su rprise reasons your head hurts
There are some unusual causes of head pain. Here are the remedies to tackle them...
Headaches are a fairly common ailment, affecting a staggering nine million South Africans, according to statistics released by The Headache Clinic – with women more likely to be affected than men. Most of us tend to brush off regular headaches as the result of everyday stress but your diet, sleeping patterns and your sex life could be to blame for your migraines – and could even signal something more serious if left unchecked.
‘ The two most common headache triggers are dehydration and low blood sugar – usually caused by going for too long without eating,’ explains headache specialist Professor Anne MacGregor.
FIX IT Drink lots of water. In a study published in the EuropeanJournalof Neurology, headache sufferers who drank an additional 1,5 litres of water a day for 12 weeks dramatically reduced their number of headaches. And ideally, eat regular meals to avoid low blood sugar. If you’re trying to lose weight by intermittent fasting, make sure your fast days aren’t consecutive. 3. The WEEKE ND Sleeping in for just half an hour can trigger a weekend headache, particularly in coffee addicts. ‘ Because caffeine affects the blood vessels in the brain, withdrawal or even a reduction at the weekends – exacerbated by low blood sugar due to a later breakfast – can cause pain,’ says Prof. MacGregor.
FIX IT Restrict coffee intake to a maximum of four cups a day during the week and try getting up at the same time each day.
4. THE WEATHER
If you’re prone to headaches, you could find that grey skies, high humidity, rising temperatures and storms can all bring on head pain. The pressure changes that cause weather changes are also thought to trigger chemical changes in the brain, irritating the nerves and leading to a headache for some people. Changes in barometric pressure triggered pain in 73% of migraine sufferers, according to a survey by the US National Headache Foundation. FIX IT Obviously there’s nothing you can do to change the weather, but by looking at the forecast you can predict when you’re likely to have a headache and take a preventive painkiller in advance.
5. YOUR HAIR STYLE
Ponytails, plaits, chignons, tight-fitting hats and Alice bands can all be the cause of headaches if the hair is pulled back tightly. The hair shaft itself doesn’t feel any pain, but the pulling sensation can strain the sensitive nerves in your scalp. FIX IT Just don’t tie your hair up – or back – too tightly!
6. HAVING SEX
Traditionally used as an excuse to avoid sex, a headache can actually be a common side effect of love making. According to a report, headaches associated with sexual activity affect both men and women. ‘ The usual complaint is of a dull ache in the back of the head, which gradually intensifies as sexual excitement increases. But some people experience a sudden, explosive and piercing headache at orgasm that lasts up to half an hour,’ explains Prof. MacGregor.
FIX IT Take a couple of paracetamol 30 minutes before intercourse. Although usually harmless, coital headaches should always be checked out as, occasionally, they can result from an aneurysm. See your GP to have it looked into, or if you have any new, or sudden-onset headaches.
7. GETTING ANGRY
Anger makes the muscles in the back of your head and neck tense, which can lead to a tension headache. You also take short breaths when you’re feeling anxious, and the less oxygen you take in, the more blood vessels constrict, causing head pain.
FIX IT When you start to feel angry, try breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and out through your mouth to relax your head and shoulder muscles. Learn coping strategies, such as letting go of things that are beyond your control.