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Types Of Headache

You’ve been planning to attend a fun social event and everything seems to be going on fine, until a headache abruptly strikes on the day. And that incessant annoying pain just refuses to go away.

Painkillers and massaging with pain relief oils helps to ease the condition to a certain extent, but it can take a considerable amount of time for the symptoms to subside completely. Identifying headache triggers can help you prevent the headache before it happens by addressing the root cause of the problem, and can also prove extremely useful in dealing with the pain if one does.

Types Of Headache
Knowing the type of a headache you’re suffering from can help you to effectively deal with the problem. Headaches can be classified into over 150 types! The range from throbbing, pounding pain to a continuous ache on one or both sides of your head. The pain can be experienced in your forehead, temples, head, and/or at the back of your neck. Other symptoms can accompany headaches including nausea, sensitivity to sound, light and smell, feeling lightheaded, blurry vision, and eye pain.

The four most common types of headaches are

Migraine
Migraines can last from a few hours to a couple of days and tend to occur one or more times per month. People with migraine also experience symptoms of nausea, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and sound, upset stomach, and loss of appetite.

Tension Headache
Tension headaches—also known as chronic non-progressive headaches—are daily headaches or stress headaches and are more prevalent among teenagers and adults. This type of headache can come and go over time and may be exacerbated by stiff neck muscles.

Mixed Headache Syndrome
Mixed Headaches, also referred to as transformed migraines, cause a combination of the symptoms associated with migraines and tension headaches. Children as well as adults can experience this type of headache.

Sinus Headache
Inflamed sinuses can trigger pain in your forehead, cheeks, and the bridge of your nose. The symptoms associated with a sinus headache include fever, runny nose, facial swelling, and pressure in the ear.

Cluster Headaches
The least common but most severe, cluster headaches cause intense piercing pain behind the eyes. They occur in groups which can last from a couple of weeks to months before disappearing but can reappear after months or years.

Relationship Between Stress, Fatigue, and Headaches
Stress largely contributes to headaches. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system is your body’s natural stress-fighting mechanism, comprised of six circuits and various organs intricately interconnected and working in unison. Your adrenal glands are a pair of walnut-shaped glands located above your kidneys and are a vital part of your NEM stress response system. During stressful situations, your adrenals receive the signal to secrete the anti-stress hormone cortisol in an attempt to protect your body against stress. However, if your body is exposed to stress repeatedly, your adrenal glands can become overburdened and will no longer be able to secrete adequate amounts of cortisol. This reduces your body’s stress-fighting abilities and can lead to adrenal fatigue.

Migraines may cause fatigue, however, if you frequently experience extreme fatigue along with additional symptoms, such as brain fog, difficulty waking up, insomnia, constipation, low energy levels, anxiety, stubborn weight gain, low concentration levels, and cravings for salty and fatty foods, you may be dealing with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

It’s important to note since they are interrelated, AFS can trigger migraines and migraines can trigger AFS. Stress is a major contributing factor to both AFS and headache triggers.

People with chronic migraines are often dependent on painkillers. Long-term use of medications can gradually lead to the build-up of toxins in your system, which can overload your detoxification circuit—the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system—and cause congestion. This imbalance of your detoxification circuit can disturb your body’s stress response system triggering unpleasant symptoms, such as brain fog, low energy levels, and insomnia, which are often experienced by both AFS and migraine sufferers.

Those suffering from AFS often experience reactive hypoglycemia, food sensitivities, sleep disturbances, slowed detoxification processes, and increased inflammation, which are all headache triggers. Fasting causes your blood sugar levels to drop, moreover, not eating regularly can result in hypoglycaemia, again giving rise to headaches. In addition, disturbed sleeping patterns, such as frequently waking up in the middle of the night, can make you more prone to headaches. Sufferers of AFS may develop sensitivities to foods they may not have been allergic or intolerant to previously. Allergy symptoms are often triggered by dairy, gluten, food preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. With AFS, various bodily functions, including your metabolism, tend to slow down in an attempt by your body to conserve energy. This also affects your body’s detoxification circuit since waste is no longer eliminated promptly, therefore, over time toxins such as mercury, copper and other chemicals—particularly those found in birth control pills—accumulate in your body and act as a series of headache triggers.

Factors Contributing to Headache Triggers
Various factors can trigger headaches but identifying them can help you address the root cause of your pain.
Here is a list of factors known to be headaches triggers:

Red Wine and Cheese
Red wine and cheese can make a lovely pairing. However, eating too much of them could be triggering your headaches. Red wine and certain types of aged cheese contain tyramine—a byproduct of the protein breakdown process—which restricts your blood vessels and may cause headaches. Furthermore, polyphenols found in red wine can also contribute to headaches.

Fix it: Consider replacing aged cheese with low-fat processed cheese or raw cheese and restrict your wine intake.

Smoked Meat
Do you often enjoy smoked meat? Then you should be aware that smoked meats contain the preservative nitrate, which can set off headaches in some people. In fact, all packaged meat including smoked, cured, and canned, as well as beef jerky, pastrami, and deli meat, contain these preservatives and therefore exert an additional load on your system causing you to feel stressed and fatigued. In addition, nitrates have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes, and stroke.

According to Barry Jordan, MD, a neurologist at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and Assistant Medical Director, migraine patients are more sensitive to food preservatives and highly susceptible to headaches triggered by these foods.

Fix it: Maintaining a food journal can be extremely useful for identifying your trigger foods. Then you can alter your diet to avoid them. Consider limiting or completely removing processed meat and packaged foods that are loaded with preservatives. Next time you have a craving for smoked meat, consider grilling some fresh organic meat at home instead.

Chilled Foods
Quickly consuming chilled or frozen foods can cause an ice-cream headache or brain freeze for a short duration. Researchers are yet to find the exact cause of this pain. However, John Hopkins Headache Center states that a headache is triggered by a combination of the effect of cold on the blood vessels on the roof of your mouth and direct stimulation of temperature-sensitive nerves. Those with sensitive teeth are more prone to the condition and pain is triggered by nerve endings of the teeth and head.

Fix it: If you experience headaches from consuming cold foods, consider eating frozen foods at a slower pace.

Dehydration
Dehydration can cause secondary headaches, a condition in which pain-sensitive nerves in your head become activated. As your body becomes dehydrated, the blood vessels of your brain narrow in an attempt to conserve water.

Fix it: Drinking adequate water can help relieve headaches. It’s important to drink 3–4 liters of water a day to keep your body hydrated.

Caffeine Withdrawal
Are you trying to give up coffee? Caffeine withdrawal can cause unpleasant symptoms including headaches. The main reason for this is that caffeine has physiological effects on your vascular system and can cause irregular contraction and dilation of your blood vessels, which is one of the many headache triggers. According to the National Headache Foundation, caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be intense, especially if you were consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine per day for at least two weeks previous.

Fix it: An alternative therapy for caffeine withdrawal-related headaches has yet to be found. However, gradually reducing your caffeine intake can help minimize the symptoms.

Hormone Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can trigger headaches in women. One major culprit is an imbalance in the progesterone-to-estrogen ratio. Many women experience headaches during menstruation due to the accompanying drop in estrogen levels. Some women may even be prone to migraines during pregnancy or menopause.

Fix it: Hormone replacement therapy may provide relief for some women. However, others may be sensitive to the medications used, which can actually worsen the pain.

Poor Posture
Poor posture can lead to various health issues including headaches. Maintaining a poor posture over long a period of time can cause tension in your shoulders, upper back, and neck, creating throbbing pain at the base of your skull. The pain may then be referred to your forehead and face.

Fix It: Avoid standing or sitting in the same position for a long time. Sit up straight to support your lower back and use a special headset if you spend long hours on the phone. You could also seek guidance from a physical therapist to help identify and correct any postural issues.

Anger
Anger causes the muscles of your scalp and back of your neck to become tense leading to a tight band-like sensation all around your head, which is a sign of a tension headache.

Fix It: When you feel yourself becoming angry, take some deep long breaths in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. This may help relax your neck and head muscles.

Other headache triggers include certain perfumes, long commuting hours, nausea, disturbed sleep patterns, bad weather, exposure to pollution, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, indigestion, and constipation.

Dealing with Chronic Headaches
Identifying your headache triggers can help you to avoid them and prevent the pain before it even starts. You may also find that maintaining a journal with notes on your lifestyle, food sensitivities, and diet is useful in identifying triggers. If your migraines are caused by AFS, it’s best to seek advice from an adrenal fatigue expert since conventional medicines may fail to recognize this condition. Once you’ve identified your triggers and have a clearer picture, dealing with your chronic migraines and correcting the problem will become easier. It’s important to minimize the use of painkillers that only provide temporary relief but do not address the root cause of your symptoms. A healthy diet, moderate exercise, adequate rest, avoiding headache triggers, and managing your stress levels can help you recover from AFS and prevent headaches.

Conclusion
Headaches can throw your life completely out of gear. In addition, they can give rise to a set of unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to sound, light, and smell, lightheadedness, blurry vision, and eye pain, leaving you feeling fatigued. There are numerous types of headache and headache triggers you may be sensitive to. Therefore, identifying the type of headaches you’re experiencing as well as your triggers can be extremely helpful in relieving your pain and will enable you to stay away from triggers in the future. Eating a nutritious diet, doing regular exercise, managing stress through yoga or other methods, getting quality sleep, and identifying and avoiding your headache triggers are key steps for reducing your headaches and associated symptoms and improving your overall wellbeing.


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