Millions of the people worldwide suffer from acute headaches or migraine every day, but it’s not a new condition. One picture from the pyramids shows an Egyptian actually treating his headache with a crocodile strapped to his head! Those who have experience the headaches value this image: having an acute headache or migraine feels very like having one’s head in the jaws of a razor-toothed vice.
We hurt, and everything else in life retreats behind a sparkling obstacle of pain that makes working at our best or even playing far more tricky. This can continue for long hours, sometimes even days – we can’t escape, no matter what we do. There are differences between migraines and other headaches, but some relief techniques are common to both. No matter what the origin of the headache, or its type, acute relief is what’s required as soon as an attack threatens. Once the headache has taken hold, it may be too late to think straight.
Many headaches are caused only due to dehydration. Drinking water throughout the day will reduce your susceptibility to headache, but may not be of instant use if your headache brings nausea. If this is the case you must re-hydrate with small sips of water. Little or unstable blood sugar is a general trigger. Drinking of sweet tea, or sorbet or fruit can help out.
If you’re diabetic or there’s diabetes in your family, you should discuss your headaches with your doctor and beware skipping meals. Many of us are wary about taking industrially prepared answers to our medical problems, and headache is one of the areas where our suspicion is probably judicious. Tension headaches and migraine are often the result of some kind of stress such as mental, emotional or physical – so techniques that change how we handle pressure are the real answer, not just taking synthesized chemicals to reduce the amount of the pain.
When we’re in the grasp of a headache or migraine, though, long-term answers might as well be on the other side of the moon. We want instant relief, and if we don’t want to take drugs or don’t want to take a lot of drugs, we have the choice of using bodily techniques to tackle the problem. In the case of the headache, it’s as if the rest of our body – the rest of our life! – Completely disappears.
Our attention is swamped by the pain, whether it’s focused like an ice-pick through the eye, in the temples, like a cap across the top, or around the back of the head. Physiologically, our experience is totally exact: the blood-vessels in the brain are dilating, letting more blood and more neurological pain messages to reach the cortex. The pain is feedback – a message from central control (the brain) telling us we need to pay attention to our whole self, to re-balance. A headache is a sort of tragedy response to whatever stress we have been under, like a sign saying STOP.