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Headache which is one of the most common aches, is a pain in the head, scalp or neck. Headaches can be caused by minor problems like eye strain, lack of coffee or more serious reasons  like head injury, brain tumors, encephalitis and meningitis.

The most common type of headaches are vascular headaches which are due to the problems in the blood vessels of  the brain. Migraines are very painful vascular headaches that occur periodically. The patient experiences severe pain on one or both sides of the head , disturbed vision and hearing and nausea. More than 10% of the population suffers from migraines.  Migraines may be caused by stress, certain foods, allergies, lack of food, alcohol, caffeine or some other factors. They last for 6 hours to 2 days.

.Tension headaches are due to the tightening of the muscles in face , neck and shoulders which causes pain in the forehead. They are usually related to stress and depression caused by overwork, lack of sleep, poor posture. People who drink coffee regularly may get a headache if  they are unable to get the usual amount of caffeine.

Most  headaches can be treated using over the counter painkillers like paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen and do not require medical attention. Migraines can be prevented by maintaining a headache diary to identify the trigger for the migraine. The lifestyle of the patient can then be modified suitably to avoid future headaches. A headache can be relieved by resting the head with eyes closed in a darkened place. Placing a cold or warm pack or cloth on the forehead and drinking enough water helps for some people.

Long term use of  painkillers is to be avoided as it can lead to side effects called rebound headaches.  Feverfew is a bitter herb used for prevention of  headaches, but is effective if taken for longer time. Vitamin B2 and Coenzyme Q10 are other natural supplements used for migraine treatment.

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