There are many different types of headaches, and it can be difficult to distinguish between certain types of headaches. Headaches are often classified as tension headaches, migraines, or cluster headaches based on the location of the pain, timing of symptoms, and relieving factors. Migraines need swift treatment but are not quite an emergency. The most important component of treating migraines is proper diagnosis and screening to rule out other serious health issues that can be masked as migraine headaches.
Migraines can have a severe effect on a person’s quality of life. They are normally chronic in nature and may start in early-to-mid life. Migraines are often under-diagnosed and often under-treated. Presenting symptoms include intermittent headaches lasting from hours to days, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or noise. People may also report a migraine aura or visual, sensory, or speech symptoms
Tension-type headaches may be triggered by stress or mental tension. Presenting symptoms may include a bilateral constricting pain that is dull and non-pulsatile. People general describe these headaches as being a “tight band” around the head. It does not worsen with routine physical activity. This type of headache may be episodic or chronic in nature.
A cluster headache is an attack of severe pain localized to the unilateral orbital, supraorbital, and/or temporal areas. The cluster type headaches may be recurrent at the same time period for several weeks and last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. These headaches may occur oncer a day or up to 8 times a day. People may report restlessness, agitation, or even motion sensitivity during attacks.Once a diagnosis of migraine has been reached, there are a number of prescription medications that can be administered in the office to abort symptoms. Treatment approaches involve identifying and avoiding trigger factors which may include a woman’s hormonal shifts, certain foods, exposure to bright lights, changes in the weather, or environmental allergens. Our office provides both medications to treat the acute attack and prophylactic medications to prevent future attacks. Other nonpharmacologic therapies that may be recommended include stress reduction activities, relaxation, counseling, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical therapy.