Headache treatment depends largely on determining the cause of the headache. Tension headaches can usually be treated by the use of over-the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or even aspirin. When tension or stress is the cause, nondrug options may include massage to relieve muscle tension, yoga and other forms of exercise, and working less when possible.
The treatment of migraine headaches is somewhat more involved and may involve a number of different approaches to the pain....
Doctors don’t know the exact causes of migraines, although they seem to be related to changes in the brain as well as to genes that run in families. People can even inherit the triggers that give them migraines, such as fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, and others.
For many years, scientists believed that migraines were caused by changes in blood flow in the brain. Many now think that they happen because of flaws in the brain passed down from parents.
A migraine starts when overactive nerve cells send out signals that make the brain’s blood vessels narrow, then expand. That creates the sensation of pulsating pain.
What Triggers a Migraine?
Some common triggers include:
Stress. This is one of the most common triggers. When you’re stressed, your brain releases chemicals that can cause the blood vessel changes that can lead to a migraine.
Foods. Some foods and drinks, such as aged cheese, alcohol, and food additives like nitrates (in pepperoni, hot dogs, lunchmeats) and monosodium glutamate (MSG) may be responsible for up to 30% of migraines.
Caffeine. Getting too much caffeine or withdrawal from it can cause headaches when the level in your body abruptly drops. Blood vessels seem to get used to caffeine, and when you don’t have any, you may get a headache. Caffeine itself can be a treatment for acute migraine attacks.
Changes in weather. Storm fronts, changes in barometric pressure, strong winds, or changes in altitude can all trigger a migraine.
Yes, migraines seem to run in families. Four out of 5 people with the condition have other family members who have them, too. If one parent has a history of migraines, their child has a 50% chance of getting them, and if both parents have them, the risk jumps to 75%.