Headaches and Migraines
Headaches are pain or discomfort in the head and can vary greatly in terms of pain, location, intensity, and how frequently they occur. There are different types of headaches:
- Tension Headache
- Sinus Headache
- Cluster Headache
The most common form is a tension headache. These headaches can be related to stress, depression, or a head injury and tends to be on both sides of your head.
Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the face, mainly the cheekbones, forehead or top of the nose. These usually occur with other sinus symptoms, including running nose, watery eyes and scratchy throat.
The least common and most severe type is cluster headaches. The pain is so intense that it often leaves sufferers unable to sit still. These typically occur one to three times a day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months.
A more intense, location-specific headache is a migraine. Usually developed on one side of the forehead, migraines can cause increased sensitivity to light and noise and can last up to three days. These headaches begin when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to the blood vessels, causing constriction, followed by the dilation of these vessels and the releases of inflammatory substances that cause the pulsation to be painful.
Treatment for Headaches will be Determined By:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Type of headaches
- Severity and frequency of the headaches
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Your opinion or preference
Headache Management May Include:
- Avoiding known triggers, such as certain foods and beverages, lack of sleep, and fasting
- Changing eating habits
- Resting in a quiet, dark environment
- Medications, as recommended by your doctor
- Stress management
Migraine headaches may require specific medication management including:
- Abortive medications. Medications, prescribed by your doctor, that act on specific receptors in nerves and blood vessels in the head to stop a headache in progress.
- Rescue medications. Medications purchased over-the-counter, such as analgesics (pain relievers), to stop the headache.
- Preventive medications. Medications, prescribed by your doctor, that are taken daily to reduce the onset of severe migraine headaches.
- BOTOX® Approved by the FDA for adults with Chronic Migraine (15 or more headache days a month and each lasting 4 hours or more).
Some headaches may require immediate medical attention including hospitalization for observation, diagnostic testing, or even surgery. Treatment is individualized depending on the underlying condition causing the headache. Full recovery depends on the type of headache and other medical problems that may be present.
- More than 37 million people in the US suffer from migraines
- 2-3 million migraine sufferers are chronic
- About 5 million people in the US experience at least one migraine attack a month
- Women have more migraines then men
- More than 70% have a family history of migraines