Dealing with headaches

We can all expect to experience headaches at some stage, because they are among the most common ailments to afflict humans. There are many different causes of headaches, which explains why they are so common. Some estimates suggest about 15 per cent of the population will be taking painkillers for a headache at any one time.

Some people also suffer from recurring headaches, and these are usually the result of a number of different factors working together.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the leading factors to cause headaches.

Muscle tension and stress

When we are stressed, our bodies do not function as they normally would. One of the main responses to stress is tightening of the muscles. In particular, the muscles around the neck, upper back and shoulders tighten. This can refer pain into the nerves in the head, causing headaches.

Also, when we are stressed our bodies have lower levels of endorphins, which are natural painkilling chemicals.

Diet

There have been studies to suggest the things we eat can play a big role in headaches. For example, fluctuations in blood sugar levels can bring about spasms of the arteries in the head. Caffeine withdrawal can also bring on headaches, as can some food additives like MSG.

Hormones

Women suffer migraines more than men do, and some researches argue that hormones are influential here. About half the women who suffer regular migraines get them at the time of their menstrual period, and it is thought that reduced levels of oestrogen may be the cause.

Nose, ear and throat problems

Headaches can be brought on by a number of common nose, ear and throat problems. If you have a blocked or damaged sinus, if you have inflammation of the inner ear, if you suffer physical trauma to one of those regions or if you get tonsillitis, you are a good chance to get a headache.

Aside from these common causes of headache, there are other more specific causes too. If you are getting recurring headaches you should try to address the problems listed here, and if they persist then see a doctor.

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