body, leading to headaches. The next time you have acidity, notice if you have an associating headache. To avoid headaches from acidity, avoid foods that cause acidity like heavily processed and salty foods, and lead an active life.
3. Dehydration. Out in the sun all day or had a heavy drinking session the previous night? Either way, you are most likely to be dehydrated and hence, suffer from a headache.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in. It is more likely to occur in warmer climates, at higher altitudes, with increased physical activity, and/or when you have a fever. When you don’t drink enough water, you get a headache which is commonly known as a dehydration headache.
Once dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, causing the brain to shrink and pull away from the skull. The pain receptors surrounding the brain are thus triggered, leading to a headache.
To treat a dehydration headache, drink lots of water and take ample rest. Drink 2 to 3 liters of water every day and increase your fluid intake by eating foods that are naturally high in water content, such as watermelon, oranges, cucumber, tomatoes, etc.
4. Poor eyesight (Refractive error). Poor or bad eyesight, or blurred vision, is most commonly caused by a refractive error. Refractive error is a common eye disorder caused when your eye cannot focus on images or objects clearly from the outside world.
Poor eyesight forces your eye muscles to work too hard, resulting in extreme headaches from the added strain. The intensity of such headaches can vary and is commonly seen in children and teens.
Most often, spectacles or glasses are prescribed by doctors to correct refractive errors. If you are prescribed one, it is advisable to wear them. If despite wearing them, you still suffer from a headache, it might be time to check your eye-sight again with the eye doctor.
5. Sinusitis. Sinuses are air-filled sacs (4 in number) present in your facial bones. They are located near your eyes, forehead, and behind your cheekbones. Inflammation or swelling of the sinus is called sinusitis (sinus infection).
Common symptoms of sinusitis include a stuffy nose, a runny nose, persistent cough, and loss of sense of smell. The pressure that you feel as a result of sinusitis can cause a headache known as a sinus headache.
A sinus headache caused by sinus infection can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) nasal drops.
6. Stress. Stress is a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from adverse situations. It can be defined as your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action.
Headaches due to tension or stress often feel like a tight band around the forehead. It can occur in people of all age groups but is commonly observed in women.
Simple remedies such as staying hydrated, managing stress with exercise, yoga or meditation, and reducing daily caffeine intake can help reduce a stress or tension headache.
Recurrent headaches are one of the ways your body communicates with you that something is wrong. It can be a symptom of a much bigger problem that your body needs you to take action in order to resolve.
Consult your physician if you have repeated episodes of headache. If you identify the cause of your headaches, eliminating the cause can give you relief.
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.