A headache is a common problem, it affects everybody from time to time-the causes of headaches are numerous and varied in origin-they can arise from physical fatigue, from the effects of alcohol and could also be connected to some other underlying causative disorder in the body.

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The tension headaches, a condition which leads to tightening sensations in the muscles on the head are the most common type of headaches and affect nearly everyone. Such headaches are often triggered by the presence of stress, they also result from illness, they can be due to exposure to bright lights, they can result from sensitivities to food and they can even be due to the reaction of the person to changes in the weather.

The use of varied relaxation techniques can lead to the reduction in the intensity of such headaches, these measures include the use of a gentle massage along the back and the nape of the neck-supplementation with sedative herbs can also reduce the effects of such headaches. The reduction in the levels of stress that a person faces every day is as a matter of fact, the best way to deal with most headaches likely to affect an individual.

The other form of headaches known as vascular or circulatory headaches are caused by a hangover, these can also result from hunger, from the presence of a migraine or a cluster headache and also include the so called "ice cream" headaches-which is caused by the sudden cold sensation felt when eating ice cream rapidly-all these causative factors have external origins and the headache is not induced due to any disorder within the body of the person.

The use of certain herbs can promote relaxation in the individual suffering from such headaches and the result will be a reduction in the intensity of the headache-these herbs should be used in combination with others that bring about dilation in the blood vessels found on the head of the affected individual.

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The severity and the frequency of headaches can also be increased in certain instances, as when the person has made a long-term use of normally used and commercial headache relieving prescription drugs - such as tablets containing codeine, the acetaminophen, and the chemical meperidine-trade name Demerol, drugs like ibuprofen and even the commonly used aspirin.

In repeated high dosages, the use of the majority of these painkillers are also implicated in physical stress to the liver-thus their use is best limited to short periods of time. The chemicals in the painkillers are removed by the liver as a normal part of the detoxification process in the human body-their accumulation in the liver therefore can bring about certain malicious liver conditions.

The essential herbal oils are also very effective as topical medications on patients suffering from headaches. These topical medications are made from herbs such as the peppermint, the eucalyptus and the lavender herbs-such compresses can be placed directly on the head whenever a headache starts to affect a person.

The best results against the majority of headaches is achieved through the use of a cold compress, at the same time headaches may also be treated using warm or hot compresses, the use of alternating cold and hot compresses may provide the optimal results in the treatment of a headache.

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The preference of the patient must be the decisive factor in whether to use a hot or cold comfort while treating a headache. The temples on the head can be dabbed slightly using a drop of essential herbal oils sourced from herbs like the lavender, the eucalyptus or the peppermint if you need to run or if you do not have the time to get a compress massage.

Some people affected by headaches can benefit from taking a bathe-this works only for some individuals, and other people may not be able to tolerate a hot bath. Such individuals may complain that taking a hot bath makes their heads seem to pound at a faster rate. Adding a few drops of relaxing and soothing essential herbal oil to the bath water will help immensely-this of course can only be done, if the individual is among those helped by a bath.

Temperature regulation is used in an interesting technique which aims to "short circuits" the cause of a vascular headache-example, a migraine. The aim of this technique is to regulate the circulation of blood by increasing the temperature of the hands of the affected individual, by about fifteen degrees above the normal temperature.

This technique can be applied by placing both hands in some hot water-the water must not be scalding hot - a few drops of essential herbal oils of the lavender, the eucalyptus or the peppermint is then mixed in this water to increase the rise in temperature-the technique is helpful in alleviating headaches such as migraines.

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Patients affected by a form of headaches known as the cluster headaches, were treated during a 1993 study using a cream whose active ingredient was capsaicin. This is the chemical compound which gives cayenne and the chili peppers their distinctive hot flavor. In the study, it was observed that patients gained some relief from their headaches.

The topical treatment was conducted over two weeks, and the compound was regularly rubbed onto the temples of the test subjects during this time period. All the individuals in the study reported a significant lowering in the intensity of their headaches following the regular use of the cream-the capsaicin cream was thus effective in inducing a reduction in the intensity of the headaches.

Compared to another test group using plain cream, at approximately a quarter of the individuals who were treated using the capsaicin cream reported the incidence of far fewer headaches. Individuals who were prone to being affected by cluster headaches received the most beneficial and effective treatment.

Along with this, the expected complaints about runny noses and burning sensation in the skin were also evident from many of the patients in the study. The majority of individuals still preferred having sniffling and runny noses to having such intense headaches and most were pleased with the results at the end of the test.

The underlying mechanisms of the capsaicin was found in the course of a study conducted in the year 1965, the chemical is responsible for blocking a neurotransmitter known as substance P-which stands for pain - the capsaicin by blocking this substance P, eliminates the reception of all painful impulses in the brain, pain simply fails to register.

The ideal dosage of this capsaicin cream to induce a full blocking effect, is to apply it to the temples four or five times every day for a treatment period lasting four weeks-applications must be done regularly to enable the person to get the most beneficial results from the use of the chemical.

The incidences of nasty and persistent headaches known as migraines are increasing these days-these headaches are quite common in occurrence and affect a lot of individuals around the world. The typical effects of a migraine are usually felt on one side of the head and the painful sensations often lasts all day long-causing great discomfort and precluding the person from normal day to day activity.

Migraines are also sometimes accompanied by feelings of nausea, the presence of distortion in the vision and a sudden peculiar visual sensation, which is known as an aura, these sensations will come before the onset of the headache itself-the person often experiences sudden flashes of light, the phenomenon known as tunnel vision and these sensations may often come with the appearance of blind spots in the peripheral vision of the individual.

The underlying mechanisms of such headaches may be because of the constriction of arteries inside the brain of the person, such arteries may suddenly relax from a point of constriction and this causes the weird sensations observed during the passing of the migraine. The incidence of migraines is much higher in women then in men, and at least two times more than incidences in men, while the reason for this demographic distribution is not clear-as rule migraines tend to affect women before or during the menstrual cycle.

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