I headache..... what about you?


Headache is experienced very differently and triggered by many different reasons. We use different diagnosis for head-aches, depending on the characteristic of the symptoms. We may name it with words like Tension Headache, Migraine, Cluster Headache. A common feature of the various diagnoses is that we doctors not know why it occurs, even though we present different theories like muscle tension, reduced blood flow in the brain, dehydration, inheritance, etc. These theories only describe possible accompanying findings, but not why the person headaches right now.

As with many other illnesses, we can describe the symptom as a way the body responds to a strain of unknown reason, in this understanding the symptom can be used as a verb like this phrase: "I headache." It could help us becoming aware of our body, which responds to a burden and it could be an opportunity to change it if possible.

Usually, we say about a symptom that it is something we have got: "I have got a headache", without necessarily wondering who or what has been giving it to us, and how we can get it handed over again ? It is indeed so uncomfortable while it is going on that the only thing we think about is: "Let me get rid of it now ! ". And sometimes it gets even worse the more we think of getting rid of it through various medication, explanations and relaxation methods. Nothing helps. Morfin may be the ultimate "hit", to make the headache understand that now it’s absolutely time to leave. No one has been putting the headache into us, though we may use terms like: "The boss gives me headache" and who knows maybe it's a part of the truth since we humans affect each other, just as we let ourselves be influenced by other people. So, if we're tense for one reason or another, it is quite understandable it hurts. Weather it is the muscles in the vessels, the jaw, the neck or something completely deferent which makes us tense and alert, it all arises in us.

Really many people know of headache, it is a common illness almost like a common cold. Many people have unfortunately, a lot of discomfort with frequently recurring headaches, which lead to many days of sickness, a greater consumption of drugs with questionable and decreasing effect, which may even lead to unwanted addiction.

Stress increases tension so that we can be ready to fight or escape. When we can’t escape from a situation, which may have been going on for a while, we get stuck. It may be a stuck situation or conflict at home, at work, among our friends, in the family and relationship. Mostly the greatest conflict is in ourselves. Our reasoning mind wants something and keep on believing it is possible, while our innermost being wants something else, and then the head tries to cope with the conflict, causing an additional tension by the efforts of trying to understand and explain, what is not always possible to explain and understand, and certainly not when we have a headache. A negative downward spiral can be the result.

What I have noticed in people who are suffering from severe recurrent headaches is that they are very tough on themselves. They squeeze themselves in a way, which their system can’t possible cope with, and it worsen if they start comparing themselves with others and blame themselves for not coping with the demands they have to themselves or the demands others are asking for, which they can’t deny for many good reasons.

Illnesses, with headache as an example, may be considered as a personal weakness, a defeat, which easily leads to low self-judgements that may reinforce the condition. Therefore, it's difficult to say: "I headache" even if it's actually what we are doing, as opposed to saying, "I have got a headache." The latter with a tiny linguistic nuance removes the focus from ourselves and the situation, but at the same time we also risk removing ourselves from the ability to understand why we feel the way we do, together with a greater understanding of that we are not standard human beings. There is something in ourselves or in the situation that we have to change and take responsibility for. At the same time, it is also important to keep in mind that common well-being is a shared responsibility.

A practical approach: Headache may be associated with anxiety, which may exacerbate the condition. So acquiring calmness could be the first step. If we can’t reassure our self with certainty that it is a natural reaction, it may be necessary to know that it does not indicate brain tumor, cerebral hemorrhage, blood clot or other common frightening worst case images we might get. It may also be a relief just to understand that the head is working overtime in it's seeking to understand something that cannot be understood and explained, so to let go of reflecting on this may bring some immediately ease. Next step is to turn our attention towards the body eventually through mindfulness and minor exercises, in general focus on the body, by directing the energy from the head to the body, even though it may seem unthinkable when having headache. It could also be a choice to use simple analgesics and treatments of different kinds. And one solutions does not exclude the other.

If it is recurring headaches, the time has come to begin inquiring our self, why it pops up again and again, eventually by the help of someone else, to discover why I headache?

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