What is External Compression Headache?

As the name suggests headaches caused by external compression, that means pressure that is exerted on the head by some kind of external force. External compression headaches are also known as Swim Goggle Headache or Football-Helmet Headache.

Swimming really makes you refreshed and invigorated. There can be some problems after swimming due to the sun light and swimming might even make you feel dull or develop headache. Most of the time it is found that only after swimming many of the people develop headache due to the swim goggles. Only after the removal of the goggles they can realize that their headache is becoming less. This proves that swimming goggle really leads to headache. Swimming is a very good form of aerobic exercise which many people would like to enjoy. External compression headaches caused by swimming should not be neglected if it prevails for a longer period.

What is External Compression Headache?

Causes of External Compression Headaches

No one would like to get headache when they are having a relaxing dip in the water to swim. Have you experienced the cause of headache any time while swimming? Have you ever tried to find out the cause of your head ache? External compression caused by the pressure applied on the temples due to the goggles triggers external compression headaches. External compression headaches are not so throbbing or will be resolved after the removing of goggles. Therefore medication is not that essential. Only if the pain still persists for a longer time then the headache may turn into migraine. There are chances that due to goggles it may develop unusual facial pain disorder. One of the main characterized pains is supra-orbital neuralgia due to the supra-orbital nerve that lies in the middle of the forehead. Many of them experience this pain in the form of spasm or constant pain on that particular nerve. This normally happens with those swimmers who are having supra-orbital notch due to the compression of the exposed nerve. Any type of headgear you wear can cause pressure on your head and may cause external compression headaches including football helmets.

Can Headbands Give You a Headache?

Yes, there are chances that due to the tight fitting of the headbands it gives rise to external compression headaches. It may be due to moderate pressure on the areas where the band is placed or is pressing on your head. Therefore the pain can either be more or less depending on the pressure on the head.

Symptoms of External Compression Headaches

The obvious symptom of external compression headaches is that a headache is developed due to the external pressure of the headbands on the place which hurts the most. It is not so necessary to go to the doctor to take medicine. It will be released as soon as the headband or helmet is removed. You need to consult the doctor only even after the removal of the band the headache persists. Headache is felt most when the head gear is the tightest and it gets slightly better if it is loosened but it completely vanishes when it is fully removed from the head. Secondly if you are already suffering from migraine then wearing it may always trigger your headache.

Tests to Diagnose External Compression Headaches

Doctors will perform a perfect neurological test and then diagnose the external compression headaches. Diagnosis of external compression headaches mainly depends upon the medical history. Some of the headaches have different characteristics such as continuous application of external pressure. The headache reaches the height at the site of pressure. Finally external compression headaches resolves on relieving of the pressure.

Treatment for External Compression Headaches

If you have continuous headache by wearing headbands then remove the headbands or headgears or goggles that causes external pressures for which further treatment is necessary. If you have any kind of migraine then medicines only can give you relief. External compression headaches does not require much treatment as such and is often described as moderate pain. Whenever there is an external pressure with constant wearing of the head band or goggles can put pressure on a particular spot which may later on develop pain. As long as the head gear is on the head the pain may get progressed. On the contrary it is seldom required by impacted person to seek further treatment.

Home Remedies for External Compression Headaches

Whenever you suffer from headache it could be better to toss up some almonds or nuts which relieves pain because it contains salicin which reduces the external compression headaches.

  • Apple cider vinegar when added to boiling water and take the steam and then dab pat dry.
  • If you have external compression headaches then you can try to do yoga which will give you some relief.
  • Magnesium also helps to relieve from external compression headaches and is a good home remedy.
  • For some a slight massage is sufficient to create some kind of trick that might remove the external compression headaches immediately and for some painkillers are necessary to get rid of the pain.

Recovery Period/ Healing Time for External Compression Headaches

The healing time or recovery period of external compression headaches depends upon the severity and intensity of the headache. Sometime the headache gets vanished on application of some soothing inflammatory balm, or by just relaxing. Only a person who is suffering from migraine will be difficult for him/her to get relief from this pain. It is considered to be a disease which requires medical attention only to get cured.

Prevention of External Compression Headaches

If you want to prevent external compression headaches then you should not wear such kind of head band or gears that applies pressure on the head. You can very well go for some kind of protective headgear such as helmet which almost fits you in a comfortable manner and it is in proper position as well. Try different shapes/styles and sizes that suits you well. But do not forget to remove the head band in between before it shoots up with some kind of muscular contraction due to external pressure. Always try on variety of brands too, which might give you some sort of relief.

Risk Factors for External Compression Headaches

Anybody using the headband or goggles or helmets can get external compression headaches. The pressure of any external band or gears can press the forehead, scalp, or on the occipital regional which presses the nerves that gives rise to pain. In order to avoid such pains one has to be very careful in using any of such external pressure application.

Complications of External Compression Headaches

One of the complications of external compression headaches or headaches occurring due to external compression due to headbands if placed for a longer time is the rise of migraine in some people. Any pain that lasts longer should be shown to the doctor if it does not go on its own. You also need to remove whatever pressures you are wearing on the head.

Lifestyle Changes for External Compression Headaches

Always trying different shapes/styles and sizes that suits you well is a good lifestyle change for external compression headaches. Do not forget to remove the head band in between before it shoots up with some kind of muscular contraction due to external pressure. If you get frequent headaches or increase the intensity then the doctors will surely recommend for lifestyle changes or some other techniques to overcome the headaches. It is true that putting in right size of headbands and wearing in a very proper manner will not produce headache. Avoid too tight head gears that gives you any kind of aches.

Coping with External Compression Headaches

Headache occurring after using the hair band or using goggles can be coped up by just ignoring the wearing of the hair-band or goggles that may develop external compression headaches or by using alternative devices which do not cause external compression headaches.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 23, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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