Dealing With Headaches

Getting up in the morning with a headache is the last thing anyone wants. Yet most of the time after a stressful night you have a headache, which puts you down the whole day. Do you know that over 90% of all headaches are "tension headaches"? They are caused by excessive muscle contraction in the neck, face, shoulders, and/or scalp and are often caused by stress or being in one position for too long (such as in front of a computer). The hangover that you get after drinking the previous night cannot be termed as headache. But if you have been up the whole night working and didn't get enough sleep then you are sure to have a terrible headache the next morning. So all you have to know what causes a headache in order to keep away from it.

Causes of Headache

Considerable medical evidence suggests that headache is caused by an electrical and chemical instability of certain key brain centres that regulate blood vessels around the head and the neck, as well as the flow of pain messages into the brain. Over activity of muscles of the scalp, forehead and neck causes tension headache. This instability, similar to that which causes seizure disorders, seems to be inherited and appears to involve chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

Headache can also occasionally be caused by bleeding, tumour, or infection inside the skull, or else by diseases involving teeth, eyes, or sinuses. Flu or any sickness that causes fever can also cause headache. Such headache is known as secondary headache because it is due to--or secondary to--other problems. That is, the headache is only a symptom of some other disorder.

Following are the Trigger factors

  • Increased tension or stress (both mental and physical), for example:
  • Excessive worry
  • All work-no play
  • Long periods of study, typing or other concentration
  • Perfectionism
  • Increased tension in the neck muscles, for example:
  • Poor posture Injuries to the spine
  • Repressed hostility, anger or frustration
  • A poor, scrappy diet, for example eating on the run (combined with stress) Swedish massage

If you suffer from one of these tension headaches, the following exercise may help alleviate some of your pain:


1. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down.
2. Tense up all your muscles from head to toe; hold for a few seconds, then release.
3. Take three slow, deep breaths.
4. Close your eyes and imagine yourself completely at ease - calm and serene.

This will help ease the stress and tension you feel in the muscles of your neck, face, shoulders, and/or scalp. By relaxing your muscles you are allowing them to rest and avoid being constantly contracted.

Other tips to avoid headaches in the first place:

  • Don't skip meals.
  • Learn to relax your mind and body.
  • Get plenty of sleep every night.
  • Restrict/avoid alcohol and nicotine.
  • Watch your back, shoulder, and neck posture - avoid staying in one position for too long a time.
  • Get organized to avoid hurry and worry.
  • During an attack relax by taking a hot shower or bath with a warm dry cloth or a cold wet cloth placed over the aching area.
  • Get some brisk exercise to help you relax - remember to stretch before and after each exercise session.
  • Enjoy a professional massage to help loosen tired muscles and create an overall relaxed state.
  • You could attend special relaxation courses such as yoga or meditation classes.

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