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Headache

Headache

 

Headaches are one of the most common health complaints in Australia.  Almost all adults at some point in time would have experienced a headache. Anyone at any age can develop a headache, however it is most commonly reported in women and people aged 25 to 44 years.      

 

Most headaches aren't serious and are short lived due to areas of the head or brain being irritated or inflamed. Primary headaches are those that aren't due to another underlying health problem. The main types include:  

 

Tension headaches  

These are the most common form of headache which feels like a dull ache with constant pressure generally around the front of the head.  

 

Migraines  

Migraines are less common than tension headaches but are more severe. Migraines are usually recurrent and disabling to the point of stopping you from carrying on with daily life.  

 

Cluster headaches   Cluster headaches are less common than tension headaches and incredibly painful.  They cause an intense pain around one eye. They usually happen in clusters for a month or two at a time, around the same time every year.

 

Secondary headaches have a separate cause, such as such as infection, injury or a tumour and are a side effect of the original issue.  

 

Most headaches have more than one contributing factor. Common causes can include:  

  • Stress,  
  • Muscular tension,  
  • Dental or jaw problems,  
  • Infections, particularly of the ear, eye, nose or throat,  
  • Poor diet,  
  • Hormonal influences,  
  • Medications,  
  • Injury to the head, neck or spine,  
  • High blood pressure,  
  • Poor posture,
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs,  
  • Extreme changes in temperature,
  • Dehydration, and/or  
  • Loud noises.  

 

Treatment options  

Treating a headache depends on its cause. Tension headaches are best treated by making lifestyle adjustments such as:

  • Improving posture to relieve pressure on the head and neck,      
  • Drinking more water,    
  • Avoiding bright light and loud noises,      
  • Undertaking relaxation techniques (such as massage, meditation or acupuncture),    
  • Changing your diet (more fresh foods and less processed foods, artificial colours and preservatives),    
  • Managing stress, and      
  • Avoiding medications that may cause headaches as a side effect.      

 

For migraines and cluster headaches it is important to talk to your health care professional for more tailored and specific treatment. Treatment for any underlying disorder, such as high blood pressure, neck problems or jaw problems is vital to manage secondary headaches and should be done under the guidance of your health care professional.      

 

Disclaimer  

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.  

 

Source:  

Better Health Channel http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Headache  

Health Direct http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/headaches

 

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