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Help, Tips and Tricks Headaches: types, causes, remedies

What Causes Migraine Disease? 5 Factors in Migraine Neurobiology (June 2019).


Whether tension headaches, cluster headaches, headache pains, headaches from excessive medication or even migraine attacks: Headaches are number one on the list of neurological diseases and are experienced and endured daily by millions of men and women. We want to help and educate people about symptoms, causes, different types, and ways and means of treating headache.

Stinging, throbbing or burning headaches, one-sided or punctual suffering, pressure on the back of the head, tense temples or aching forehead - one thing the more than 200 different types of headache and migraine have in common: they are an enormous burden for many millions of people in everyday life.

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Headache is rightly called a veritable widespread disease, which affects more and more people - not excluding children and adolescents. More than 70 percent of all Germans, and thus over 54 million people, regularly have to deal with headaches. Symptoms and dreams? Are there many.

In the following we deal with these topics:

  • Primary and secondary headache
  • Headache or migraine?
  • Various types of headache
  • Headaches and their causes
  • What helps against headaches?
  • Headache in pregnancy
  • Tips for non-drug treatment
  • Headache in children

Primary and secondary headache

In addition to the subdivision into different types of headache, a distinction is made between primary headache and secondary headache.

In primary headache complaints occur independently and are not attributable to any cause. These include, for example, migraine, tension and cluster headaches. Discomfort and pain resulting from illness are referred to as secondary or symptomatic headache. Examples: Headache as a side effect of medication, after head injuries, injuries to the cervical spine, sinus infections or even infections. A defective vision or, for example, inflamed teeth can trigger secondary headaches.

Headache or migraine?

Working on the computer, sitting for long periods, stress and time pressure are by no means all causes of aching temples, pressure in the head and a pounding throb. It is important to first distinguish between the two best known and most common types of headache: tension headaches and migraines.

Tension headache

Tension headaches are often described as dull and oppressive, affecting mostly the entire head area. The duration of pain varies and ranges from 30 minutes to one week. As a rule, neither vomiting nor nausea occur. Physical activities do not increase the pain and everyday activities can be perceived. Stress, fatigue and tension in the neck and shoulder area can be the trigger. What helps? Fresh air, exercise and the old home remedy mint oil.

Diagnosis migraine

Migraine is associated with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and noise; Those affected feel a throbbing and throbbing pain. Characteristic is the one-sided pain that often worsens during physical activity and exercise. Migraine sufferers usually need a lot of rest and sleep.

Other types of headache

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are painful attacks that can last 15 minutes to three hours. Spread over several weeks, but also up to eight times a day, severe, one-sided pain in the forehead or eyes can occur. Typically, sufferers suffer shortly after falling asleep, at night or in the morning under this headache. Symptoms of this condition include agitation, watery eyes, a runny nose, water retention in the eyelid, a drooping upper lid, or narrowed pupils. Like the pain, the symptoms are one-sided. Who would have thought: Men suffer more from these complaints than women.

Painkillers headaches

You take them to get rid of pain as quickly as possible. The fact that painkillers can also cause symptoms such as headaches, the least concern. With regular use of paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and Co., our body can develop a dependence on the active ingredients. Anyone who withdraws the medication from the body has to reckon with the so-called painkiller headaches.

Tip: Take pain relieving agents only for very severe pain and that at most ten days a month.

Special case trigeminal neuralgia

Among the more than 200 headache types that doctors distinguish, facial neuralgia is by far the worst. About 30, 000 people in Germany suffer from this disease. The trigger is the so-called "Nervus trigeminus".

The trilling nerve, so its German name, emerges at the level of the temples from the cranial cavity and branches into three branches, which run to the forehead, to the upper jaw and to the lower jaw. He thus establishes an important connection between face and brain.

But the problem is: "In some people, its nerve trunk is too close to a neighboring artery. If the pulsating blood vessel constantly presses on the trigeminal nerve, its insulating layer will be damaged over time, "explains Dr. Gerhard Müller-Schwefel, President of the German Society for Pain Therapy. At some point, everyday things like brushing your teeth, talking or chewing will be enough and the nerve starts to rage. The result: hellish pain.

Diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is relatively easy to diagnose because its symptoms are so special. Sometimes, however, it occurs as a concomitant of a viral disease, multiple sclerosis or a tumor. In order to rule out these causes, several examinations are necessary, for example, by neurologists, orthopedists, ENT specialists or oral surgeons.

Causes of headache

Triggers for tension and cluster headaches, migraines and Co. are many. The wrong pillow, wrong bra and even hair clips can cause headaches. Often the buzzer is triggered by trivial things.

The wrong bra

Tight-fitting straps of a brassiere can press on the blood vessels. The result: The brain is no longer supplied with sufficient oxygen and reacts with pulling pain.

The Anti-Headache Trick: Make sure your bra straps are not too narrow and fit well. Free consultations are available in the specialist shop.

Too tight braid

Sometimes, if the braid is too tight, you will not notice it immediately. Only after a few hours the head responds to the Dauerzug. The same thing happens when using hairpins and braces, headbands or caps. With the pain the scalp signals: "Let go!"

The anti-headache tricks: If you want to be beautiful, you do not have to suffer. Simply do without hair ties and tie the ponytail casually with a ribbon. It is better to buy caps and hats for a size too large - and it is also economical when using hairpins.

Withdrawal of stimulants

No more snacking, quitting smoking, drinking less cola - these are all good intentions that we should implement for the sake of our health. Best of all, but not overnight. Our body has become accustomed to the pleasure substances. If he does not get it anymore, he can react to the withdrawal with a headache. Incidentally, this also happens when we drink a lot of coffee at work, but change over to tea on weekends. Caffeine expands the veins and increases blood circulation. If the usual impulse dose is missing, the blood flow comes to a standstill - and with it the oxygen supply.

The anti-headache trick: Slowly wean yourself off and drink as much water as possible during the changeover.


Did you know that dehydration is the most common cause of headache? In the so-called dehydration, the brain is turned off, so to speak. It is no longer optimally supplied with blood and protests with pain.

The anti-headache tricks: Always drink a glass - ideally water or unsweetened tea. Because we can not trust our gut feeling alone when it comes to hydration. When we feel thirsty, the body already has a slight lack of water. You tend to forget about drinking? You could deposit water bottles in all rooms. Or create solid rituals - for example, take a drink after each visit to the toilet. Even large glasses help and "seduce" to larger sips.

Cold drinks or ice cream

Cold headache, also known as "brain frost", is widespread. Due to the cold stimulus, the blood vessels in the brain narrow, which can cause an unpleasant stinging.

The Anti-Headache Tip: Eat your ice cream slowly and with pleasure and squeeze it as little as possible against the palate. The same applies to iced drinks.

The weather change

Sun, rain, snow: As soon as the weather changes, the body reacts to the change and many people complain of headaches. Especially with recurrent headaches it can be an indication of weather sensitivity.

Anti-Headache Tip: Patients should ask the doctor or the pharmacy for advice and medication. Homeopathic remedies can also relieve the pain.

Alcohol consumption

Anyone who drinks alcohol can be prepared for a hangover and a bad headache the next morning. These are primary headaches that can be easily avoided by doing without.

Anti-Headache Tip: Drink plenty of water besides alcoholic drinks. This will help prevent dehydration of the body - so headaches will not be that bad the next day. Also sufficient sleep helps against hangover complaints.

Lack of sleep and stress

Imbalance and lack of sleep are among the most common causes of severe headaches.

Anti-Headache Tip: Those who sleep eight hours and also do meditation or yoga will quickly get a grip on these headache triggers.

Rigid sitting posture and wrong office chair

Most office chairs are too comfortable and we often do not notice how rigid we are. This can lead to poor posture, tension and headaches.

The anti-headache trick: Get active! And as often as possible. For example, visit your colleagues in the neighboring offices instead of calling them. Go to the copier more often. Rock a sitting ball every hour for a few minutes. No time for that? Then it pays to invest at least in a "3-D chair": the model "ON" (in the office furniture trade) encourages you to move forward, backward and sideways while sitting.

Tense eye muscles

It's not just the back, shoulders and neck that can be tense when you're staring at the screen. The eye muscles also need exercise to stay relaxed. Especially when they have to make an effort, because you do not see sharp enough. Often the "office headache" has its cause.

The Anti-Headache Tricks: When was the last time you had a visual check? The constant work on a screen can hard on our eyes, without us noticing. Firms even give a subsidy to a screen goggles if the doctor attests to the need. But also eagle eyes need breaks. Watch out of the window or into the distance for at least every 30 minutes.

hormone fluctuations

You always get a headache two weeks after the rule? Probably the hormones are to blame. Researchers at the University of Mainz found out: There is a lot of estrogen in the blood during this time and the brain produces less analgesic substances than usual.

The anti-headache trick: With sports and exercise you can defy the hormones and boost the pain inhibition with a light endurance training.

The wrong pillow

As comfortable as a large pillow, it can be a torment for the cervical spine. If it kinks too hard, it leads to tension and thus to the painful throbbing in the head.

The anti-headache trick: The pillow should not be larger than 40 x 80 cm. Test it in the store before buying if it's convenient.

magnesium deficiency

Studies show: Magnesium deficiency is often the cause of migraine and other forms of headache. If this mineral is missing in the body, it can disturb the brain metabolism.

The Anti-Headache Trick: Fill Up Your Memory. Prescription-free magnesium supplements (eg "Magnesium Diasporal" from the pharmacy) work best when taken before going to bed.

Perfume and fragrances

Often we can not say that exactly because we are surrounded by a whole fragrance symphony: The "April Fresh" of the fabric conditioner unites with "vacuum cleaner deodorant bamboo" and over all there is a hint of room spray "Elfentraum ". Sure, fragrances can stimulate, relax and even make us healthy. But too much of it can do the exact opposite. Headaches are still harmless. In the long run, allergies can develop.

The Anti-Headache Tricks: Banish chemical scents from your environment. Avoid especially on scented candles and oils from cheap production. Preferably buy essential oils for aromatherapy (eg "Euminz" for headaches), preferably in the pharmacy.

Delicate teeth

If the teeth are not well and the muscles of the jaw are tense, the skull can roar. Even nocturnal teeth grinding can cause headache in this way.

The Anti-Headache Trick: Talk to your dentist about your headache. Sometimes it is enough to grind the teeth to a minimum. For the crunch stop there are bite bars for the night.

After the sport

The pain is often stinging and pulsating. But what is behind the headache after the sport? Should exercise not actually reduce the headache? Yes it is. Pain in the head occurs only when you have taken over. The so-called headache pain signals to us that the body was too stressed and overstrained.

Anti-Headache Tip: Take enough fluid after exercising. Water helps with salt before exercise.

Lean attitude

Since we fell in love with big bags, we have a lot of handy things on hand - from iPad to screwdrivers. Impractical, however, that one with a full XXL-Shopper on the shoulder slightly in imbalance gets tense and headache by wrong attitude gets.

The anti-headache trick: repacking - preferably in a trolley or well-padded backpack. Or wondering if you really need everything that is in the chic shopper.

Wrong diet

Did you know that the wrong diet can trigger a headache? In particular, ingredients such as glutamate, histamine and artificial sweeteners, which are contained in chewing gum, for example, can lead to annoying headaches.

The Anti-Headache Tip: Avoid foods containing monosodium glutamate or E621, as well as chewing gum, soft drinks and light sweeteners with the sweetener aspartame and foods that contain a lot of histamine: cured meat, nuts, tuna.

What helps against headaches

Have a drink, fresh air or maybe tablets? We tell you.

Exercise and fresh air

Even movement relieves tension, fresh air relieves the pain. Studies by the German Sport University show that 90 percent of headache patients have fewer complaints due to walking or jogging. And that's enough for half an hour a day.

Acupressure promises improvement

A strong analgesic acupressure point lies on the middle of the muscle between thumb and forefinger. It is massaged on the left and right hands for two minutes each. After 30 minutes, this self-therapy can be repeated.

Mint oil relieves pain

Dab a few drops of the liquid on the temples and relax for a moment or lie down for a moment. The cooling effect relieves pain. Especially high-quality peppermint oil acts quickly and effectively. Also good is the effect of rosemary and clove oil or lemon balm.

Heat for the head

A hot water bottle filled with hot water on the head brings rapid relief, since the vessels so far and the pain subsides. Also helpful: Direct your hot air blower to the pain points or put on a warm wool hat.

Coffee with lemon helps

A strong coffee can work wonders. The caffeine slows down the release of pain-inducing hormones. At the same time, the lemon supports the body's own pain absorption. The mix works best when drunk at the first sign of a headache. The perfect home remedy!

Properly prevent

  • Make sure you have enough rest, relaxation and sleep. Anyone who keeps to a regular daily schedule and rhythm and sleeps sufficiently, rarely gets a headache.
  • Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Stimulants such as chocolate, cheese or red wine can cause pain attacks in migraine patients and should therefore be consumed with care.
  • For computer work: take a break at least every 90 minutes.
  • Instead of watching TV a hot bath in the evening. Lying in the tub prevents headaches. And the eyes are not burdened with looking at another screen.
  • The fact that regular, easy endurance sports and exercise in the fresh air help is known. Great side effect: Sunlight automatically raises our mood - and releases tension.
  • Those who eat regularly avoid the drop in blood sugar levels and annoying headaches. Magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, green vegetables and nuts also prevent headache.
  • Record all pains around the head in your personal Headache Diary. This allows you to observe the duration and frequency and find out possible causes.

Headache in pregnancy

Hormonal changes can make pregnant women more likely to have a headache. Painkillers are taboo during pregnancy. The active ingredients of the preparations can get into the amniotic fluid and thus harm the child in the womb. But what treatment options are there when the hormones once again ride roller coaster, the weather change or tension?

Tips for non-drug treatment

  1. Try it with fresh air and exercise. The circulation is stimulated, fresh air has a soothing effect and movement relieves tension.
  2. Prepare an inhalation bath with chamomile. Camomile has a calming effect and can release possible tension.
  3. Massage your temples with a few drops of peppermint oil. The oil cools and relieves the pain.
  4. Take a relaxing bath or pamper yourself with a massage. Two therapy options that relieve tension and help against headaches.
  5. Be sure to drink enough liquid! Water, tea and up to three cups of coffee a day are no problem.

Headache in children

Not only adults suffer from headaches on a regular basis. Even children and adolescents in puberty must now and then torment with the Volksleiden of Germans. Again, hormonal changes can be the trigger for headaches. Stress in school, bullying or anger with friends also favor the headache. In this case, children should rest and sleep a lot. Talk to your children about possible problems and worries and try to take away their fears and be there for them. For regular complaints, you should consult a neurologist.

When to see a doctor

Headaches can be treated in many cases. Sometimes, however, you should listen to your body, perceive warning signals and go to the doctor in time. Because: Behind seemingly harmless headaches can also hide different diseases. Let me check you through. But when?

Every day a headache?

If you have a headache every day for several days or weeks, you should definitely consult a doctor. It can be serious illnesses and even tumors behind it.

Sudden headache?

You always have a sting in your head, just for a few seconds? Even then you should have a health check done.

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