One thing we are all too familiar with is the headache. Headaches are so common that most grocery stores and pharmacies have a whole isle devoted to headache remedies. When you get a headache, and it won’t go away, it can rule your life.
Did you know that headaches are the most common reason to visit the emergency room? It’s true, and it costs employers billions of dollars in lost productivity.
Let’s look at the different types and symptoms of headaches, and what you can do about them.
Primary Headache Syndromes:
- Tension Headache
- Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias
- Cluster Headaches
Other Primary Headaches
- Cough Headache
- Exercise Headache
Secondary Headache Syndromes
- Post-Traumatic Headache
- Cranial and Cervical Vascular Disorders
- Non-vascular Intracranial Disorders
- Substance Abuse and Withdrawal
- Disorders of Homeostasis
- Neck, Sinus, Teeth, or Mouth Disorders
Most headaches can be diagnosed clinically with history and physical examinations by a physician. Only rarely and especially for secondary headaches you may need diagnostic imaging studies, like MRI or CAT scan. There may be the need for blood work to check for infections or other inflammatory diseases.
Most headaches respond to common medications know as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc. If your headache is chronic or lasts for the majority of the days in a month, then you may benefit from maintenance treatment with anti-depressants or a beta-blocker, such as Metoprolol.
Other treatments are geared to specific types of headaches. Studies have demonstrated that sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) blocks and neurostimulation can provide pain relief in patients with cluster headaches, migraines, and other trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. These may also respond to rest and behavioral therapy.
Headaches are a difficult problem for many people and rob them of quality of life. If you are experiencing headaches, and don’t seem to find the help you need, it may be time to speak to a spine and pain management doctor. It’s not something you should put off. It’s a way to restore you to a normal life and the activities you enjoy. Don’t let headaches rule your life anymore.