Headaches and Migraines
The headache pain that most people feelmay be sharp, throbbing, constant, mild or intense, but not all headaches need medical attention although some headaches are signals of more serious disorders. Therefore, getting the correct diagnosis will improve your headache and migraine pain, but first you must know the different types of headachesor migraines that many people experience.
Types of Headaches or Migraines You May Experience
Tension headache patients may experience pain that begins in the back of the head and upper neck. The pain may be described as a band-like tightness or pressure. It may spread to encircle the head.
- The most intense pressure may be felt at the temples or over the eyebrows.
- The pain can vary in intensity but usually is not disabling, meaning that the sufferer may continue with daily activities. The pain usually is bilateral (affecting both sides of the head).
- The pain is not associated with an aura (see below), nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound.
- The pain occurs sporadically (infrequently and without a pattern) but can occur frequently and even daily in some people.
Even though it is not life-threatening, a tension headache can make daily activities more difficult to accomplish. Most people successfully treat themselves with over-the–counter (OTC) pain medications to control tension headaches. Refer to the list of medication is listed below in our headache management section of this page. In addition, massages, biofeedback, and stress management can all be used as adjuncts to help with control of tension headaches.
Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Beforepuberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty, more women than men are affected.
Many patients describe their headache as a one-sided, pounding type of pain, with symptoms of nausea and sensitivity to light, sound, or smells (known as photophobia, phonophobia, and osmophobia). In some cases, the discomfort may be bilateral. The pain of a migraine is often graded as moderate to severe in intensity. Physical activity or exertion (walking up stairs, rushing to catch a bus or train) will worsen the symptoms and gives off nausea and vomiting feeling in the stomach.
The treatment of an acute migraine headache may vary from over-the-counter medicines (OTC), like acetaminophen(Tylenol and others) or ibuprofen to prescription medications. Some patients who experience more than 15 headache days every month might benefit from botox injections.
Cluster or vascular headaches are results of high blood pressure and fever. It is a rare type of primary headache. It more commonly affects men in their late 20s though women and children can also suffer this type of headache.Cluster headaches tend to occur daily for periods of a week or more with long periods of time, months to years, with no headache symptoms, often waking the patient in the middle of the night.
- The pain typically is excruciating and located around or behind one eye.
- Some patients describe the pain as feeling like a hot poker in the eye.
- The affected eye may become red, inflamed, and watery.
- The nose on the affected side may become congested and runny.
- Injection of triptan medications, like sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and rizatriptan which are common migraine medications.
- Inhalation of high concentrations of oxygen (though this will not work if the headache is well established).
- Injection of lidocaine which is a local anesthetic into the nostril and dihydroergotamine, a medication that causes blood vessels to constrict.
- Drinking coffee can help get rid of the clustered pain.
Sinus headaches are commonly associated with forehead and facial pressure over the sinuses, nasal congestion and runny nose.When pressure is build up within the cavities or pockets within the bones of the skull we refer to that irritation as getting a sinus headache. When the tissues lining the sinuses are inflamed, it causes the sinus headache pain we feel.
An infection may develop through fever inducing symptoms; tiredness when not having enough sleep, even body aches and chills from not having enough rest. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck can accompany a sinus infection. Other sinus headache symptoms can also be due to irritation, infection, and even allergic reactions in our nasal area.
Sinus headaches can be treated with decongestants which you can buy without a prescription. It helps to open your blocked sinus cavities. Nasal sprays may also be prescribed to reduce your congestion and pain. In addition, over the counter drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help reduce the swelling and mucus in your nasal passageway.
Headaches and Migraines Management Options
Over The Counter Painkillers
Drugs used for the relief of migraine symptoms in order to prevent migraines include methysergide maleate, which counteracts blood vessel constriction. Propranolol hydrochloride is a drug which also reduces the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, ornaproxen sodium may help as well but are on the weaker end of the spectrum and may take longer for relief.
Use Nasal Sprays & Decongestants
Nasal sprays and decongestant medication can be purchased without a prescription. They help open your blocked sinus cavities by reducing the swelling and mucus in your nasal passages. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe these sprays and other drugs to reduce your congestion and pain. Follow the instructions carefully. If you are already taking a pain medicine, make sure the decongestant doesn’t have it as well.
Flush Out Your Sinus With Salt Water
Use salt water to relief any inflammation in the nasal. Get a bulb syringe or neti pot and flush out your sinuses with salt water. It moistens and helps clear mucus from your nasal passages, helping to reduce the pressure. If none of this headache management tips seems to relief your headaches, try changing your eating habits, exercising more, and a general lifestyle change.
Hydrate Your Nose With Moisture
The best way to manage the pain of your sinuses is to keep your nasal passages moist. Dry air can irritate your sinuses, so use a humidifier or vaporizer. Other options include holding a warm, wet towel over your face for a few minutes or using a saline solution nasal spray.