Headache Specialists in Moncton - Find Long-Term Relief

Headache - What To Do About It

Headache is a common condition that most of us experience during our life. It is among the primary reasons cited for missed work or school days and visits to healthcare providers. Headaches can range from a minor nuisance to a significant health problem impacting your quality of life.

Doctors don’t fully understand what causes most headaches, as they can occur for multiple reasons. However, they typically fall into two major categories, primary and secondary headaches.

Primary Headaches

A primary headache is when there is no underlying medical condition, and the headache itself is the problem. It often occurs due to issues with pain-sensitive structures in your brain without any physical problems. While these headaches are disabling, they are not dangerous.

Examples of some primary headaches include:

  • Tension-type headache: It is the most common type, and the pain may occur across both sides and the front and back of the skull.
  • Migraine headache: It occurs in only one side of the brain, is recurrent, often lifelong, and commonly affects women. Migraines often worsen with physical activity, lights, sounds, or smells.
  • Cluster headache: The most intense type of headache.
  • New daily persistent headache: A rare but chronic headache disorder.

Stress and disruptions in sleep patterns often cause primary headaches. In addition, alcohol, certain types of foods, skipped meals, physical activity, and nicotine consumption can also be the cause of primary headaches.

Secondary Headaches

An underlying medical problem causes a secondary headache. Secondary headaches, such as dehydration, sinus, and medication overuse, go away once the underlying problem is treated. However, others are a sign of a potentially fatal health condition and include:

  • Thunderclap headaches: People describe it as the worst headache of their lives, and it often occurs due to a blood vessel tear, rupture, or blockage in the brain, i.e., stroke.
  • Spinal Headache: A puncture of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the leakage of spinal fluid, often following a medical procedure or trauma, cause this type of headache.
  • Hormone Headaches: These headaches occur due to hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or hypothyroidism.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Some serious and, sometimes life-threatening red flags that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Having headaches with seizures, loss of consciousness, and confusion
  • Experiencing the worst headache of your life
  • Getting a headache that worsens with coughing, sneezing, or exercise
  • Having a history of tumors
  • Being above 50 years old
  • Fever

In addition, if your headache disrupts your quality of life, does not respond to OTC medications, or recurs regularly, consulting a doctor would be an excellent idea.

Medical Treatment Options For Headaches

Several medications can help you manage headaches, such as:

  • OTC anti-inflammatory medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Nasal sprays that relieve sinus headaches
  • Prescription medications to help limit headaches recurrence and their severity. These may include antidepressants, antiseizure and antipsychotic medications.
  • Treating the underlying condition

In addition, some surgical procedures like nerve blocks, trigger point injections and

botulinum toxin type A (Botox), is also an option for some headaches and migraines.

Home Remedies And Alternative Medicine

Some lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • Avoiding stressors
  • Eating meals regularly
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Maintaining good hydration
  • Taking breaks when working

In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy can also prove helpful in some cases.

In Short

Headache is a very common medical condition, affecting billions worldwide and occurring for many reasons. Some causes are mild and respond to over-the-counter medications, but others are severe and need immediate medical care. Talk to your doctor if your condition does not improve with home remedies or it is affecting your everyday life.