Jul 31, 2008 05:00PM
● By Super Admin
Ninety percent of headaches are tension, migraine or cluster. The remaining 10 percent of headaches are caused by more serious underlying medical conditions such as an infection or tumor.
The tension headache is classified as either episodic (once in awhile) or chronic (repetitive). These headaches include pain around the crown of the head and dull pounding. They are related to stress, computer work and eye strain.
The migraine, or vascular headache, can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Sufferers may experience sensitivity to light, visual changes, or nausea and vomiting. Rest, sleep and complete darkness are methods used to shake the symptoms.
Research has shown that alcohol, chocolate, cheese and nuts may trigger migraines. Also, MSG, a flavor enhancer, may be a culprit. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men, as a correlation has been linked to menstrual cycles and hormonal changes.
It is still debatable whether or not headaches are related to strokes. According to the National Headache Foundation, while the likelihood of a migraine attack causing a stroke is remote, the leading factor for those under the age of 40 is a migraine headache.
Men are more commonly affected by the cluster headache, in which very sudden, intense, localized pain behind one eye is experienced. This headache can last for a few minutes to several hours, and is characterized by returning each day around the same time. It can be triggered by alcohol consumption or smoking, and stress seems to be related to their frequency.
Treatment options for headaches include over-the-counter and prescription drugs, lifestyle changes including stress management and relaxation, and holistic approaches. Getting adequate sleep, monitoring caffeine intake, and logging dietary intake and daily activities may also help with headache management.
Another option specifically for migraine relief is chiropractic treatment. The goal of this approach is to alleviate pain by relaxing neck tension and easing the range of motion. Spinal adjustments help to stimulate the healing process, and some feel relief within minutes. According to Neuromuscular, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Michael Clifford, “Spinal manipulation (Chiropractic), Cranial Sacral, Neuromuscular, Acupuncture, Biofeedback and Relaxation Therapies are common manual therapies used in conjunction with medication.” Dr. Day of Goldorado Family Chiropractic in Cameron Park agrees, “I practice Cranial Sacral, which has proven to be extremely effective, reducing symptoms 30-50 percent in an hour or so.”
Other treatments can be done right at home. These include self-massage, taking warm baths, rubbing lavender oil on the temples, sipping chamomile tea, and avoiding diet colas due to their aspartame content. Another treatment is the Migra-stick, a portable stick that contains 100 percent pure peppermint and lavender essential oils. This can be applied to acupressure points such as temples, nape of neck and forehead, to relieve headache pain. The Salanpas patch, a relatively inexpensive option found in local pharmacies, can be affixed to the back of the neck as well to offer relief.
For more Headache fighting resources and answers, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville, Granite Bay, Rocklin edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.