Painful headaches…it happens to us all at one time or another. Some are mild and fade away after a while, but others can be severely debilitating.
Tension headaches are the most common kind. They feature discomfort in the neck, head and scalp and are normally related to tight muscles in those areas. Cluster headaches are felt on one side of the head, and can make your eyes tear and your nose stuffy. They recur on a regular basis for one week, or regularly up to an entire year.
Sinus headaches produce a deep and constant pain in the forehead, bridge of the nose and cheekbones, and frequently occur with other sinus symptoms like nasal discharge, fever or facial swelling.
Migraine attacks cause pulsing or intense throbbing in a single part of the head and are often accompanied by hypersensitivity to sound and light, plus nausea and vomiting. Migraines, if left untreated, may last anywhere from 4 hours to three days. Chronic headaches are incessant, coming on more often than not, and are therefore extremely disabling.
What are the common symptoms of headaches?
Headaches Orange CountyDifferent headaches can produce a range of symptoms, but all share a common denominator: pain. Depending upon its cause, headache pain is characterized by: mild or moderate pain that feels like a tight band around the head, producing throbbing or pressure; pain that is felt in a variety of locations, including the top, front or sides of your head or neck; pain that begins and ends at different times of day; pain that varies in intensity throughout an episode; irritability; difficulty concentrating; hypersensitivity to noise or light; muscle ache; blurred vision; loss of appetite; paleness; dizziness; feeling very cold or hot; fatigue; and vision problems, including blind spots, flashing lights, or jagged and wavy lines (aura).
What causes headaches?
Muscle contraction and problems with blood flow or a combination of the two are the main causes of headaches. However, as ongoing research advances, it is uncovering a variety of chemical and functional changes in the brain which may be lead to their root causes.
How are headaches diagnosed?
Your Orange County pain management doctor will gather a lot of personal information to understand the history of your headaches. Important facts include: your age when your headaches began; the length of time you’ve experienced them; known causes or triggers; their frequency; whether or not other members of your family suffer from headaches; whether or not your work or school performance has been adversely affected by the headaches; location, severity and duration of the pain; related symptoms, etc.
Other tests may contribute to evaluating and diagnosing the source of your headaches, Headache Clinic Orange Countyincluding imaging techniques like a CT scan, MRI, or EEG; blood chemistry; and urinalysis. Neurological and physical examinations also help produce an accurate diagnosis. These exams will look for a variety of symptoms and signs, which may point to an illness that may cause your headaches.
These include: vomiting and nausea; infection; fever; abnormal pulse, breathing or blood pressure; mental confusion; loss of consciousness; seizures; extreme fatigue; difficulty speaking, balancing or seeing properly. Neurological tests can eliminate brain and nerve diseases, including multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. These tests look for: tumors; hemorrhaging; abscesses; infection, inflammation, swelling, or excess fluid on the brain; sinus disease or blockage; injuries; or an aneurysm, a bubble in the wall of one of your blood vessels which might leak or rupture.
How are headaches treated?
Proper headache treatment has to be geared specifically to your type of headache and its cause.
Common tension headaches are regularly treated with over-the-counter medications likeHeadache Clinic Orange County ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen. Rest and relaxation also help alleviate the pain. A number of alternative therapies can reduce stress and minimize your symptoms. Discuss with your doctor these options: relaxation training, meditation, biofeedback, massage, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cluster headaches have no specific cure, but certain prescription medications, including Lithium and Verapamil may cut down their duration and frequency. Ask your doctor about certain medications that can be injected to provide immediate relief from pain. Some cluster-headache patients find that inhaling pure oxygen through a mask helps alleviate their symptoms.
Sinus headaches are often the result of a sinus infection which your doctor can treat with antihistamines, decongestants, and, if necessary, antibiotics.
While mild migraine attacks may be treated with over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen, more severe cases will require prescription medications. If you and your doctor managed to identify your migraine triggers, avoiding them may be your best preventative weapon. Resting in a dark, quiet room; applying cold or hot compresses to your neck and head; massage; and restricting your caffeine intake may also help relieve your migraine symptoms and inhibit future episodes.
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic headaches, let the California Pain Network help you get treatment with pain management Orange County respects and trusts. The Network connects those in pain with the best pain providers throughout OC, simply fill out the form on the page or call