A headache is a pain in the head which almost everyone feels at one time or another. Almost half of all people have a headache at least once a year. Most headaches are not dangerous but they get in the way of your work and disturb your life. Although many people see a doctor when they have a headache, physicians normally cannot see any causes in their offices.


Types of headaches

There are two main types of headaches- tension headaches and migraines.

Tension headaches cause a mild to strong pain in the head. Many people describe such headaches as a tightening feeling.  Some headaches cause a dull pain that can last for hours. They occur anywhere from the front to the back of your head. Other people feel a sharp, throbbing pain in their head.

About 20% of all headaches are migraines. They are strong headaches that can cause extreme pain. They can last as long as a couple of days. Warning signs like nausea, vomiting and seeing flashes of light sometimes occur shortly before migraines attack. Such a forewarning is called an aura. Migraines are often passed down to you from your parents and grandparents.




Causes of headaches

Headaches are a disorder of the nervous system. Even though the exact causes of a headache are not clear most of them are caused by the widening of blood vessels combined with chemicals that are set free around them. Nerves send pain messages to your brain.

 There are many factors that can lead to a headache. Here are some of them:

  • not enough sleep
  • not enough water
  • stress
  • watching TV or looking at a computer screen for a long time
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • coffee, tea and certain foods


Sometimes headaches can be caused by injuries and infections. Emotional factors like depression, sadness, being afraid of something can also lead to pain in the head.

How to fight off headaches

Pain relievers and other drugs are often used to combat headaches. Many people take aspirin when they have a headache. Doctors also suggest that patients should relax when they experience a headache. In some cases, changing your diet may result in relieving pain and weakening headaches.

In any case, you should exercise regularly and get a lot of fresh air. This may not make headaches disappear completely but it can help make you feel better.



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  • although = while
  • blood vessel = tube in your body through which blood flows
  • brain = organ inside your head that controls how you feel, think and move
  • cause = lead to
  • cause = source; what makes something happen
  • combat = fight off
  • combined = together with
  • diet = the food that you eat regularly
  • disappear = go away
  • disorder = disease that prevents you from working the way should
  • disturb = here: to make you feel bad
  • dull = not very strong but something that does not stop
  • exercise = do sports or other activities to stay healthy and make your body stronger
  • experience = have
  • flash = bright light that shines for a short time
  • forewarning = something bad that is expected to happen
  • injury = damage to your body caused by an accident
  • message = information
  • nausea = feeling that you have when you are going to throw up
  • nervous system = made up of nerves, brain and your back ; it controls your movements and how the body feels pain
  • occur = happen
  • pain = the feeling you get when a part of your body hurts
  • pain reliever =medicine or drug that reduces pain or makes it go away
  • pass down = here: you get it from someone else in your family
  • physician = doctor
  • regularly = often
  • relax = rest
  • set free = release
  • sharp = sudden and strong
  • tension = a tight feeling
  • throb = beat
  • vomit = when food comes back up through your mouth because you are ill
  • weakening = to make weaker
  • widening = to make wider