Different types of headaches exist as well as different causes of headaches but the pain throughout the head is a symptom they all share. Due to headaches, pain killers are one of the most commonly sold medications although their frequent use can cause more harm than good. What is more, chronic headaches are mainly caused by overuse of pain relievers. Therefore, sufferers must search for more efficient ways to alleviate symptoms of bothersome headaches.
Types of Headache
There are two main types of headaches, primary and secondary headaches. Majority of headaches are classified as primary meaning they do not have the underlying cause. On the other hand, secondary headaches are due to another diseases or medical conditions such as tumors, infections or injuries.
Primary headaches include variety of types of headaches among which migraine, cluster headaches and tension headaches are the most common.
The most common kind of primary headaches is tension-type of headaches. About 3 in 4 individuals are affected by this type of headache at least once a year. Thus tension-type headaches are often referred to as occasional headaches. The condition is more common in women than in men.
Tension-type headaches are marked by steady pain and pressure on both sides of the head, although the front and the back of the head may be affected as well. Other, accompanying symptoms of this type of headache are muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, loss of appetite, trouble concentrating, sleep disturbances and irritability.
Unlike migraine headache, the pain of tension-type headache is not aggravated by physical activity and allows most people to function normally.
Tension headaches occur sporadically and usually last between 4 and 6 hours. On the other hand, if these headaches occur frequently they are termed as chronic. Chronic tension-type headaches occur on more than 15 days in a month for at least six months.
Primary cause of tension-type headaches is still unknown. However, emotional stress, physical tension, eye strain, jet lag, lack of sleep and irregular meal pattern are considered to trigger the headache.
Treatment for Tension-type Headaches
Tension-type headaches are usually treated with pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and narcotics. Although these analgesics effectively alleviate the pain, their overuse can cause different side effects. Also, prolonged use of pain relievers can cause headaches to recur due to medications that are wearing off. This can finally result in dependence on medications and chronic daily medications.
Aromatherapy can be used in treatment of tension-type headaches as an alternative to analgesics. Variety of essential oils with analgesic property can bring relief to this type of headaches.
Lavender essential oil is one of the best essential oils for pain relief. It has soothing and relaxing effect and can improve sleep.
Peppermint essential oil can be used for treatment of lethargy, fatigue, upset stomach and nausea as well as to stimulate appetite.
Rosemary essential oil is also helpful as it can improve concentration and ease the pain.
These oils can be applied on the temples, forehead and back of the neck or can be inhaled by using diffuser or personal inhaler.
Marjoram essential oil can help to relax the muscles and increase blood flow to the brain. It can be used for a massage and to treat muscles stiffness in the neck and shoulders.