Headache : Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
What could be the cause for my headache?
The common reasons for a headache can be
- Dehydration can cause headache due to a temporary shrinking of the brain, which causes the brain to pull away from the skull. This causes the pain.
- Migraine can cause headaches due to the irregular release of chemicals in the brain
- Eye strain
- Tension can lead to headache due to muscle contractions in the scalp
- A blocked nose can also cause headache due to congestion
- Fever causes headache due to dehydration and congestion in the brain
- High blood pressure is another reason for headache due to increased blood flow in the brain
- An ear or tooth infection can cause headache due to a common nerve and blood supply
- Cervical strain
- Meningitis or encephalitis
- Brain tumours
How can I know the cause of my headache?
- Sometimes, the site of the headache can give a clue about the cause. A headache in the front of your head that’s worse in the mornings can be due to sinusitis.
- Headache after prolonged computer work can be due to eye strain.
- A severe headache with vomiting and sensitivity to light can be due to a migraine.
- Headache with blurred vision can be due to high blood pressure
- Headache with giddiness can be due to a cervical or ear issue.
How to deal with a headache?
As most headaches are due to some common causes, it helps to try a few simple measures.
- Drinking enough water can take care of dehydration.
- Avoiding too much screen use, wearing anti-glare spectacles maintaining a good posture can help deal with eye strain and any cervical strain.
- Avoiding excess caffeine, trying some meditation or relaxing music can help if stress is the cause of the headache. Sometimes a cold or hot pack can help in relieving a headache.
- Chamomile tea might help to relieve a tension headache.
- Resting in a dark, quiet room might help.
- Sometimes, massaging a tender spot can help in easing the pain.
- A walk in fresh air can help in relieving a headache if stress is the reason.
When to see your doctor?
- If your headache is not helped with the use of a simple pain reliever like a paracetamol
- A headache that is recurrent or very severe
- Also, if there is vomiting, dizziness, double vision or any problems with vision or hearing, a doctor’s opinion would help.
What will the doctor check?
- Generally, your doctor will ask in detail about the headache to try to zero in on the possible cause.
- This is followed by a check to see if you have fever, if your blood pressure is in the normal range and if there is any sign of irritation of the nerves. This would give an idea if there is any reason like involvement of the nervous system.
- The doctor might prescribe some tests to rule out any infection and might also check for kidney and liver functions, a sugar test and sometimes an X ray of the head is done to check for any blocked sinuses.
How will my headache be managed?
Until the cause of the headache is known, the doctor might just prescribe a pain reliever like paracetamol. In case you are not sleeping well, a mild medicine for anxiety might also be given. Further treatment generally depends on the reason for the headache.