We have all been there before. One moment we are making our way down town, walking fast while dorm bound, and all of a sudden we feel a pain in our head start to form – sometimes it is in the front, or the back, maybe even along the sides. Regardless, it is irritating, painful, and cannot be due to anything good. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms individuals experience throughout their lives, and sometimes even amount to severe headaches and migraines, while being a fair warning of a developing disease or disorder encroaching. But what are headaches exactly, and what is the difference between them and a severe headache or migraine?
Headaches are pains that originate in the cranium that can be broken down into two general categories: primary and secondary headache disorders. Primary headaches are typically the most common that everyone has typically had at least once (or multiple) times throughout their lives. Typically, regular headaches only last for a few hours at a time, and are associated with some type of anxiety or stress in the individual’s life. Although they do not necessarily warrant medical attention, headaches can be painful enough to take a sick day over and lead to popping a few pills, downing a glass of water, and applying HeadOn directly to the forehead.
Migraines fall more into the secondary headache disorders category. These are headaches that become frequent as a result of some type of disease or disorder, such as a head injury or withdrawal. Migraines however can be caused by some of the same things as headaches, including hunger and thirst, and lead to even worse symptoms than just a mild head pain for its sufferers. Throbbing sensations can be felt throughout parts of the cranium, while nausea and a keen sensitivity to sources of light are also experienced by individuals suffering from migraines.
Excedrin, a leading migraine medication brand, published a video showing non-migraine sufferers going through a migraine experience through the use of a VR (or Virtual Reality) tool. Although it has been awhile since I personally experienced a headache, I fully recommend everyone check out the video to get a better idea of what suffering through a migraine looks like. Plus, the subjects move around and look like silly robots while using the VR device, which is pretty funny.
Interestingly enough, some types of migraines are also found to be hereditary – meaning that if say a grandparent or parent in a family suffers from migraines, it can easily be passed down to the next generation of kin. Mutations in select genes of the human body causes familial hemiplegic migraines, which are no different from regular migraines in regards to typical symptoms. Numerically speaking, the likelihood of getting this genetic mutation is about 1 out of every 10,000 individuals, and with a roughly 7.3 billion population (on 9/16/2016) count world wide, leads to the possibility of 730,000 individuals having this lineage of genetic mutations.
Women also typically have a worse time than men do when it comes to migraines – having three times the chance of suffering from migraines compared to their male counterparts. Hormonal changes seem to bring an onset of migraines from time to time, including in women who are going through menopause or pregnancy. Oddly enough, some women found that taking contraceptives increase the likelihood of migraines, while others found that contraceptives actually lower, or outright prevent, the frequency of migraine occurrences.
We can all agree that headaches and migraines are at the very least minor inconveniences, and at the worse, a major pain that lasts for days with various symptoms – but what can be done to prevent frequent episodes of headaches/migraines? The Mayo Clinic recommends that sufferers consider looking into a number of drugs, such as antidepressants, cardiovascular pills, simple pain relievers, and even an injection of botox into the forehead and some muscles. England’s National Health Service also recommends looking into changing some things around throughout everyday life in order to reduce stress and tension on the muscles. This could include exercising more or less than before, attending more massage or yoga sessions, and even maintaining a proper posture while sitting down all day at the ol’nine-to-five. So in other words, taking some time to TREAT YO SELF every once in awhile and unwinding could also help in preventing frequent episodes.
Think my fun facts are not fun at all? Did you agree or disagree with anything I posted? Have an interesting story to contribute to the post? Feel free to let me know by leaving any comments or questions here, and I hope you learned something informative from my post!