Headache is a broad term that encompasses many cephalic ailments. There are over 150 defined types of headache and each fall into one of two categories: primary and secondary. The most commonly occurring type is the tension headache. In order to properly treat the sufferer’s headache, it is important to properly diagnose the condition.
The tension headache
Approximately 90% of headaches suffered are tension headaches. Tension headaches are sub-divided into two categories: episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches may last from a half hour to a week. Frequent episodic tension headaches may occur up to fifteen days out of the month and for extended periods of up to three months. After that, they become classified as chronic tension headaches. Chronic tension headaches may occur for periods of several hours (continuous), with a frequency of more than fifteen days out of the month for periods exceeding three months.
Tension headaches are identified by:
• dull, achy head pain
• a feeling of tightness
• pressure across the forehead
• symptoms along the sides and/or back of the head
Patients may also experience tenderness or pain in the neck, scalp and shoulders. The most common treatment method for tension headaches are analgesics such as aspirin, Tylenol, naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, or indomethacin. Often, a combination drug (a single pill with multiple ingredients) is the most effective and often, these will incorporate caffeine.
A migraine headache is a severe, painful headache that often occurs in four stages: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. Not all migraine sufferers experience all stages.
With the prodome stage, a sufferer may experience symptoms days before the migraine occurs. Symptoms may include constipation, depression, specific food cravings, hyperactivity, increased irritability, neck stiffness, and uncontrollable yawning.
The next stage, the aura stage, includes seeing spots or flashes of light, decreased vision or vision loss, speech impairment, and/or tingling sensations in the arms or legs. This stage is not always experienced and usually lasts only twenty to sixty minutes.
The next stage is the headache itself. The pain associated with migraines is often described as pulsing and/or throbbing that occur on one, or both, sides of the head accompanied by light sensitivity, nausea, blurred vision, and lightheadedness, sometimes with fainting.
The final stage, the postdrome, is described as feeling weak and drained. Some migraine sufferers claim a feeling of euphoria when the headache subsides. The same drugs or combination of drugs used for tension headaches may also be used for migraines. For more severe migraines, the patient may need to have preventive medications prescribed by their doctor.
The Cluster headache
More painful are cluster headaches, which often appear quickly and without warning. They can be identified by:
• excruciating pain on one side of the head, usually located around an eye
• may cause tearing, redness and/or swelling of the face in the affected area
• pale sweaty skin
• drooping eyelid
• stuffy or running sinus on the affected side.
Cluster headaches are so named because they occur in clusters over extended periods of time, often seasonally. They can last for several months at a time. Often, there will be a period of non-occurrence before the next set of headaches occurs.
Cluster headaches often occur several times a day and may last from fifteen minutes to several hours. The headaches usually occur about the same time of day each day and often occur at night shortly after falling asleep. Cluster headaches often dissipate before medications have time to take effect. They stop just as abruptly as they started, making treatment difficult.
A headache may possibly indicate a serious medical condition. If you experience frequent or prolonged headaches, you should seek medical attention.
If you or a loved one would like to obtain the best Headache Treatment, contact Texas Pain Network today for a headache specialist San Antonio trusts. The practice has a Double Board Certified pain management doctor accepting over 50 insurance plans at multiple locations.
Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling!