Relieving Headaches


Headache is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body. Some form of headache is one of the most commonly experienced of all physical discomforts. About half of adults have a headache in a given year.   The brain itself has no nerves, so headache pain is from the tissues and structures that surround the brain.  Any headache could be dangerous or present problems if it interferes with your daily life.  If you experience headaches that are severe, recurring or something new, you should have these checked out by your physician.

Causes of headaches may include fatigue, sleep deprivation, stress, the effects of medications, the effects of recreational drugs, viral infections, loud noises, common colds, head injury, rapid ingestion of a very cold food or beverage, dental or sinus issues, and altitude sickness.

Headaches are classified as Primary or Secondary.



Primary headaches are migraines, tension or cluster headaches.

Migraine headaches range in severity. Most are extremely agonizing, recurring, frequently accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to noise and smells, and moody or queasy feelings.  The pain is described as pulsating, throbbing and often occurs on one side of the head.  Migraines are often triggered by specific things like smells, foods or hormones.  Migraines are more common in women. Migraine headaches affect about 848 million people a year (11.7%).

Tension headaches are the most common primary headache and are more common in women. Tension headaches affect about 1.6 billion people (21.8% of the population). The cause of tension headaches is not known but probably is caused by contraction of the muscles that cover the skull. Physical or emotional stress may be the cause.

Cluster headaches are a rare type of primary headache and are more common in men.  Cluster headaches occur daily for periods of a week or more followed by long periods of time with no headaches.  They occur at the same time of day, often waking the person from sleep. Causes of these headaches are uncertain but they tend to run in families, could be related to changes in sleep patterns and may be triggered by medications.  Sometimes smoking, alcohol and some foods are possible causes.

Secondary headaches are related to some other condition, stroke, sinus inflammation, head trauma, meningitis.  Secondary headaches should always be checked by a physician because some of the causes may be life threatening.

Tips for headache relief:

  • Rest and stay well hydrated.
  • Manage stress or your reactions to stressors.
  • Humidify air to help sinuses to drain.
  • Rub or massage the temples or muscles of the neck.
  • Warm compresses or cold compresses, whichever feels better.
  • Pain Medications
  • Migraine sufferers prefer a cool, dark room and sleep for relief.


Hypnosis is an effective tool for headaches to deal with pain and stress. Hypnosis is of benefit in the treatment of headaches whether migraine, episodic, or chronic.    Hypnosis can be used as an alternative to other treatment s such as medications or as an adjunct (in addition to) other treatments.  Hypnosis is simple and cost effective as a valid treatment for headaches.

Additional information


Dr. Agovino, Dr. Lawler