According to the World Health Organization, the most common type of headache is the tension headache. This affects two-thirds of men and over 80% of women worldwide. Statistics reveal that up to one in 20 adults has a headache every, or nearly every, day.
Dr Ela Manga, medical director of the Woodlands Wellness and Spa, says that the tension headache usually begins at the back of the neck and spreads across the scalp causing a dull, tight feeling across the head. “Muscular tension caused by poor posture, stress, and toxic build-up from digestive disorders are common causes.” Sinus pain (often confused with migraine and tension headaches) is caused by the build-up of fluid in the sinuses as a result of an infection or allergy. “It is important to be sure of the kind of headache you have so that it can be treated appropriately.” Other headaches are the hangover headache, post trauma headaches, headaches caused by the clenching of the jaw or dental disorders including abscesses, eyestrain headaches or side-effects from medication. Then there are those related to environmental allergies, lifestyle factors, gastrointestinal disorders, psychological stress, metabolic disturbances and systemic medical conditions such as hypertension. “In fact, anything that causes a disruption of the balance of the mind-body system can trigger a headache.”
The best thing you can do for a headache is relaxation techniques. Make sure you are well-hydrated, get adequate rest, and if necessary, take a mild painkiller. Manga recommends that pressure point therapy on the hand can be very effective. “With your right thumb and index finger, grab the most fleshy bit between your left thumb and index finger and squeeze for about a minute. Repeat on the other side.” Avoid this technique if you are pregnant. Alternatively, find a quiet space, take deep nourishing breaths and ensure your glucose levels are maintained. Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint massaged into your scalp and shoulders can be beneficial as well. All chronic headaches need to be investigated, and those associated with neurological symptoms, such as visual disturbances, or headaches that become progressively worse, are of particular concern. “Don’t ignore what your body is trying to communicate to you. A headache is a signal that something in the body is out of balance. And don’t continuously take painkillers without understanding and correcting the underlying cause.” Rather take action and seek professional advice.