Hell of headaches

> Ex­pert has tips on how to avoid them

The Sun (Malaysia) - - HEALTH -

HEADACHES are more com­mon than you think. Some of us sel­dom have them. Others get them reg­u­larly. How can we ease the pain when they do strike? And can we pre­vent them al­to­gether?

Headache ex­pert Charly Gaul of the Ger­man Headache and Mi­graine So­ci­ety has some an­swers.

What causes headaches? Causes are of­ten not easy to iden­tify, but there are trig­gers. These can be as di­verse as de­hy­dra­tion, a change in the weather, too much sun or drink­ing al­co­hol. A headache can also be a symp­tom of an ill­ness such as flu.

What dif­fer­en­ti­ates nor­mal headaches from mi­graines? Ex­perts call the nor­mal ones “ten­sion headaches”. The pain may af­fect one or both sides of the head, and may throb. It’s usu­ally only pain, noth­ing on top. How­ever, some pa­tients do feel that pain very strongly.

Mi­graines are dif­fer­ent. As well as caus­ing se­vere pain, mi­graines are also char­ac­terised by nau­sea, ex­treme sen­si­tiv­ity to light, sounds and, of­ten, smells. Com­monly only one side of the head hurts. Mi­graine at­tacks can last any­thing be­tween four and 72 hours.

How do we treat nor­mal headaches? While move­ment of­ten makes a mi­graine worse, some ac­tiv­ity can help ease ten­sion headaches. Ap­ply­ing pep­per­mint oil to the tem­ples and the back of the neck can also al­le­vi­ate the pain. Over-the­counter drugs such as parac­eta­mol and ibupro­fen would be the next step, al­though these aren’t re­ally re­quired for light headaches.

What helps against mi­graines? A mi­graine is a sig­nal from the brain that it needs rest. With­drawal to a dark­ened room is the first step. Suf­fer­ers can take the afore­men­tioned over-the­counter medicines, al­though some­times these don’t al­le­vi­ate the pain caused by mi­graines. If that’s the case, trip­tane should be taken. This spe­cial medicine also helps counter the side­ef­fects of a mi­graine, though it should only be taken af­ter con­sult­ing a doc­tor.

How do we pre­vent headaches and mi­graines? For some peo­ple, a headache or mi­graine can be brought on sim­ply by drink­ing a glass of red wine. If you no­tice these trig­gers, you should steer clear of them – in this case, it would be bet­ter to avoid al­co­hol com­pletely.

Reg­u­larly get­ting en­durance train­ing and re­lax­ation ex­er­cises can also help with pre­ven­tion. For se­verely af­flicted pa­tients, doc­tors will pre­scribe med­i­ca­tion to head off the headaches. – dpa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.