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DEAL WITH YOUR HEADACHE (PART 2)


Home Care

There may be things you can do to relieve the symptoms of a headache. Try to treat the symptoms right away.
When migraine symptoms begin:
  • Drink water to avoid getting dehydrated, especially if you have vomited
  • Rest in a quiet, dark room
  • Place a cool cloth on your head
  • Use any relaxation techniques you have learned
If your doctor has already told you what type of headaches you have, you can do many things to manage migraines or tension headaches at home. Your doctor may have already prescribed medicines to treat your type of headache.
Keep a headache diary to help find the source or trigger of your symptoms. Then change your environment or habits to avoid future headaches. When a headache occurs, write down:
  • The date and time the headache began
  • What you ate for the past 24 hours
  • How long you slept the night before
  • What you were doing and thinking about just before the headache started
  • Any stress in your life
  • How long the headache lasted
  • What you did to make it stop
Try acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen for tension headaches. Do NOT give aspirin to children because of the risk of Reye syndrome Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other blood thinners if there is a chance that you might have bleeding in your head (from a subdural hematoma, aneurysm, or other injury). Talk to your doctor if you are taking pain medicines 3 or more days a week.
At a point though, you might need to consult a medical professional, so when is that time?
Some headaches may be a sign of a more serious illness. At that time, contacting a medical professional is paramount. But how do you know when the headache is more than just a headache?
Look out for this warning signs:
  •  This is the first headache you have ever had in your life and it interferes with your daily activities
  • Your headache comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent
  • You would describe your headache as “your worst ever,” even if you regularly get headaches
  • You also have slurred speech, a change in vision, problems moving your arms or legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss with your headache
  • Your headache gets worse over a 24-hour period
  • You also have a fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting with your headache
  • Your headache occurs with a head injury
  • Your headache is severe and just in one eye, with redness in that eye
  • You are over age 50 and your headaches just began, especially if you also have vision problems and pain while chewing
  • You have cancer and develop a new headache
In case you are thinking a visit to the hospital for a small headache might be a waste of time, then you need to think twice. Your life might be involved. Here is what to expect though at your hospital visit.
Your health care provider will take a medical history and will perform an examination of your head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and nervous system.
The diagnosis is usually based on your history of symptoms. A “headache diary” may be helpful for recording information about headaches over a period of time. Your health care provider may ask questions such as:
  • Is the headache located in your forehead,

    around your eyes, in the back of your head, near your temples, behind your eyeball, or all over?

  • Is the headache on one side only?
  • Is this a new type of headache for you?
  • Would you describe the headache as throbbing?
  • Is there a pressure or band-like sensation?
  • When does the headache occur?
  • How long have you had headaches?
  • How long does each headache last?
  • Does the headache wake you up from sleep? Are the headaches worse during the day and better at night?
  • Did other symptoms begin shortly after the headaches began? Do you have repeat headaches?
  • Does the headache reach maximum intensity over 1 – 2 hours?
  • Are the headaches worse when you are lying down? Standing up?
  • Are the headaches worse when you cough or strain?
  • Do they occur at a specific time related to your menstrual period?
  • What home treatment have you tried? How well did it work?
You might also be required to carry out some tests which may include:
  • Blood tests or a lumbar puncture if you may have an infection
  • Head CT scan or MRI if you have any danger signs or you’ve been having headaches for a while
  • Sinus x-rays  
  • CT or MR angiography
Answer these questions yourself and you are good to go for the test with Doctor. Your Health is important so is your beauty. A resounding head would not give you the opportunity to look so beautiful.
References
Digre KB. Headaches and other head pain. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 405.
Kwiatkowski T, Alagappan K. Headache. In: Marx JA, Hockberger Rs, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 101.
New York Times health guide 27 October 2014

Odinekachukwu Ishicheli

Creative Director – Faysslift (www.faysslift.com)
Beauty Editor – Rough Africa

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