Headaches are something that we all suffer from now and again. Over 10 million UK citizens say they suffer from headaches regularly. Some of us experience them more than others. We tend to brush them off and not pay too much attention, thinking ‘oh, it’s just a headache’. But what we don’t realize is that headaches can actually be quite complex. There are over 100 different types. 5 common types of headache will be explained below. They can be brought on by a whole host of things and can be treated in a whole host of ways. But what about CBD, the latest craze in natural medicine? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Headaches are generally split into two different categories; primary and secondary. Primary headaches are not caused by any underlying issue. They may be a chronic condition in themselves, and they can certainly be very painful and even debilitating. But they are not a symptom of anything sinister. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are caused by a specific illness, infection or injury. These headaches are not the problem, but instead they are the symptom of a bigger problem. However, while they can be distinguished from each other by cause, both primary and secondary headaches can be equally as painful.
Tension headaches are the most common type of head pain. They are often described as a feeling of tension, a constant ache or pressure around the head. This is usually felt particularly strongly around the temples and the back of the head. They don’t cause any more serious or severe symptoms than this, and they are certainly not the most painful headache you can have. But the dull ache can be mentally and physically exhausting and put the sufferer into an irritable mood very easily. This is especially true for the people who suffer from tension headaches regularly.
Migraines are also a very common form of headache. However the pain caused by migraines is much more severe. They can last up to 72 hours too, which makes them unbearable for the sufferer. Migraines often run in the family. If a parent has a history of migraines, it’s very possible that you will too. Migraines often come hand in hand with nausea and/or vomiting which makes them really debilitating for a lot of people. It can be impossible to focus at work, or to even take care of your children when you’re suffering from a migraine.
One of the worst headache types, cluster headaches are less common, but an extremely serious condition. These headaches can be dormant for months, or even years, but when a bout of cluster headaches is brought on it can be absolutely agonizing. The pain is often described as a very localized drilling sensation over one eye or on either side of the head near the temples. Very little is known about cluster headaches unfortunately.
Sinus headaches are very common. The symptoms of these headaches include deep pain around the bridge of the nose, the cheekbones and the forehead and can also cause fevers. Sinus headaches are heavily associated with allergies, a runny nose and the common cold. Too much sniffing and sniffling can bring one on. Interestingly, people often misdiagnose migraines for sinus headaches.
Hormone headaches are headaches which occur, not surprisingly, by major changes in the balance of our hormones. Some of the most common reasons for changes to our hormones are:
These perfectly natural processes (with the exception of oral contraceptives, of course) can cause turmoil for our hormones. In turn, they often lead to hormonal headaches. However lifestyle factors such as eating, sleeping, stress, drinking alcohol or taking drugs can also have an impact. Hormonal headaches display many of the classic headache symptoms and can vary widely from individual to individual.
Causes of Headaches
For many people who suffer from headaches regularly, understanding the cause of your headache is the most important step you can take towards preventing them from occurring. Unfortunately this can be quite tricky. While one person may find that their headache is caused by lots of noise, you may not notice any headaches no matter how noisy your environment. Others could get headaches when they are sleep deprived, while you may not. There are so many factors that can cause a headache, it can seem almost impossible to narrow them down.
One great method to use for narrowing down the possibilities is to use the Notes app (or a similar app) in your phone to log the things that you notice whenever you do have a headache. For example, you might suddenly get a splitting headache and notice that you have been drinking wine, or that you are feeling very stressed in work. It could be down to sleep, or your menstruation stage, bright lights, or any one of a large number of environmental factors. Taking notes every time you experience a headache could really help you to notice patterns emerging over time and narrow down the possible causes of your headache.
However, if you’ve been doing this for some time and haven’t noticed any pattern whatsoever, or if you’ve never suffered from headaches before but suddenly start to get them out of the blue, it may be time to speak to your family doctor. You could be suffering from a secondary headache which is being caused by something more serious. Secondary headaches can be caused by injuries or trauma to the head, clotted blood vessels, tumours, glaucoma, overuse of pain medications, carbon monoxide poisoning, stroke or a whole host of other potentially life threatening conditions. If this sounds like a possibility in your case, it’s best to make an appointment with your family doctor right away. He or she may refer you for a CT scan or other diagnostic tests.
Treatments for Headaches
Most people treat their headaches with painkillers. The number of brands which now offer a dizzyingly wide variety of pain medications in drug stores and supermarkets today is huge. Many have specifically marketed their products as painkillers for headaches. However, not all of them live up to that claim. Often times, the best treatment for a headache can be to sit quietly in a darkened room with a cold compass against your forehead. Unfortunately though, this is rarely a possibility. Most of us experience our headaches when we’re out and about, at work, running errands or taking care of our kids. So simply grabbing the nearest pain medication is our first reaction.
Some pain medications can have negative side effects, so it really is best to avoid taking them if possible. For this reason, many people have turned to natural remedies to find solace from their headaches. Many of them rave about their soothing effects, although there’s little or no science to back them up. However, they may be worth trying as an alternative to medication. They include:
Read about more natural remedies for headaches here!
What is CBD?
CBD is another natural remedy that people are turning to for relief from the pain of both primary and secondary headaches. CBD is the name commonly given to cannabidiol, a compound which is found in the cannabis plant. CBD is derived from the seeds of this plant. For centuries, people have told of it’s natural healing powers. However, due to the addictive ‘high’ associated with cannabis and marijuana, cannabis has been an illegal drug in most parts of the Western World for decades. This association has caused great suspicion among society of CBD, which is largely unfounded.
CBD doesn’t contain the same properties that cause the ‘high’ effect that people are so worried about. There are hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD is one, and THC is another. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects that people dislike. CBD cannot get you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’. Unfortunately, most people are still unaware of this and assume that CBD will make the user giddy, silly, hungry, and that’s about it.
The truth is that CBD has many great medicinal properties. Researchers have discovered that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. This is a system of receptors that are located around the human body, although mostly in the brain and skin. The endocannabinoid system is strongly linked to our immune systems and it is believed, although not conclusively proven, to regulate how we experience pain. This is one of the main reasons why it could work as a treatment for headaches.
Another reason why CBD may have potential to be used in the treatment of many kinds of headaches is it is a powerful mood stabilizer. Lots of people report experiencing headaches when they are stressed. Our high pressure modern day lives give us a lot to be stressed about, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety are more common than ever. CBD could be used as a preventative measure, reducing a person’s chances of becoming stressed and preventing the headache from occurring in the first place.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that federal law outlaws the use of cannabis and state laws vary widely from state to state on the legality of the plant, scientific research into its alleged medicinal properties has been significantly hampered. Until the laws around cannabis change, it will continue to be very difficult to apply any real scientific research to CBD and deepen our understanding of it. This is bad news for those who are suffering from headaches regularly and relying on potentially harmful pain medication just to get through the day.
If you suffer from headaches regularly and are interested in using CBD as a natural treatment method, make sure to do your research. CBD has become wildly trendy and while this is great for promoting it and generating interest among the population, it also means there is quite a lot of misinformation online about it. Read around and make an informed choice. Also remember that if not legal in your state, you should not purchase any cannabis products. Relief from a headache is not worth risking a conviction for. Finally, remember to speak to your family doctor if you are thinking of integrating CBD into an already established treatment plan for an ongoing condition. Yes, all of the signs look positive and there is much hope for CBD as a headache treatment in years to come. But right now, it’s infinitely better to be safe than sorry.