Why Do We Get Headaches?

Updated at: Feb 10, 2015
Why Do We Get Headaches?

Everyone gets a headache at some point. Headaches (throbbing pain in your head) come in many forms and there can be many reasons behind aching temples, ranging from poor nutrition to stress and poor blood flow.

Himanshu Sharma
PainWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Feb 10, 2015

Everyone gets a headache at some point. Headaches (throbbing pain in your head) come in many forms and there can be many reasons behind aching temples, ranging from poor nutrition to stress.


headaches causes


Reasons for Headaches

Health experts have classified headaches into two categories – primary and secondary. Primary headaches are the ones that don’t have any association with an underlying medical condition. Secondary headaches are the ones that occur as complications for infections, fever, dental conditions and other medical reasons.


Primary headaches

Migraine is one of the most common forms of headache. It is caused because of the reduced blood flow to various areas of the cerebral cortex. Tension headaches are primary headaches that are caused by muscular strains in the head and neck and/or emotional stress. Eye strain (poor vision) is another reason behind tension headaches. Cluster headaches are headaches that occur repeatedly or over a period of weeks or even months. These usually occur on one side of the head and are centered around the eye. The change in blood flow is the most common cause of cluster headaches.


reasons for headaches


Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches occur as a result of some other problem or medical condition. Once you recover from the condition, you get rid of the secondary headaches.


What to do for headaches?

  • Ice pack: Applying ice packs to your temples and forehead can help ease your headache. Cold compress numbs the pain and lowers the temperature to shrink blood vessels that are enlarged and stimulate pumping blood at an increased rate.
  • Heat therapy: Applying heat to the back of your neck can alleviate a tension headache as it helps loosen tense muscles. You can also take a hot shower or use a hot water bottle to lessen the headache.
  • Medication: Most headaches (other than migraine) can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as aspirin.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Sometime the reason for headaches is poor lifestyle habits such as poor diet, not enough sleep, inactivity and stress. Make a change by eating more fresh foods and making time for exercise, relaxation and rejuvenation.

When you have been experiencing chronic or frequent headache, see your physician. It may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For women, checking hormonal imbalances may be helpful.


(Image source:Getty)

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