Headaches: Causes and Cures

Headaches: Causes and Cures

Nearly everyone experiences a headache at least sometimes. Most often they’re caused by conditions that are treatable. If you experience headaches on a frequent basis, please contact your physician so they can be sure to evaluate your condition and prescribe the best treatment options as well as rule out anything more serious, such as tumors or other brain conditions.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. Physical, mental, or emotional stress can cause the muscles around the skull to spasm, creating a tension headache.

We recommend trying to reduce the amount of stress you’re under, if possible. If you need short-term relief, over-the-counter pain medications have been proven to help, including aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve). You can also ask a massage therapist about releasing your sub occipital muscles, which may bring relief. If these headaches continue regularly over the course of a few weeks, you should consult your doctor.


If your headaches frequently throb on only one side of your head, you are likely experiencing a migraine. The pain can cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

To cure migraines, you can try to determine and then manage whatever may trigger a headache. It’s best to avoid alcohol, eat full meals on a regular schedule, limit your caffeine consumption, and minimize sleep disruptions. Using ice packs and anti-inflammatory agents can relieve the pain. Relaxation techniques, such as massage, tai chi, and yoga, may help. Also ask your doctor about migraine medication prescriptions and to rule out a more serious condition.

Allergies and Sinus

Common symptoms of both sinus headaches and migraine headaches include facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion, and pain at the front of the forehead. However, sinus headaches are not as common as people think. What people often self-diagnose as a sinus headache is actually a migraine. A true sinus headache is often associated with a sinus infection.

Cluster Headaches

These headaches occur on the same side of the head each time and about the same time each day. The pain may last for only thirty or ninety minutes, but this pattern recurs for weeks, months, or years. These headaches appear to be linked to genetics and biochemistry and can be triggered by changes in medications or sleep patterns.

Cluster headaches are difficult to treat. You should see your doctor about them. He or she may recommend oxygen doses, injected medications, or other medications. You could also massage any sore spots on your thumb and the space between your thumb and index finger; this reflexology method may also bring relief.

Quality of Life

Now that you have more information about the most common types of headaches, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your physician for pain relief if other options haven’t worked, and to be sure there’s nothing more serious causing your headaches.