Headaches are very common and experienced by most people at one time in their life. So.....when do you worry?
Headaches have a tendency to run in families, especially migraines. Children who have migraines usually have at least one parent who also suffers from them. In fact, kids whose parents have migraines are up to four times more likely to develop them too.
What causes headaches?
There about a 150 types of headaches...certainly we will not discuss them all!
- New daily Persistent
- Disease of brain blood vessels
- Rebound from taking medication
Headaches can also be triggered by environmental factors shared in a family’s household, such as:
- Eating certain foods or ingredients such as caffeine, alcohol, fermented foods, chocolate and cheese.
- Exposure to allergens.
- Secondhand smoke.
- Strong odors from household chemicals or perfumes.
What triggers headaches and migraines?
Common triggers of tension headaches or migraines include:
- Alcohol use
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Emotional stress related to family and friends, work or school
- Excessive medication use
- Rebound headaches
- Eye, neck or back strain caused by poor posture
- Weather changes
What do headaches feel like? It depends on the type.
You may be asked to keep a headache journal for your physician. Include:
- Foods consumed prior to headache
- Nausea /vomiting/dizziness
- What does the pain feels like, for example: throbbing or sharp?
Red Flag headache: Call 911
- Feels like a clap of thunder, the worse headache you ever had
- Blurred vision, weakness, unable to keep your balance, unable to talk
- Seizure, numbness, tingling
- Short of breath, stiff neck, or rash, especially in teens and young adults.
- Headache that wakes you up at night
Contact your health care provider if you or your child has any of the following symptoms:
- Three or more headaches per week
- Headaches that keep getting worse and won't go away
- Need to take a pain reliever every day or almost every day for your headaches
- Need more than 2 to 3 doses of over-the-counter medications per week to relieve headache symptoms
- Headaches that are triggered by exertion, coughing, bending, or strenuous activity
- A history of headaches, but have noticed a recent change in your headache symptoms
Diagnosis and Treatments
Physician will want to do a detailed history and physical to determine:
- When they started
- What triggers them
- How long they last
- Any fever
Take your headache journal with you. Your physician will have many other questions and will then decide if you need further tests.
Are there any headache remedies I can try at home?
You can treat the occasional, mild headache at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. Other relief measures include:
- Applying heat or cold packs to your head
- Doing stretching exercises
- Massaging your head, neck or back
- Resting in a dark and quiet room
- Taking a walk
- Ask your physician about taking magnesium
Here is to your good health!