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What you should know about headaches

Headaches are the worst kind of pain. Have you ever felt that it would be better to be beaten with a big club than suffer another headache? I understand. I was a migraine sufferer for years. I want to help you learn two things about headaches:

1. Learn how to ease the pain of a headache you are suffering with

2. Learn how to prevent a headache from coming on

I want to give you some background about headaches. I want help you learn the general type of headache that you suffer from. Knowing just that one thing can make relieving the pain of a headache easier. I also want to show you how you can help someone else with a headache just with your hands! If you can do that to help someone else, you can also guide someone else to do it to help you when you suffer with a headache.

Headaches are among the most common disorders of the human nervous system in the world. In the USA 15% (about 45 million people) of adults complain of headaches. The prevalence of headaches occurs in females twice as often as in males. Headaches are found more often in age 18- to 44-year-old persons compared to those 65 and older. It is estimated that the USA spends as much as $17,000,000,000 per year on headaches.

There are many different types of headaches and knowing what type you have can be a huge help in trying to find relief. There are tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and allergy headaches to name a few. Many times, people will use descriptive terms to try to classify their headaches. Those terms are helpful in giving you an idea of what that person is experiencing, but it is not truly defining the headache by type. Terms that I have heard used over the years are dull, achy, throbbing, nauseating, and light sensitive. People will also use terms that are symptom related to describe their headaches. They will use terms like stiff neck, brain fog, unable to focus, blurry vision, sick, or loss of appetite when describing their headache. For our purposes we are going to break headaches down into three basic types: vascular (migraine), muscle tension (stress), and illness (disease and injury). There are more types that are recognized, but many of them can be categorized together. In the example below, the cluster headache can be considered a subset of the migraine type. For simplicity of home care of headaches, I will limit our focus to just the three types italicized above.

When we use these three general types of descriptions, we can do more to choose a treatment at home to stop the headache pain. Remember, pain is the last symptom to show up and the first symptom to leave. If we know what is responsible for the current onset of the headache, we can ease the pain faster.

Be sure and check out our next week's blog when we take a deeper look at the types of headaches and how to recognize them. We will talk about each of their potential causes and how the symptoms present themselves. We will start talking more specifically about what we can do at home to help with these terrible maladies.

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