Head ache :

Headaches are one of the most common pain-related health problems in both children and adults. You may have a headache along with another minor health problem such as a sore throat, cold, or sinus problem.

Types of headaches

The most common types of headaches usually are not serious but may occur again and again.

  • Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are often caused by stress and emotional strain. Most adults have tension headaches from time to time, and everyone may have different areas of pain.
  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraine headaches. Approximately one-third of people who have migraine headaches first began having them as teenagers.                                 

Tension headaches can cause pain:

  • In your upper back and neck.
  • At the base of your head.
  • Around your ears.
  • In your jaw.
  • Above your eyes.

Common causes of headaches

Common causes of headaches include:

  • Alcohol, caffeine, or other drug use or withdrawal.
  • Changes in the levels of chemicals in the body (neurotransmitters).
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Dehydration.
  • Dental problems or procedures, such as pain from grinding the teeth or from a root canal.
  • Eating or drinking cold foods and fluids.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Exposure to smoke or fumes from chemicals, including carbon monoxide.
  • Eyestrain.
  • Fever.
  • High altitude. Lower oxygen levels at high altitudes can cause headaches.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Infection in the sinuses, such as sinusitis or an abscess.
  • Medical procedures, such as the aftereffects of a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).
  • Medicines. Many medicines can cause headaches.
  • Muscle strain in the neck, upper back, or shoulder muscles.
  • Upper respiratory infections.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Home Treatment

Most of the time headaches get better or go away with home treatment and do not require a visit to a doctor. Home treatment for headaches can often help reduce the severity of pain and the length of time the pain is present. Home treatment may also relieve other symptoms, such as fever, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, or muscle aches. Start home treatment as soon as you can. Be sure to review the home treatment information for any other symptoms you may have.

If your doctor has prescribed a specific treatment for your headaches, begin treatment as soon as a headache starts. Be sure to follow his or her instructions when taking any prescription medicine for your headache.

For mild pain without other symptoms, try the following:

  • Rest in a quiet, dark room.
  • Place a cool compress on your forehead.
  • Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs.

Reduce headaches

You may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches by trying:

  • Relaxation exercises. These exercises can help take away tension and stress that cause headaches or make them worse.
  • Heat, such as hot water bottles, heating pads, or hot baths, to relax tense muscles. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Ice, such as an ice pack applied to the back or the neck or the temples.
  • Massage therapy, biofeedback, and other complementary medicine treatments can reduce muscle tension, especially in your neck and shoulder muscles. Muscle tension can cause headaches or make them worse.

Headaches in children

When your child has headaches:

  • Talk to your child. Let him or her know you care. Extra attention and quiet time may be all that is needed to relieve the pain.
  • If your child's doctor has prescribed a specific treatment for his or her headaches, begin treatment as soon as your child complains of the pain.
  • Let your child rest quietly in a darkened room with a cool compress on his or her forehead.
  • If your child's headache pain is mild, encourage him or her to go on with normal activities.
  • Let your child do his or her usual activities if he or she feels like it unless the headache pain is moderate to severe.

Prevent headaches:

  • Eat regularly. Do not skip meals. Choose nutritious foods. Do not fill up on salty foods or carbonated beverages.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Set a bedtime and time to get up, and stick to them, even on weekends. This will help your body get used to a regular sleep time. Avoid oversleeping.
  • Physical therapy may help you strengthen your neck muscles, improve your posture, and increase your mobility.

Practice good posture and body mechanics at home and at work:

  • Sit straight in your chair with your lower back supported. If you sit most of the day, take breaks once an hour to stretch your neck muscles. There are some specific neck exercises you can do during your breaks.
  • If you work at a computer, adjust your monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level. Use a document holder to keep the copy at the same level as the screen.
  • If you frequently use the telephone, consider a headset or speakerphone. Do not cradle the handset between your shoulder and your ear.

Headaches can often be prevented by avoiding things that may cause, or "trigger," the pain. Although these triggers may be different for different people, generally avoid:

  • Alcohol and caffeine (coffee, tea, or soda pop).
  • Sudden caffeine withdrawal.
  • Foods, such as very salty foods or foods that contain the preservative MSG.
  • Poor eating habits, including missing meals, extreme diets, and fasting.
  • Dehydration.
  • Changes in usual sleep patterns, not getting enough sleep, or oversleeping.
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Medicines, such as heart medicines, blood pressure medicines, and hormones.
  • Poor posture and body mechanics.
  • Smoking cigarettes or cigars, or breathing secondhand smoke.
  • Glare from sunlight or artificial light.
  • Exposure to strong odors.
  • Strain in the muscles of the jaw from grinding or clenching teeth or chewing gum.

To prevent a child's headache:

  • Make sure your child gets enough rest.
  • Offer frequent nutritious snacks and beverages during the day. Do not allow your child to fill up on salty foods or carbonated beverages.
  • Do not allow your child to skip meals.