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Things to make headaches go away: Why It Happens and How to Manage It

Which Foods Should I Avoid?

Foods with lower levels of histamine typically include fresh, unprocessed produce. Fermented foods tend to have high levels.

Histamine is a chemical, known as a biogenic amine. It plays a role in several of the body’s major systems, including the immune, digestive, and neurological systems.

The body gets all the histamine it needs from its own cells, but histamine is also found in certain foods.

People who experience an allergy-like response to histamine-rich foods may have a condition known as histamine intolerance. This condition affects roughly 1 percent of the population. There may be individuals with genetic traits that increase their sensitivity to histamine.

Certain medical conditions may increase the risk of histamine intolerance. These include:

  • gastrointestinal disorders or injuries
  • Crohn’s disease
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • liver conditions
  • chronic or extreme stress
  • injury
  • trauma
  • an imbalance in the gut microbiome

Some prescription or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with the enzyme that breaks down histamine, such as:

  • theophylline
  • heart medications
  • antibiotics
  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics
  • diuretics
  • muscle relaxers
  • pain medications (aspirin, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac)
  • gastrointestinal medications
  • alcohol
  • malaria and TB drugs

People with histamine intolerance may experience a wide variety of symptoms involving different systems and organs.

For some people, histamine-rich foods can trigger headaches, skin irritation, or diarrhea. Certain medications or conditions can increase the chance of histamine sensitivity.

There are no reliable tests or procedures that doctors can use to diagnose histamine intolerance. However, some medical professionals will suggest an elimination diet.

This involves removing certain foods from your diet for at least 4 weeks and slowly adding them back in, one at a time. An elimination diet can help you determine whether histamine is the problem.

Histamine levels in food are difficult to quantify.

Even in the same food product, like a piece of cheddar cheese, the histamine level can vary significantly depending on how long it’s been aged, its storage time, and whether it has any additives.

Generally, foods that have been fermented have the highest level of histamine. Fresh unprocessed foods have the lowest levels.

There’s also a theory that some foods — though not histamine-rich themselves — can trigger your cells to release histamine. These are known as histamine liberators. This theory, however, hasn’t been proven scientifically.

The following foods contain higher levels of histamine:

  • fermented dairy products, such as cheese (especially aged), yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, and kefir
  • fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi
  • pickles or pickled veggies
  • kombucha
  • cured or fermented meats, such as sausages, salami, and fermented ham
  • wine, beer, alcohol, and champagne
  • fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, soy sauce, and natto
  • fermented grains, such as sourdough bread
  • tomatoes
  • eggplant
  • spinach
  • frozen, salted, or canned fish, such as sardines and tuna
  • vinegar
  • tomato ketchup

Low-histamine diets can be extremely restrictive and can lead to malnutrition.

Histamine intolerance is poorly understood and difficult to diagnose. There’s no evidence that a low-histamine diet will improve quality of life in the long term if you don’t have a true diagnosis.

The primary benefit of a low-histamine diet is that it can serve as a diagnostic tool.

By eliminating histamine-rich foods from your diet for several weeks (under the supervision of a doctor) and then slowly adding them back in, you can learn more about your individual tolerance to foods containing histamine.

Histamine tolerance varies significantly from one person to the next. When you add histamine back into your diet, you can carefully evaluate which foods trigger uncomfortable symptoms, if any.

To eliminate histamine-rich foods and practice a lower histamine diet:

  • cook all your own meals
  • eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible
  • record everything you eat in a detailed daily food diary (be sure to include the time of day you ate each food)
  • record the times and dates of any uncomfortable symptoms for comparison
  • avoid junk food or anything highly processed (if there are numerous ingredients and the food item is ready to eat)
  • don’t be too hard on yourself as this diet is very restrictive
  • don’t plan on eating this diet for more than 4 weeks
  • eat only fresh foods that have been kept in a refrigerator
  • speak with a dietitian or a nutritionist about getting all the nutrients you need while on this diet
  • talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements (consider DAO enzyme supplements, as well as vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, and zinc)

Consult with a doctor before beginning a low-histamine diet.

Nutrient deficiencies can be harmful at any age, but this diet is especially dangerous for children. If you suspect your child has food allergies or sensitivities, talk to your pediatrician about an alternative treatment.

If you experience dizziness, headaches, or any other complications, you should stop this diet immediately and consult a doctor.

After you eliminate or reduce histamine in your diet for 2 to 4 weeks, you can begin slowly introducing histamine-rich foods back into your meal plan, one at a time. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how best to reintroduce these foods.

There’s very little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of a low-histamine diet and it can lead to malnourishment. Generally, a low-histamine diet isn’t a long-term treatment plan for the general population. It’s helpful in the diagnosis process and can help you rule out other food intolerances.

Ultimately, you’ll need to determine your individual tolerance to different histamine-containing foods. Some medications can increase the chances of reacting to these foods.

Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and More

Nearly everyone experiences head pain once in a while. However, there are different types of headaches. The cause, duration, and intensity of this pain can vary according to each type.

Many of us are familiar with some form of the throbbing, uncomfortable, and distracting pain of a headache. There are different types of headaches. The common types include:

  • tension headache
  • cluster headache
  • migraine headache
  • hemicrania continua
  • ice pick headache
  • thunderclap headache
  • allergy or sinus headache
  • hormone headache (also known as menstrual migraine)
  • caffeine headache
  • exertion headache
  • hypertension headache
  • rebound headache
  • post-traumatic headache
  • spinal headache

Immediate medical attention needed

In some cases, a headache may require immediate medical attention. Seek immediate medical care if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms alongside your headache:

  • stiff neck
  • rash
  • the worst headache you’ve ever had
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
  • paralysis in any part of your body
  • visual loss

If your headache is less severe, read on to learn how to identify the type you may be experiencing and what you can do to ease your symptoms.

Primary headaches occur when the pain in your head is the condition. In other words, your headache isn’t triggered by something your body is dealing with, like illness or allergies.

These headaches can be episodic or chronic:

  • Episodic headaches may occur occasionally but no more than 15 days in one month. They can last anywhere from half an hour to several hours.
  • Chronic headaches are more consistent. They occur more than 15 days a month. In these cases, a pain management plan is necessary.

Share on PinterestVisual of different types of headaches. Design by Maya Chastain.

The visual above is a general representation of where headaches may occur, but many can exist outside the areas noted.

Tension headache

If you have a tension headache, you may feel a dull, aching sensation all over your head. Tenderness or sensitivity around your neck, forehead, scalp, or shoulder muscles also might occur.

Anyone can get a tension headache. Stress often triggers them.

Cluster headache

Cluster headaches may occur with severe burning and piercing pain. They occur around or behind one eye or on one side of the face at a time. Symptoms may include:

  • swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating on the side that’s affected by the headache
  • nasal congestion and eye tearing on the same side as the headache

These headaches occur in a series. Each headache can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. During a cluster, people may experience headaches anywhere from one every other day to eight per day, usually around the same time each day. After one headache resolves, another will soon follow.

A series of cluster headaches can be daily for months at a time. In the months between clusters, people are symptom-free. Cluster headaches are more common in the spring and fall. They are also three times more common in men.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes cluster headaches.


Migraine is a headache disorder that causes intense pulsing pain deep within your head. Migraine episodes may last between 4 and 72 hours untreated, significantly limiting your ability to carry out your daily routine. During one, you may experience:

  • throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head
  • light sensitivity
  • sound sensitivity
  • nausea and vomiting

About one-third of those with migraine experience visual disturbances before the headache phase starts. Known as migraine aura, it may cause you to see:

  • flashing or shimmering lights
  • zigzag lines
  • stars
  • blind spots

Auras can also include tingling on one side of your face or in one arm and trouble speaking.

Possible medical emergency

The symptoms of a stroke can also mimic a migraine episode. If any of these symptoms are new to you, seek immediate medical attention.

Migraine might run in your family, or the condition can be associated with other nervous system conditions. According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), people assigned female at birth are three times more likely to develop migraine than people assigned male at birth. People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have an increased risk of migraine.

Common migraine triggers include environmental factors, such as:

  • sleep disruption
  • dehydration
  • skipped meals
  • some foods
  • hormone fluctuations
  • exposure to chemicals

Hemicrania continua

Hemicrania continua is a moderate headache on one side of your head that lasts continuously for at least 3 months. You might feel periods of increased intensity a few times per day.

Researchers estimate it accounts for about 1% of headaches. It’s most common in young adults.

This type of headache may also be accompanied by:

  • tearing or eye redness
  • nasal congestion or runny nose
  • eyelid drooping
  • forehead sweating
  • miosis or excessive shrinking of the pupil
  • restlessness or agitation

Ice pick headache

Primary stabbing headaches, or ice pick headaches, are characterized by short, intense stabbing pains in your head lasting only a few seconds.

These headaches can occur a few times daily and come on without warning. Ice pick headaches could feel like a single stab or multiple stabs in succession.

Ice pick headaches usually move to different parts of your head. If you have ice pick headaches that always occur in the same spot, it might be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Thunderclap headache

A thunderclap headache is a severe headache that comes on rapidly, reaching peak intensity in under a minute. It may be benign, but it could also be a symptom of a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention.

In some cases, a thunderclap headache could indicate:

  • blood vessel tears, ruptures, or blockages
  • stroke
  • brain injury
  • reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)
  • vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
  • pituitary apoplexy (bleeding into or loss of blood from an organ)

The first time you experience a thunderclap headache, seek immediate medical attention. If a doctor determines that another condition does not cause your headache, you can discuss a treatment plan for possible future thunderclap headaches.

Secondary headaches are a symptom of something else that is going on in your body. If the trigger of your secondary headache is ongoing, your headaches can become chronic. Treating the primary cause generally brings headache relief.

Allergy or sinus headache

Headaches sometimes happen as a result of an allergic reaction. The pain from these headaches is often focused in your sinus area and the front of your head.

Migraine is sometimes misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. People with chronic seasonal allergies or sinusitis are susceptible to these headaches.

Hormone headache

People who menstruate may experience headaches that are linked to hormonal fluctuations. Menstruation, using birth control pills, and pregnancy all affect estrogen levels, which can cause a headache.

Those headaches associated with the menstrual cycle are also known as menstrual migraine. These can occur between 3 days before your period to the third day of your period and during ovulation.

Caffeine headache

Caffeine affects blood flow to your brain. Too much can give you a headache, as can quitting caffeine “cold turkey.” People who have frequent migraine headaches are at risk of triggering a headache due to caffeine use.

When you’re used to exposing your brain to a certain amount of caffeine, a stimulant, each day, you might get a headache if you don’t get caffeine. This may be because caffeine changes your brain chemistry, and withdrawal can trigger a headache.

Exertion headache

Exertion headaches happen quickly after periods of intense physical activity. Weightlifting, running, and sexual intercourse are all common triggers for an exertion headache. It’s thought that these activities cause increased blood flow to your skull, leading to a throbbing headache on both sides of your head.

An exertion headache shouldn’t last too long. This type of headache usually resolves within a few minutes or several hours.

These headaches may also occur due to a secondary cause. If this type of headache is new to you or lasts longer, it may be best to seek medical attention for a diagnosis.

Hypertension headache

High blood pressure can cause a headache. This kind of headache signals an emergency. It occurs in some people when the blood pressure becomes dangerously high (greater than 180/120). In most cases, hypertension does not cause a headache.

A hypertension headache usually occurs on both sides of your head and is typically worse with any activity. It often has a pulsating quality.

Medical emergency

If you think you’re experiencing a hypertension headache, seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you have:

  • changes in vision
  • numbness or tingling
  • nosebleeds
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath

You’re more likely to develop this type of headache if you’re treating high blood pressure.

Medication overuse headache

Medication overuse headaches, also known as rebound headaches, can feel like a dull, tension-type headache, or they may feel more intensely painful, like a migraine episode.

You may be more susceptible to this type of headache if you frequently use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Overuse of these medications leads to more headaches rather than fewer.

These headaches are likelier to occur anytime OTC medications are used more than 15 days a month. These OTC medications include:

  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • aspirin
  • naproxen

They’re also more common with medications that contain caffeine.

Post-traumatic headache

Post-traumatic headaches can develop after any head injury. These headaches feel like tension headaches or migraine episodes. They usually last up to 6 to 12 months after your injury occurs. They can become chronic.

Spinal headache

A spinal headache results from low cerebrospinal fluid pressure following a lumbar puncture. For this reason, it’s also known as a post-dural puncture headache. You might feel this headache in your:

  • forehead
  • temples
  • upper neck
  • back of the head

Research estimates that spinal headaches follow a lumbar puncture between 10 and 40% of the time. Onset usually begins within 2 to 3 days but could start several months later. It can also occur following an epidural or spontaneously.

This headache typically worsens when you are upright and improves when you lie down.

Other symptoms of spinal headache include:

  • nausea
  • neck pain
  • dizziness
  • visual changes
  • tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • hearing loss
  • radiating pain in the arms

In most cases, episodic headaches will go away within 48 hours. If you have a headache lasting more than 2 days or increasing in intensity, consider talking with a doctor for help.

If you’re getting headaches more than 15 days out of the month over 3 months, you might have a chronic headache condition. Even if you can manage the pain with OTC medications, consider talking with a doctor for a diagnosis.

Headaches can be a symptom of more serious health conditions, and some require treatment beyond OTC medications and home remedies.

If you need help finding a primary care doctor, then check out our FindCare tool here.

Because there are many types of headaches, many methods might be used to diagnose which type of headache you are experiencing. Doctomust to determine whether you have a primary or secondary headache to recommend effective treatment.

You can expect your headache diagnosis to begin with a physical exam and medical history. If possible, keep a “headache journal” in the weeks leading up to your doctor’s appointment. Document each of your headaches, including:

  • duration
  • intensity
  • location
  • possible triggers

A primary care doctor might also refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist. You could require diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause for some headache types. These tests can include:

  • MRI or CT scan
  • lumbar puncture
  • blood tests

Different types of headaches are managed differently. Treatments could range from dietary adjustments to procedures performed by a medical professional.

Not everyone will respond to the same treatments, even for the same types of headaches. If you’re experiencing headaches you cannot treat on your own, speak with a doctor about putting together a treatment plan.

Read on to learn more about common treatments for each type of headache.

Tension headache

An OTC pain reliever may be all it takes to relieve your occasional headache symptoms. OTC pain relievers include:

  • aspirin (Bayer)
  • ibuprofen (Advil)
  • naproxen (Aleve)
  • acetaminophen and caffeine

If OTC medications aren’t providing relief, a doctor may recommend prescription medication, such as:

  • indomethacin
  • meloxicam (Mobic)
  • ketorolac

If tension headaches become chronic, a doctor may suggest treatment to manage the underlying trigger.

Cluster headache

A doctor may recommend therapy or medication to provide relief for your symptoms. These may include:

  • oxygen therapy
  • sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • local anesthetic (lidocaine)

After diagnosis, a doctor will work with you to develop a prevention plan. The following may put your cluster headaches into a period of remission:

  • corticosteroids
  • melatonin
  • topiramate (Topamax)
  • calcium channel blockers


If OTC pain relievers don’t reduce migraine pain during an attack, a doctor might prescribe triptans. Triptans decrease inflammation and change the flow of blood within your brain. They come in the form of nasal sprays, pills, and injections.

Popular options include:

  • sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • rizatriptan (Maxalt, Axert)

Consider speaking with a doctor about taking a daily medication to prevent migraine episodes if you experience headaches that are:

  • debilitating more than 3 days a month
  • somewhat debilitating 4 days a month
  • lasting longer than 6 days a month

According to a 2019 review, preventive migraine medications are significantly underused: Only 3 to 13% of those with migraine take preventive medication, while up to 38% may need it.

Preventing migraine dramatically improves the quality of life and productivity.

Helpful preventive migraine medications include:

  • propranolol (Inderal)
  • metoprolol (Toprol)
  • topiramate (Topamax)
  • amitriptyline
  • CGRP antagonists

Hemicrania continua

One of the defining characteristics of hemicrania continua is a complete response to indomethacin, a drug in the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family. A low dose three times daily with meals usually relieves symptoms within 24 hours.

Indomethacin can cause side effects, especially at higher doses, so doctors recommend taking the lowest effective dose.

Ice pick headache

Ice pick headaches can be challenging to treat because they last a short duration. Most ice pick headaches are over before you can do much about them.

Preventive measures may reduce the frequency or intensity of future headaches. Treatment could include:

  • indomethacin
  • gabapentin
  • other NSAIDs, including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors
  • melatonin

Thunderclap headache

If your thunderclap headache results from another condition, you must treat the underlying condition.

If your thunderclap headache is not caused by something else, it’s a primary thunderclap headache. Treatments for thunderclap headaches include:

  • NSAIDs, such as indomethacin
  • calcium channel blockers
  • beta-blockers
  • topiramate
  • lithium
  • triptans

Allergy or sinus headache

Sinus headaches are treated by thinning out the mucus that builds up and causes sinus pressure. Options include:

  • nasal steroid sprays
  • OTC decongestants like phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)
  • antihistamines like cetirizine (Zyrtec)

A sinus headache can also be a symptom of a sinus infection. Depending on the cause, a doctor may prescribe medication to help clear the infection and relieve your headache and other symptoms.

Hormone headache

OTC pain relievers like naproxen (Aleve) or prescription medications like frovatriptan (Frova) can work to manage pain.

Alternative remedies may have a role in decreasing overall headaches per month. The following may help:

  • relaxation techniques and managing stress
  • regular exercise, such as yoga
  • sleep hygiene
  • eating a modified diet
  • hormone therapy, such as an oral contraceptive

Caffeine headache

Keeping your caffeine intake at a steady, reasonable level — or quitting it entirely — can prevent these headaches from happening.

Exertion headache

OTC pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil), typically ease symptoms.

If you develop exertion headaches often, consider talking with a doctor. In some cases, exertion headaches may indicate a serious underlying condition.

Hypertension headache

These types of headaches typically go away soon with better blood pressure management. They shouldn’t reoccur as long as high blood pressure continues to be managed.

Medication overuse headache

The only treatment for medication overuse headaches is to wean yourself off the medication you’ve been taking to manage pain. Although the pain may initially worsen, it should completely subside within a few days.

Taking a daily preventive medication that doesn’t cause medication overuse headaches may prevent them from occurring.

Post-traumatic headache

Doctors often prescribe the following medications to manage these headaches:

  • triptans
  • sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • beta-blockers
  • amitriptyline

Spinal headache

Initial treatment for spinal headaches usually includes pain relievers and hydration. It also helps to avoid being in an upright position. Symptoms typically go away on their own after a week or two.

In some cases, an epidural blood patch might be used. This is a procedure in which a small amount of blood is taken from your body and injected back into your epidural space. It can help stop cerebrospinal fluid from leaking, stopping the headaches.

Many headaches can be managed with preventive measures, but methods differ by headache type. Some headache types might be prevented with medication, while the same medication might cause others.

You can discuss preventive treatments with a doctor to find a plan that fits your needs. Headache prevention could reduce headache frequency or intensity or prevent headaches altogether.

Lifestyle changes that may prevent or improve headaches can include:

  • getting enough sleep on a regular schedule
  • getting enough to eat, and eating balanced meals
  • staying hydrated
  • getting adequate regular exercise
  • managing stress

Migraine headaches may be prevented with calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one CGRP medication, galcanezumab (Emgality), to prevent cluster headaches.

Your outlook depends on the type of headache you’re having.

Primary headaches don’t cause permanent disability or death. However, they could be debilitating temporarily if they are frequent and severe enough. These headache types can often be managed when diagnosed and treated.

The outlook for secondary headaches depends on the underlying cause. Some can be managed through simple routine changes, while others could be fatal without immediate medical assistance.

If you’re experiencing recurring or severe headaches. An accurate diagnosis will be the first step in understanding and managing your headaches in the future.

Read this article in Spanish.

We remove a headache in scientific ways. Part 1. Causes of a headache – RISE on vc.ru

Everyone has come across it. A headache prevents you from doing your favorite and useful things, from interesting work to social communication. Each of us may have our own special methods of how to relieve a headache. But over time, they either stop working or require additional effort. The reason lies in the source of pain and really evidence-based methods that can remove this pain.


In touch RISE , community about nootropics and productivity enhancement. In this material, we will analyze the main causes of headaches, the mechanisms involved in them, and consider ways to stop pain. The material was written using a podcast from Stanford University neuroscientist Andrew Huberman.

Major causes of headache

Each of us can have our own peculiarity of the body. Someone has low blood pressure, and the approaching rain is signified by a lead band around the head. Someone experiences pain inside the head when a deadline approaches or there is a quarrel in the family. What is the reason?

Tissue spasm

Tissue between the brain and skull. Source: Brain Neurosurgery Textbook

If you want to get rid of a headache, it is important to understand exactly where its source is located. The same is true when it comes to anxiety. You can’t fight it without knowing the reasons. When it comes to spasm, and muscle tension, this headache feels like a tight bandage around the head. And its source, as you might guess, is blood vessels and muscles.

Our skull is literally wrapped in muscles that allow us to turn our heads, chew, and express facial expressions. However, these same muscles tend to experience spasms. But, more importantly, it is the muscles that are the key element in provoking different types of headaches. That is, muscles can be both an independent source of pain and its catalyst in other types.

But it’s not the muscles that hurt, but the head! And the causes of headaches are in several layers of tissues that are located both outside the skull and between the brain and the skull. These tissues have their own name – Meningis, respectively, their inflammation is known to us as meningitis.

So, the brain is literally in a dense shell, consisting of several layers of tissue. These tissues need adequate blood supply to function, so a lot of blood vessels and arteries pass through the tissues. Accordingly, changes in pressure, spasm of muscles or blood vessels, will cause the tissues to press against each other, causing a headache. And that very weather sensitivity can be caused by a complex of factors: a decrease in temperature, an increase in external pressure, a cold wind that caused inflammation of facial tissues.

Neural and inflammatory causes of headache

Above we talked about the muscles and tissues that work like semi-inflated mattresses stuffed between the brain and the skull. The comparison is rough but accurate. If one of the mattresses is pumped up more, it will put pressure on the rest, causing pain. But there are other mechanisms for the emergence of this unpleasant feeling.

Neural pain. Known as cluster headache. It originates in the depths of the brain and can give into the eyes. Such pains are terribly painful, and are caused by excessive nervous tension. What can arise when you are trying to figure out how to improve performance even more in an escape from a deadline? And you feel that the brain is ready to explode from pain. Although he, by nature, does not experience pain, and the true source of suffering is the trigeminal nerve.

The trigeminal nerve, respectively, has three branches. These branches touch areas around the eye, around the nose, and near the upper lip. The pain begins due to overexcitation of the nerve or its inflammation. In addition to pain, pupils may narrow, tearing or a slight runny nose may begin. Therefore, anti-inflammatory pills for a mild or early cold will help prevent a decrease in mental and physical performance.

Although inflammation can involve the trigeminal nerve, it is worth considering inflammation separately. And in our time, you can hear that inflammation is almost a ticket to the next world. Therefore, you should start with the fact that the inflammatory process is not as terrible as it seems at first glance.

Inflammatory processes are one of the signaling systems of the body, which is provided by cytokines. They are considered inflammatory proteins, although they are rather anti-inflammatory. These proteins accumulate in a specific place, telling the body that something is wrong here.

Accumulation of these proteins in the neck or head area can cause pain. Inflammation is accompanied by edema, and if it is systemic, then a headache will be just one of the side symptoms. With all this, we do not consider sinusitis. This is a separate case, to which it is time to devote an independent longread.

Origin of pain

Above, we have analyzed 4 main causes of headache: muscle spasm, expansion and compression of tissues, overexcitation of the trigeminal nerve and inflammation. In any case, the nature of pain itself is the work of the nervous system and the transmission of signal impulses. And this is worth stopping for a moment.

Three types of neurons at the edge of headache

Something like this, the body tries to convey that something is going wrong

You already know from published materials that there are many different neurons in the brain. Some produce dopamine, others produce serotonin, others produce GABA, and so on. But there are three distinct types of neurons that are critical to how the body works.

Motor neurons . They control how the muscles work. When walking, typing on the keyboard, they even partially affect the heartbeat and breathing, there are slightly different principles, but motor neurons are also involved in this work.

Sensory neurons . They, like motor neurons, run throughout our body. Their task is to collect and transmit information about everything that happens around us and within us. They distinguish pain and gentle strokes, perceive changes in pressure, etc.

The third type of neurons is modulating neurons . They are intermediaries between sensory and motor neurons. And they partly participate in our learning, creating connections between certain actions, phenomena and the consequences of decisions made. For example, if something suddenly touches the back of your hand, you jerk your hand. This is the result of the work of all three types of neurons.

Why do we talk about types of neurons when talking about headaches? Take the common type of headache, tissue pain, as an example. Let me remind you, it’s like a lead hoop stretched over your head. And we have three ways to “remove” it:

  • You can influence motor neurons. Thus, we will relax the tissues, relax the muscles, the pressure will decrease and the pain will go away. To do this, you need to take something that relaxes the muscles.
  • You can turn off sensory neurons and stop feeling pain. You will not eliminate the cause, but for some time you may not feel pain.
  • Influencing the modulating neurons, you will feel pain, but will not pay attention to it. It can simply become much weaker, or even disappear without “reaching consciousness.”

Based on the material, we have about seven key factors that can be influenced to get rid of a headache. Which gives us several methods for getting rid of headaches. There is no ideal among them, there are different and peculiarities in the use of each of them and the corresponding limitations, which we will discuss in the following materials.

Friends, if the topic is of interest to you, please support the material with your reaction. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments.

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Author: Philip Donchev, editor of the RISE community

ways to relieve an attack of pain for a woman and a man

Medicine and health

Reader Experience F⁠—⁠F

Anna Mozgovaya

collected stories from readers

Author profile

Migraine is not an ordinary headache. The attacks are so strong that you just want to close yourself in a dark room and lie down.

We have already talked about how to keep a migraine under control. In the comments, readers shared their stories and ways of dealing with the disease. In this material, we have collected all non-drug methods that, together with the main treatment, can help to cope with a headache or prevent attacks.

See a doctor

These are comments from readers in the S⁠—⁠F Community. Collected into one material, carefully edited and formatted according to editorial standards. There are no recommendations for treatment in the article, only the personal experience of readers. Please consult with your doctor before deciding on treatment. The responsibility for your health rests solely with you.

Method No. 1

A couple of cups of coffee

Olga Selivanova

keeps migraine under control

Author profile

I still remember my first seizure. I was 12 years old, I got ready for training, locked the door with a key and did not have time to leave the apartment, when my head just exploded. The attack began to grow, I vomited, photophobia appeared, I barely reached the bed and passed out. And so she lay until the evening in an incomprehensible state, which was somewhat similar to a dream, but it was not him.

Then such attacks began to occur more often: I rarely feel sick, but the photophobia is strong, I come into a terrible rage from everything and everyone. Sometimes coffee helps me with migraine: a cup or two is better. And sometimes you just want to collapse in complete silence and darkness. If I have time to do this before the attack disperses, having found the position of the body in which it hurts the least, and I freeze without moving, then gradually I pass out. And when I come to my senses, there is no headache. Otherwise, you need to take pills and also pass out.

The worst thing is when, on a hot sunny day, an attack starts somewhere in a traffic jam, on an overcrowded bus. Then I regret that I can’t die right there. But when the attack passes, optimism and vitality return.

In addition to migraine, I also have a regular headache. It does not pulsate, it does not have photophobia and rage. Usually this happens from overexertion or stress, sometimes from too much joy or grief.

Now I keep my migraine under control: I monitor the frequency of attacks and their intensity. Triggers I know how to stop an attack too. As long as everything works out, pain rarely occurs.

8 health apps

I also keep a headache diary through Migrainebot. cool thing

Method No. 2


Pavel Basistov

cycles 200 km a week

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I also have a migraine. It began in childhood, but then there was no smell of any special preparations. At a later age, he drank Caffetin tablets with codeine, and when they disappeared for a while, he took NSAIDs, which spoiled his gastrointestinal tract.

When an active cardio load appeared in life – road cycling – the frequency of seizures fell five times. I ride a bike at least 200 km a week. Fast and almost every day. Not as a transport, but as a type of training. In terms of time, this is at least 7-8 hours a week. I think that, for example, 10 minutes a day will not give such a result.

Now my head hurts 2-3 days a month, and not every month, only due to the weather or from drinking too much. I struggle simply: I buy Sumatriptan 100 mg each, I break the tablets in half, one half is enough.

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Method No. 3

headache diary

Maybe Mari

sleep tracker

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I keep a migraine diary on the Migraine Buddy app. It helps to identify what specifically triggers the attack. I really like it, especially the fact that the pain area can be marked in the picture. The app also reminds you to sleep if your phone screen is active late, which is great. I often have a migraine – a reaction to a lack or excess of sleep.

Even when I understand that a migraine attack has begun, I take Amigrenin, I don’t even try to save myself with ordinary painkillers, here every minute is torture.

Method No. 4

Several hours of sleep

Arina Korneva

trying to sleep during attacks

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I have suffered from migraines since I was 10 years old. In childhood, they were quite often after intellectual and emotional stress: olympiads, control tests. The attacks were very severe, I lay in darkness and silence with a basin in my arms. She could lie like this all day, and the next morning feel as if nothing had happened.

In adulthood, migraines arose from lack of sleep and stress. She was saved by “Citramon”, “Novigan”, “Sumatriptan” and always lay in silence and darkness with a damp cool cloth on her forehead. The main thing is to fall asleep and sleep for at least a couple of hours, it will become easier. Relatives are used to the fact that sometimes I do this.

After six months of taking oral contraceptives, severe attacks suddenly almost stopped. And what is left is carried with painkillers and on the legs.

How to treat migraine in children and adolescents

Method No. 5

Complete silence and darkness

Star of Hope

has been suffering from migraines since the age of 12

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I have been suffering from migraines since I was 12 years old. I associate this with the beginning of hormonal changes. An attack can be provoked by severe stress, lack of sleep or, conversely, too long sleep, change of time zones, overload – both physical and mental.

Complete silence, darkness and fresh air help during an attack. Of the drugs – “Nimesil”.

Method No. 6

Daily walks


moves a lot to prevent migraine

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Headaches with high blood pressure have plagued me since I was six years old. At this age, I was in the hospital, where they turned me inside out, but they never determined the cause. The attending physician discharged with a meaningless diagnosis, which he honestly admitted.

A little later, when the headache began to be localized on one side, it became clear that it was a migraine. But at that time, my grandmother saved me from headaches: she gave me herbal teas and let me go for long walks in the forest with my grandfather every day. That helped. Since then, the movement has become both a cure and a prevention.

I do not associate migraine with heredity, no one in the family was seen with such a diagnosis. But with psycho-emotional stress and mental stress – yes. In my case, there were difficult relationships in the family, and heavy workloads at school.

Method No. 7

Sleeping mode

Black coat

can quickly stop attacks

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I have had migraines since I was five years old. I try to follow the regimen, as migraines often come after a sleepless night. Coca-Cola also helps, as well as any products with caffeine.

In general, one can live normally with a migraine. The main thing is to learn how to stop an attack at the beginning, and not wait for it to pass by itself. I was helped by simple painkillers, caffeine to raise my blood pressure or aspirin to thin my blood. Seizures became less frequent with age.

Method No. 8

cold towel


stops seizures quickly

Author profile

Started having severe headaches around high school or even freshman year. Before that, of course, I had a headache, but it was tolerable and passed relatively quickly.