Pain in the head area due to a variety of intracranial or extracranial disorders or due to psychogenic causes is termed as a headache. According to the international headache society there are twelve categories of headache including tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches and headaches due to raised intracranial pressure.
About 70 – 80% of all headaches are classified as muscle contractions or more commonly ‘tension headaches’, which are not always caused by emotional tension but can also be caused by muscle strain, poor posture and from too much of eye strain the pain is usually constant and generalized but often radiates forward from the occipital region and is described as a dull, tight or a band – like sensation around the head. They rarely cause serious long – term problems unlike migraine and cluster headaches.
Migraines and cluster headaches are called ‘vascular headaches’. In this type of headaches there is initially an intense spasm or constriction of the blood vessels in the brain that reduces the blood flow to the brain resulting in the migraine ‘aura’ – nausea, dizziness and altered vision – which precedes the attacks of migraine this is then followed by vasodilatation of the same arteries resulting in an excessive blood flow to the head, causing the throbbing headaches. Seventy percent of the migraine sufferers are females. ‘Cluster headaches’ are short – lived, lasting less than an hour, unlike migraines. They occur in predictable ‘clusters’, three to eight week periods during which they may strike several times a day.
Many food items can trigger off migraines – it is known that chocolate or the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) stimulates an attack. MSG is found not only in Chinese food but also in frozen foods, canned foods any dry soups and many other processed foods as well. Chemicals like nitrites, which are used to preserve meats and smoked fish, can also trigger migraines even if present in small amounts. Foods such as cheddar cheese, pickled herring and red wine contain tyramine, which is a chemical compound that cause headaches other foods, which may trigger headaches, are peas and fresh bread.
Ask the patient to avoid exposure to excessive heat, cold or rain. Avoid washing head in cold water. The person should be kept free from emotional factors like anxiety, anger and worry and get more involved in doing yoga and exercises like brisk walking, swimming, aerobics, etc. get yourself involved in different hobbies or activities that you like to help you to relax and thus automatically help to decrease the headaches.
GENERAL RULES FOR INFANT CARE