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Treatments for People with Headaches
Generally, people who suffer from migraine, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches can be exposed to various treatment options. Most cases of headaches respond well to treatments, which are effective, as long as patients who suffer from these conditions follow the medical professionals’ instructions. As it is, failure to comply with the doctor’s prescriptions could turn treatment options to outright failures. For instance, taking too much painkillers may result in recurring headaches. Headaches can easily be treated, as long as patients consult with medical professionals immediately. Los Angeles Pain Clinic has a variety of treatment options for people who suffer from migraine, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches.
Considered as one of the most common forms of headaches, migraine headaches are often painful. People who suffer from this painful headache are sensitive to light and sound, and are often responsive to feelings of nausea and vomiting. They often happen due to the enlargement of blood vessels, as well as the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that surround the blood vessels.
Causes of Migraines
Like any other forms of headaches, migraine headaches are due to various factors or triggers, including allergic reactions, sensitivity to light and sound, physical and/or emotional stress, irregular sleeping patterns, alcohol consumption, smoking, meal-skipping or fasting and hormonal fluctuations in women.
Treatment for Migraines
Migraine treatment can either be one of the following:
- Preventive, which involves taking medications that will help avoid the occurrence of a migraine; or
- Abortive, which involves taking medications immediately after the onset of the headache.
Preventive medication doesn’t usually eliminate the occurrences of headaches completely, but would rather help reduce the severity, length, and frequency of the condition. Use of antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and beta blockers been found to be effective in preventing the onset of migraines, especially for those who suffer from them frequently. Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve may help the sufferer’s moderate migraine go away. In severe migraines, triptans are usually administered to help in pain relief, as well as the alleviation of nausea and light and sound sensitivity. Botox may also be administered in other cases. Regardless, it is important to consult a doctor for prescription.
Like migraines, tension-type headaches are one of the most common headaches. It is characterized with muscle tightness, especially on the specific parts of the head, neck, and/or scalp. People who suffer from it are said to feel like a tight band is placed around the head, but they are often mild to moderate.
Causes of Tension-type Headaches
Causes of tension-type headaches are not exactly known. However, there is wide speculation that tension-type headaches stemmed from tensions of the facial, neck, and scalp muscles, and are often linked to anxiety, depression, and stress.
Treatment for Tension-type Headaches
Prescription medications that can be given to people with tension headaches include aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen. Other medications may include narcotic pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and certain antidepressants. However, with the exception of antidepressants, these drugs should be taken only in prescribed dosages, as these are habit forming and can only provide temporary relief. They basically do not help prevent recurring tension headaches.
Alternative ways for the treatment of this type of headache include a simple head massage, as well as a hot shower or bath or heating bad. Doing any of these may help loosen the muscle tightness that is associated with tension-type headaches. Long-term methods, such as lifestyle changes, can be adopted, in order to prevent these headaches in the future. These include changing of sleeping habits, increased exercise, and regular stretching of the neck, back and shoulder muscles.
Cluster headaches are described as an intense pain in or around one eye on one side of the head. Given its name, it usually occurs in cyclical patterns or clusters, and may last from weeks to months. It is quite rare and, fortunately, non-life-threatening, and can be treated, making such attacks shorter and less severe.
Causes of Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches, unlike migraine and tension headaches, are not associated certain triggers, such as food intake and stress. However, people who suffer from this type of headache often experience nausea similar to those who experience migraine.
Treatment for Cluster Headaches
Unlike other types of headaches, common over-the-counter pain relievers do not typically help abort cluster headaches. Instead, these types may be relieved by triptans, including sumatriptan and zolmitriptan, narcotics (which are frequently aborted because they are habit forming), and pure oxygen. Pain relief from inhaling 100 percent oxygen can be felt within 15 minutes; however, this treatment is most effective before pain reaches its peak, so patients experiencing this type of headache may need to have an oxygen cylinder and regulator that are both easily available and accessible.
Triptans can be administered via injections or via nasal spray, and are known to be effective in treating acute types of cluster headaches. Preventive strategies usually include calcium channel blockers, corticosteroids, ergots, melatonin, and anti-seizure medications.
Meanwhile, if you live in Los Angeles or Santa Monica and you have any of these types of headaches, it is a must that you consult with our doctors in our Los Angeles face pain clinic.