Continued FROM SUNDAY, MARCH 7, 2021 EDITION
A migraine headache may involve pulsating, throbbing pain. It often occurs on one side of the head but may switch sides.
During an episode, a person may also experience:
• Sensory disturbances, such as changes in vision, known as an aura
• Sensitivity to light or sound
• Nausea, possibly with vomiting
Migraine headaches are the second most common form of primary headache. They can significantly impact the quality of life. A migraine episode may last from a few hours to 2–3 days. The frequency of episodes can vary greatly; they may occur from once a week to once a year.
• Medication overuse headache
This was once known as a rebound headache. It occurs if a person uses medication to treat headaches too often. Medication overuse headaches tend to result from taking opiate-based medications, such as those that contain codeine or morphine.
Beyond the headache, a person may experience:
• Neck pain
• Nasal congestion
• Reduced sleep quality
Symptoms can vary, and the pain may change from day to day. Persons with migraine often develop medication overuse headaches. These can cause migraine episodes to occur more frequently and become more severe.
• Cluster headache
These headaches usually last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and they may occur one to eight times per day. Cluster headaches may arise frequently for 4–12 weeks, then disappear. They tend to happen at around the same time each day. Between the clusters, the person may have no symptoms. These remission periods may last months or years.
Cluster headaches often involve:
• Brief but severe pain
• Pain around one eye
• Tearing or redness in the eye
• Drooping eyelid
• Runny nose or congestion
• Smaller pupil in one eye
• Facial sweating
• Thunderclap headache
These are sudden, severe headaches that people often describe as the “worst headache of my life.” They reach maximum intensity in under 1 minute and last longer than 5 minutes. A thunderclap headache is a secondary headache that can indicate a life-threatening condition, such as:
• An aneurysm ( bulging of an artery that can rapture)
• Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (contracting of arteries in the brain)
• Meningitis ( inflammation of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord)
• Pituitary apoplexy ( blockage or bleeding of the pituitary gland)
• Bleeding in the brain
• A blood clot in the brain (stroke)
People who experience these sudden, severe headaches should receive immediate medical care.
TREATMENT FOR HEADACHES
Rest and pain relief medication are the main treatments for headaches.
• Over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs- Panadol
• Prescription pain relief medications.
• Preventive medication for specific conditions, such as migraine
• Other treatments for underlying conditions
• To prevent medication overuse headaches, it is crucial to follow a doctor’s guidance.
Treating medication overuse headaches involves reducing or stopping the medication.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR HEADACHE
Several alternative forms of headache treatment are available, however consult a physician before using any of the options or stop using the prescribed medications.
Some of these approaches include:
• Cognitive behavioral therapy
• Herbal and nutritional health products
Certain care strategies can help prevent headaches or ease the pain, these include:
• Use a heat or ice pack against the head or neck, but avoid extreme temperatures, and never apply ice directly to the skin.
• Avoid stressors whenever possible, and use healthful coping strategies for unavoidable stress.
• Eat regular meals, taking care to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
• Get enough sleep, by following a regular routine and keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
• Exercise regularly to boost overall health and lower stress.
• Limit alcohol intake and drink plenty of water.
• Take breaks when working to stretch and prevent eye strain.
Headaches are usually diagnose base on a person’s:
• Type of pain
• Timing and pattern of attacks
In some cases, additional test or scan may be needed to rule out more serious causes of head pain. The tests may involve blood samples or imaging, such as a CT or MRI scan.
Many people experience more than one of the various types of headache. Anyone who experiences severe or reoccurring headaches should consult a doctor or otherwise receive professional care.