Treating Your Headaches
We’ve all had a headache at some point, right? Well, what happens when headaches seem to take over your life—headache symptoms day in and day out that often interfere with work and school? What are the treatment options?
National Pain Institute can help with a proper diagnosis and an effective treatment plan to alleviate headache and migraine symptoms. Let us explain.
What are Headaches?
Headaches consist of discomfort and/or pain in the neck, scalp, or head. The pain often arises from problems with the upper neck and/or the head region.
Types of headaches:
- tension headache
- cluster headache
- cervicogenic headache
- rebound headache
- sinus headache
It is important to note that occipital neuralgia can sometimes be confused with certain headaches and get incorrectly diagnosed.
Common Symptoms of Headaches
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of headache you’re experiencing.
Tension headache symptoms:
- headache on both sides of the head
- dull or squeezing pain
- tight or sore jaw, neck, or shoulders
- loss of appetite
- loss of sleep
- pain in the eyes or sinuses
Migraine headache symptoms:
- severe headache pain (throbbing, pulsating, or pounding pain)
- vision changes
- sensitivity to light or sound
Cluster headache symptoms:
- headache pain episodes that last from 30-90 minutes each
- headache pain that awakes you from sleeping
- headache pain that occurs at approximately the same time each day
- excruciating pain
- headache pain around or behind one eye
- the affected eye may become watery, red, or inflamed
- the nostril on the affected side can become runny or congested
What Causes Headaches?
As you can imagine, the list is endless for things that can cause headaches or migraines. Some of the more common causes for headaches include:
- head injury
- abnormal head or neck position for an extended period of time
- tight muscles in the jaw, scalp, neck, or shoulders
- an underlying illness
- irregular sleep patterns
- cigarette smoking
- certain foods (chocolate, certain cheeses, MSG, etc)
- caffeine withdrawal
- overusing certain medications
- premenstrual syndrome
There are some cases in which headaches can be a sign of a more serious problem. Such instances include:
- high blood pressure
- brain tumor
- brain infection
- fluid buildup inside of the skull
- pressure buildup inside of the skull
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- sleep apnea (lack of oxygen while sleeping)
- bleeding between the brain the thin tissue covering the brain
- problems with blood vessels or bleeding in the brain
It is always best to make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing frequent or sudden headaches.
Treatment and Care Options
Many treatment options exist for headache and migraine sufferers. Treatment options include:
- over-the-counter medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen).
- stress management techniques
- occipital nerve block
Managing and Living With Headaches
Living with headaches on a daily basis is not fun, especially when you have to go to work and then take care of the kids at home. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the impact of headaches or to lessen the chances of getting headaches in the first place.
- Make lifestyle changes, if needed.
- Learn ways to relax and relieve daily stress. Some people enjoy relaxing in a quiet, dark room. Doing so may be helpful if you experience migraines.
- Take over-the-counter medications, if needed. Always be sure it is okay with your doctor before taking any OTC medications.
- Try to treat your symptoms right away. If you start to feel a headache coming on, start doing any of these at-home remedies instead of waiting until you have a full-blown, pounding headache.
- Always drink plenty of water. It is very important to stay hydrated. Get in the habit of drinking fluids.
- Use a cool cloth to place over your head or forehead.
- Keep a diary to keep track of your headaches, especially if you experience frequent headaches or migraines. Doing so will help you and your doctor determine your triggers.
Resources and Tools: What Should You Do Now?
Do you suffer from acute or chronic headaches that are taking over your life? Are you currently seeking treatment options that don’t include addictive medications?
Call National Pain Institute. We have several office locations in Florida (Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park). We can find the root cause of your headaches to determine the best treatment option. Give us a call today or click here to schedule your consultation appointment.