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A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Headaches


Headaches:  A headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp or neck. Serious causes of headaches are very rare.  Most people with headaches can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax and sometimes by taking medications. The most common type of headaches are likely caused by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. These are called tension headaches.

Headaches may be related to stress, depression, anxiety, a head injury, or holding your head and neck in an abnormal position. Tension headaches tend to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing, like a tight band or vice. Your shoulders, neck or jaw may feel tight or sore.

Some headaches are a side effect of taking a particular medication and frequent headaches can also be caused by taking too many painkillers. Other causes of headaches are drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough sleep, skipping meals and becoming dehydrated.

Migraines are less common. If a headache is recurrent and disabling to the point of stopping you from carrying on with daily life, it may be a migraine. People describe migraines as a pounding or throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.


If you’ve been getting really bad headaches it’s natural to wonder if there’s something seriously wrong, like a brain tumour. This is extremely rare and the cause is almost always something else. However, it’s best to see a doctor if:

  •     you feel unwell between your headaches
  •     your headaches aren’t relieved by pharmacy treatments
  •     your headaches are so painful that they’re limiting your ability to get on with life or are causing you to miss work
MIGRAINES

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies
    


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