Headaches: Why They’re Troublesome and How to Treat Them
What many people may not realize is that just because a condition may be common doesn’t mean it’s not debilitating. Take headachesfor example. Headaches are one of the most common afflictions in the world. It is a leading cause of missed work days and about 1 in 20 people has a headache nearly every day. Migraines, a much more serious and debilitating type of headache, afflicts about 1 in 7 people in the world. If you’ve ever suffered a migraine you know that you can’t function during one and often are reduced to resting in bed until it passes.
If you complain of headaches to someone, they might be rather dismissive and say everyone gets them. But, if you develop headaches on a regular basis that are painful enough to disrupt your life, you’re not just suffering with something that can be cured with an aspirin and a glass of water. You may be in a situation where you want to talk to your neurologist about the frequency of your headaches so you can discuss a treatment plan.
It’s important to understand what’s going on when you have a headache, what you should tell your neurologist, and how your headaches can be treated. Here is what you need to know concerning chronic headaches.
Tension headaches vs migraines
Headaches can present with a variety of symptoms beyond the typical stabbing pain or sensation of pressure in the head. The pain can also radiate into the neck. It’s when the symptoms become even more extreme that you should seek medical advice. Symptoms like vomiting, nausea, changes to your vision, and sensitivity to light or smells can be an indication that you’re suffering with migraines.
While severity of pain isn’t always a giveaway because tension headaches can be quite painful, there’s a chance you’re dealing with migraines if they are severe and last a long time. Tension headaches are generally caused by stress and accompanying muscle tension. They also generally occur on both sides of the head or neck. A migraine, in comparison, often happens in one region and is associated with pain in the brain.
It’s not entirely understood what triggers migraines. There are some theories that it is genetic, hormonal, and related in some way to allergies in certain instances. Tension headaches can be caused by allergies, stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, posture, and a variety of other things. Headaches generally aren’t one size fits all. That’s why you should speak with your doctor about them if they’re happening often. If you’re afraid of a brain tumor, know that they aren’t as common as you’d believe. While you may get imaging testing done eventually if your doctor deems it appropriate, you shouldn’t get yourself into a state of anxiety because you’re experiencing headaches. During your appointment, you’ll be asked a series of questions in order to determine possible triggers. Keeping track of when you have these headaches will be very important when trying to figure out their cause and possible treatment options.
What you need to tell your neurologist
Be sure to have as much information as possible to share regarding your headaches. Does it happen at a certain time of day? Do certain things make the headaches worse? Do you notice any vision changes during or right before the headache strikes? Even a food journal would be beneficial considering allergies could be at play. Also, be sure to list any medications you take and what remedies you have already tried to get rid of your headaches.
When dealing with headaches, there is no one size fits all treatment course. Various things may be tried in order to at least reduce the number of headaches that you’re experiencing. Lifestyle changes may be suggested, including drinking more water, avoiding certain foods, or abstaining from caffeine or alcohol. Many people also respond well to medication. Preventative and as needed medication is available depending on what makes the most sense for your situation. Essentially, be prepared to try a few different things. Treating headaches is often a multi-step process that will require a few different remedies in order to be fully effective in reducing how many headaches you experience.
It doesn’t matter how common headaches are. If you have them often enough they can disrupt your life and you need answers. If you’re having multiple headaches a week, it’s time to speak to your neurologist about your condition. You need answers and treatment so you can get back to feeling well and being productive. Book an appointment online with us today to set up an appointment to speak with a neurologist. The team at First Choice Medical Group is here to provide you with the care you need so you can stop suffering from so many headaches and get back to enjoying life.