Treatment for Headaches

A headache or cephalgia is the feeling of pain or discomfort in the area around the head, starting from the scalp down to the neck. The pain can range from mild to severe. It is also one of the most common types of pains.

Most headaches are caused by more than one contributing factor, such as muscle tension, migraine, poor diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, low blood sugar, substance withdrawal, sight or hearing problems, and illnesses such as sinusitis.

Headaches can also result from other conditions such as strokes, brain tumors, meningitis and other serious physical disorders, although these are less common.

Treatment for headaches generally depends on the type of pain experienced. The general rule when treating headaches is to prescribe self-treatment (medication, good health and lifestyle practices, etc.) first, and treatment by a health professional if the pain continues, recurs or intensifies after self-treatment:

For tension-type headaches

The most common of all headaches, it is estimated that up to 80% of the world’s population suffers from this type. As the muscles contract, a lingering pain is felt inside the head. Many tension-type headaches are actually stress-related and are thus a combination of physical and mental conditions.

If you experience pain only occasionally, an over-the-counter pain reliever with no risk of side effects is advisable. If the pain recurs, a doctor-prescribed pain reliever may be needed. In many cases, it’s best to start treatment right when the symptoms start because generally, the more painful it gets, the harder it is to find relief.

Prevention is the best way to minimize recurrence. To reduce the adverse effects of stress on the body, non-strenuous physical exercise is highly-recommended. Other preventive measures include biofeedback training and relaxation therapy.

Treatment for migraine

Lasting up to 24 hours, this is a recurring headache marked by a more intense pain and is usually characterized by nausea and visual problems.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and prescription painkillers are usually remedies, but for more persistent pain, stronger prescription painkillers such as triptans may be advisable, but there are possible side effects such as vision problems.

Magnesium supplements, riboflavin, and herbal products can also be helpful. If you have an aversion to medicine, lifestyle-induced treatment is a ready alternative.

Having a regular schedule for meals and sleep helps a lot, along with regular exercise. Identifying and eliminating certain substances that can trigger migraines also helps.

Treatment for sinus-type headaches

This is characterized by deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. pain usually deepens if you move you move your head often or if you bend forward.

Breathing moist air is the simplest form of relief from sinus-related pains, such as experiencing steam from a hot shower.

Prescription and non-prescription medicines also help a lot in infection and symptom relief. Decongestants and antihistamines normally constrict the blood vessels that cause the pain.

Other medications include pain-relievers and vasoconstrictors for nasal congestion. If the pain still occurs, corticosteroids are advisable.

Allergies don’t cause headaches but they can cause sinus congestion, which can lead to headache pain. Hence, treatment for allergy will not relieve headache pain.

Treatment for cluster-type headaches

This kind of headache is normally felt around the eyes or nose on a daily on a weekly or monthly basis, eventually subsiding, then reappearing again. Because of their constant cycle, this is the most serious type of headache, although it is also the least common. It is known to mostly occur in young men in their 20’s. It’s best to see a doctor due to the recurring nature of this type of pain.

For instance, a neurological exam will help detect symptoms that can be treated, such an abnormal pupil in your eye or a drooping eyelid. Acute treatment will help stop or reduce the pain; this includes briefly inhaling 100 percent oxygen, taking injectable or nasal-spray types of sumatriptans, and dosages of local anesthetics which can numb the pain.

Conventional or radiation-type surgery is a more extreme option if medication is ineffective, although this can result in muscle weakness or sensory loss.