Headaches: more than just a pain in the head

Defined by the majority of dictionaries as 'a pain in the head', headaches can inflict suffering in…
Headaches: more than just a pain in the head
Foto: Flickr

Defined by the majority of dictionaries as ‘a pain in the head’, headaches can inflict suffering in numerous other areas of the body. Think about a head pain that runs all the way down your neck, or experiencing a head pain so terrible your vision seems blurry. Today’s physicians have determined that there are a large variety of these nasty nuisances, however, a cure or method of proven prevention is something many are still waiting for.

Those who suffer persistent head pain will tell you it’s no laughing matter. Head pain can range from the so-called intense ice cream ‘brainfreeze’ that lasts for a moment or two, to migraines that can have people bedridden or for a day or more. Regardless of the duration of your ailment, head pains are often an agonizing situation that can leave a perfectly healthy person feeling less than perfect, or healthy.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that headaches are so common that a lot of people simply refer to them as a ‘typical’ headache, but what most people do not realize is that headaches have classifications of their own. The ‘typical’ headache is part of a category that includes tension, migraine, cluster or hormone headaches, while other head pains are classified as thunderclap, sinus, cough, stress, external compression, chronic daily and spinal.

One of the most common forms of this all too common affliction is the tension or stress headache. The obvious ‘cure’ for tension head pain is to avoid stress or tension, which is often easier said than done. Instead of popping over-the-counter medications in an attempt to relieve your head of its ache, there are ways to help avoid getting these powerful pains in the first place.

Beat the stress by taking better general care of your health. Again, perhaps easier said than done, but the results could mean fewer – and eventually zero – headaches. According to a study by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, the food choices we make play a major role in how we feel overall.

She explains that certain foods may have a relationship in the blood flow to the brain, which can trigger headaches. In an attempt to ward off this traditional head pain it can help to avoid foods that contain aspartame. Aspartame is a chemical, an artificial sweetener found in many sugar-free goods. Magee also suggests avoiding alcohol products such as red wine, as well as excessive caffeine consumption and caffeine withdrawal.

Staying away from foods that include other chemicals such as MSG, tyramine, nitrates and nitrites, and cutting back on the fat intake in your diet may also help to keep those annoying aches at bay. It is very important to avoid skipping proper meals by replacing them with pre-made or processed food products. Processed foods are known for their high preservative content, which adds to the potential list of known headache-triggering foods.