Identifying the Causes of a Headache

To be honest, whenever I get a headache relief is about the only thing on my mind. I suspect we're all the same in this department, but that could be injurious to our long term health. Headaches can be caused by many things and some of them could be life altering. There are also some headaches that require more than an aspirin tablet to get rid of.

1) Allergies: Nasal allergies can cause headaches and a sore throat. This is due to increased amounts of secretions sent out in the hope that the invading allergen can be dealt with. There are three things you need to do to get rid of this type of head pain. First, find out what you're allergic to so you can avoid it. If avoiding it is not possible, you will need some sort of antihistamine. There are several good over the counter remedies, or you can try using lemon balm tea. Third, you may want to take an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any swelling.

2) Eye Strain: In this age of computers, iPads and text messaging, our eyes are being abused. Many of us stare at a computer screen at work all day, then come home and stare at a television set. This can cause some serious pain. More importantly, it can also damage our eyes. If you get a headache at the end of the day, it's time to go see the eye doctor. Special glasses may help prevent the pain and protect your eyes.

While you're waiting for your new specs, limit how long you sit in front of a screen of any sort. If pain develops, you can place a cool cloth or slices of cucumber on your eyes to help them feel better. It would be wise to avoid using them for a while, too. It's kind of boring, but your vision is worth it.

3) Flu: One of the main symptoms of the flu is a killer headache. Add in the high fever, muscle aches and other joys of the disease and you will find yourself in misery. It is a good idea to see your doctor as soon as symptoms develop. There are medications that can shorten the duration and intensity of the virus. You may also want to take medication for the pain and fever plus something to help with the cough. Eucalyptus may be beneficial both for the head pain and any coughing.

4) Meningitis: This disease can attack anyone, but it most frequently is caught by infants, toddlers and young adults. This requires immediate emergency treatment in the hospital. It kills, and it kills fast. Look for bruising or black marks on the throat, severe head and back pain and a high fever. Your best bet is actually to get immunized against it.

5) Migraines: This can cause a great deal of misery, especially when triggers can not be avoided or one develops just before an important occasion. Medications are available for this problem, but you may want to find out all of your triggers. Most migraine sufferers have a sensitivity to tyramine, and amino acid found in many foods including aged cheeses. Ask your doctor to help you in this department.

6) Sinuses: Sinus infections cause pain above and below the eyes. You can usually see the actual shape of them most of the time, as they are swollen. I feel that I look like a Star Trek Klingon when one strikes.

You may need antibiotics to get over a sinus infection, but doctors are less likely to prescribe them immediately. Instead, they will suggest you take anti-inflammatory medications and drink lots of fluids. I would add garlic to that list, as it acts like a natural antibiotic.

7) Strokes: Like meningitis, this requires immediate medical intervention. Call 911. The symptoms, other than severe pain can include numbness or paralysis of one side of the body, difficulty speaking and a droopy appearance on one side of the face.

8) Tension: Allergies and tension are two very common causes. While pain relievers will help with the pain, I find a hot bath or shower to be almost as important. If someone is available to give a neck massage, that is also helpful in this area.

As you can see, headaches can be caused by a number of things, and popping an aspirin is not always the best answer. If you do not know the cause of your pain or if your symptoms include the more serious ones above, do not hesitate about seeing the doctor. Once you have a diagnosis, you can find a solution.