Medical Procedures For Chronic Headache
In cases of chronic headache thats resistant to treatment, neurologists and pain specialists may consider neurostimulation to take on the pain. These focus on using mild electrical shocks or magnetic waves to stimulate nerves associated with the headaches. This essentially scrambles the pain sensation at its source. These therapies include:
- Trigeminal nerve stimulation : When headaches start, you wear a device to stimulate the trigeminal nerve, which is associated with pain processing. The Cefaly device is a popular TNS option.
- Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation :Another means of managing headaches after onset is transcranial magnetic stimulation. Sold under the name eNeura, its only available with a prescription.
- Vagal nerve stimulation:Devices can also be used to stimulate the vagus nerve in the neck. Studies have found these to help prevent migraines and cluster headaches.
- Sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation: The sphenopalatine ganglion is a bundle of nerves behind a bony structure in the nose, which is associated with facial sensation. Electrical signals to stimulate the SPG come from a small device implanted in the area through the mouth. This approach may be effective for cluster headaches.
- Occipital nerve stimulation :Neurostimulation targeting the occipital nerve at the back of the head can also help. Devices that deliver electricity through the skin using a device or a remote-controlled implant can be considered.
What Causes A Headache Behind The Eyes
A headache behind your eyes can have multiple causes, and it may take some trial and error before you understand what triggers it. To identify the source of your headache pain, you should first consider the type of pain you have.
- Migraine: A migraine headache usually comes with extreme pain behind your eyes. If you suffer from migraines, your triggers may look different than those of someone else who also gets migraines. For many people, migraines accompany stress or anxiety, hormone changes, poor posture or diet, medication, and even environmental stimuli. They often come with nausea, weakness, tension in the head, and mood changes.
- Tension headache: You might notice tension headaches after a long day of driving, looking at a screen, or anything that requires continuous, close focus. Many people notice these types of headaches on days with cold temperatures, and they can come with head or neck muscle contractions.
- Cluster headache: Cluster headaches occur in cycles, and men experience them more than women do. While they are common, doctors do not know what causes them, other than possible genetic factors. Many people who have them experience severe pain.
- Sinus headache: This type of headache appears most often during allergy seasons or at other times when you experience an allergy flare-up. Its symptoms mirror many of those that come with migraines and cluster headaches, which leads many people to mistake those types of headaches for sinus headaches.
- Illness or infection
How Your Doctor Will Diagnose Your Headache
Your doctor or specialized neurologist will do a physical exam. Youll be asked about your medical history and what symptoms youre having.
Keeping a journal of your headaches and triggers can be extremely helpful for diagnosis. They might ask you questions like these:
- When did the headaches start?
- What does the pain feel like?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- How often do you get headaches?
- What seems to trigger them?
- What makes the headaches better? What makes them worse?
- Is there a family history of headaches?
Your doctor may be able to diagnose your headache based on symptoms alone. But if they arent sure about whats causing your headaches, they may recommend computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging :
- A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of your brain. It can diagnose bleeding in your brain and certain other abnormalities.
- An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed pictures of your brain and its blood vessels. It provides a more detailed brain image than a CT scan. It can help diagnose strokes, bleeding in the brain, tumors, structural problems, and infections.
There are countless headache remedies or hacks that you might have heard about over the years. Here are a few of the most common ones to try:
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
While most headaches dont require hospitalization, its important to know the signs that you need help. Heres when you should call 911:
- You black out or lose consciousness after hitting your head or jolting it
- Your headache sets on very rapidly
- The pain is more severe than its ever been
- The pain gets progressively heavier over a 24-hour period.
In addition, call your healthcare provider if your headache is accompanied by:
- Fever and neck stiffness
- Loss of muscle and limb coordination
- Loss of balance
- Pain and redness behind an eye or eyes
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
How Is Frontal Lobe Headache Treated
Treatment will depend on the severity of your headache and the possible triggers. Most frontal lobe headaches can be treated with OTC pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen , ibuprofen , or naproxen . There are also OTC combination drugs. These include a pain killer and a sedative or caffeine. Be aware, though, that overuse of some headache remedies can make your headaches worse.
Other headache remedies are geared to help you relax and reduce stress. Avoid any particular stress triggers that you have identified. Establish a daily routine that includes regularly scheduled meals and enough sleep. Other stress-busting remedies include:
- a hot shower or bath
- regular exercise
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When To Seek Medical Attention
While most headaches dont necessarily call for medical attention, its important to remember that the pain might be related to something more serious and dangerous.
Get emergency medical help if you in the following cases:
- Loss of consciousness following head impact
- Very rapid onset of headache
- Pain is more severe than usual
- The pain worsens over 24 hours
Other cases should prompt a call to your healthcare provider. Do so if, alongside your headache, you experience the following:
- Fever and stiff neck
- Vision problems, such as vision loss or seeing double
- Pain in one eye, accompanied by redness
- Problems swallowing or chewing
Other Treatments And Helpful Lifestyle Changes
Although corticosteroids are the most common and effective treatments for temporal arteritis, in certain cases, doctors may consider other treatments as add-on therapy to help taper off the use of corticosteroids such as prednisone. This add-on therapy is referred to as steroid-sparing agent or therapy.
This may be particularly important if you develop significant side effects from corticosteroids or if you are at high risk of developing side effects as is the case with having diabetes or osteoporosis.
Steroid-sparing agents include certain chemotherapy such as Methotrexate and immunosuppressant medications such as Tocilzumab , which is FDA approved for the treatment of temporal arteritis. In some cases, a daily dose of aspirin in addition to other treatments may help reduce the rate of vision loss and prevent stroke.
The following measures may also help the severity of some symptoms, as well as the severity of long-term side effects from corticosteroid use:
- reducing your salt intake
- chlamydia pneumoniae
- mycoplasma pneumoniae
However, there is no evidence to definitively prove or disprove this. Temporal arteritis, once it occurs, appears to be autoimmune in nature. This means that the bodys own immune cells attack healthy tissue in the artery walls.
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Headache Behind Right Left Or Both Eyes Causes & Treatment
Everyone experiences a headache occasionally, but having pain behind your eyes can disrupt your life. If you experience such condition often or every day, that frequency might indicate something more serious.
If your headaches have required you to change your routine, be sure to talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician will consider your situation and prescribe treatment based on your headache triggers, symptoms, and pain location.
Understanding What Causes Headaches And Finding Treatments To Relieve The Pain
Nearly everyone has had headache pain, and most of us have had it many times. A minor headache is little more than a nuisance that’s relieved by an over-the-counter pain reliever, some food or coffee, or a short rest. But if your headache is severe or unusual, you might worry about stroke, a tumor, or a blood clot. Fortunately, such problems are rare. Still, you should know when a headache needs urgent care and how to control the vast majority of headaches that are not threatening to your health.
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How Are Headaches In Children Diagnosed
In order to evaluate and diagnose the headaches, your healthcare provider will need to perform a physical examination. Theyll check for things like:
- Balance problems.
- Vision problems.
Theyll also interview you and your child. Its helpful to keep a diary of your childs experiences leading up to your appointment. This can help with the interview process. Your childs healthcare provider may ask several questions, such as:
Tension Headache Vs Migraine
Tension headaches, which are brought on by emotional, mental or physical stress, are more common than migraines.
People who have tension headaches often complain of a band of pain across their forehead, or pressure on either side of the head. The pain is tiring, but not as severe as migraine.
Migraine, on the other hand, usually hurts worse on one side of the head. And, you may experience light sensitivity, aura, or bright lines or dots in your field of vision.
Tension headaches may resolve on their own once the source of stress is gone. In these cases, over-the-counter pain medications and lifestyle adjustments may help.
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What Else Causes Constant Headache
Temporal arteritis isn’t the only condition that can cause constant headaches. The pain of migraine headaches can be similar, since they often begin on one side of the head, with pain stretching from the front to the back of the head.
How would you know if that constant headache is a migraine or temporal arteritis? Migraines make people sensitive to light and sound, may cause nausea and vomiting, and can last a few hours or even days. But don’t try to diagnose and treat yourself.
Get in-depth information on the most common kinds of headaches and the treatment strategies that work best for each. Check out the Harvard Special Health Report Headache Relief: Preventing and treating migraines and other headaches.
Image: yacobchuk/Getty Images
How Are Headaches Diagnosed
The full extent of the problem may not be completely understood immediately, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of a headache is made with a careful history and physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination, the doctor obtains a complete medical history of the child and family.
Questions commonly asked during the examination may include the following:
When do headaches occurs?
What is the location of the headache?
What do the headaches feel like?
How long do the headaches last?
Have there been changes in walking and behavior patterns, or personality?
Do changes in positioning or sitting-up cause the headache?
Is your child having trouble sleeping?
Does your child have a history of emotional stress?
Is there a history of trauma to your child’s head or face?
If the history is consistent with migraine or tension type headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further diagnostic testing may be necessary.
Other diagnostic tests may include:
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For Chronic Or Severe Headaches
If your headaches are chronic, the doctor may refer you to a psychotherapist or psychologist for counseling. You can work together to resolve stress problems and learn biofeedback and stress reduction techniques.
For more severe chronic headaches, the doctor or therapist may prescribe other drugs, such as muscle relaxants. If depression is a factor in triggering your headaches, the doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. Antidepressants and muscle relaxants do not have an instantaneous effect. They may take some time to build up in your system, so be patient.
In some cases, you may have more than one type of headache and several different medications may be prescribed. If your headaches persist after initial treatment, the doctor may order brain imaging tests to make sure there are no other possible causes of pain, such as a tumor or aneurysm. Magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography are commonly used for brain imaging.
Symptoms Of A Cluster Headache
Cluster headaches begin quickly and without warning. The pain is very severe and is often described as a sharp, burning or piercing sensation on one side of the head.
It’s often felt around the eye, temple and sometimes face. It tends to affect the same side for each attack.
People often feel restless and agitated during an attack because the pain is so intense, and they may react by rocking, pacing or banging their head against the wall.
You may also get 1 or more of the following symptoms:
- a red and watering eye
- drooping and swelling of 1 eyelid
- a smaller pupil in 1 eye
- a blocked or runny nostril
The attacks generally last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and typically occur between 1 and 8 times a day.
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What Are Headaches Behind Or Above The Left Eye
The term headache is used to describe any kind of pain in your head. The pain can affect just one side of your head or it can affect both sides at the same time.
According to Dr. Benjamin Wedro on MedicineNet, the pain on your left side of your head or right side originates from irritation or inflammation in the tissues and nerves in your head. Also, muscles around your right or left eye, sinuses and ears can also be a reason for headaches if they become strained or tired.1
Dr. Wedro says that there are 3 types of headaches that can affect a person:
- Primary headaches include migraines and cluster headaches that are commonly felt behind the left eye or right eye only.
- Secondary headaches are those that are caused by an infection or injury. For example, a blocked sinus on the left side of your head will cause pain above or below your left eye.
- Cranial neuralgia headaches are often caused by irritated or inflamed nerves and can cause facial pain and headaches on one side of your head.
Can You Massage Your Temple
When looking for natural ways to get left temple pain relief, many people wonder if it is safe to massage your temples.
According to the journal Cephalalgia, gentle temple massaging is one way to relieve pain that affects your temples. However, many people reported that the effect of massaging the temples was often momentary, wearing off when the massage stopped.23
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When Is A Headache A Sign Of A Brain Tumor
A common question about severe or persistent headaches is whether they can be caused by a serious underlying health problem, such as a brain tumor.
The fact of the matter is that headaches are more likely a component of primary headache disorders, such as migraine or tension headaches, rather than due to brain tumors. However, certain factors may indicate that a headache could be symptomatic of a larger issue.
What Types Of Headaches Are Serious
All headaches are unpleasant and some, such as headache from medication misuse, are serious in the sense that when not tackled properly they may never go away. However, a few headaches are signs of serious underlying problems. These are uncommon – in many cases very rare.
Dangerous headaches tend to occur suddenly, and to become progressively worse over time. They are more common in older people. They include the following:
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Sinus Headaches Or Pressure
Many times people dont recognize sinus pressure for what it is, because they often think of sinuses as just being around the nose. However, they are also located around our eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth, and you may feel sinus pressure in those areas that feels like a headache.
Triggers include sinusitis , colds, or allergies.
Treatment: Using a humidifier, warm compress, or breathing in warm, moist air from a vaporizer or pot of boiling water can help. Some people find relief from cold or sinus medications.
Other Causes Of Headaches In Your Left Temple
In rare cases, persistent chronic headaches that cause throbbing headaches can be an indicator of a more serious condition.
Stroke. Strokes cause weakness on one side of your body along with vision problems and speech problems. On rare occasions, a stroke can cause a severe migraine that may affect just one side of your head.21 Please read my article on the early signs of a stroke for more information.
Brain tumor. Doctors say that most headaches are not caused by brain tumors. However, if you have constant headaches that dont respond to rest or painkillers, you should speak to your doctor. Other symptoms of a brain tumor include seizures, balance problems, headaches with blurry vision, personality changes, or changes in speech or hearing.22
Nummular headaches. A headache that causes continual pain in a small area of your head could be a nummular headache, or a coin-shaped headache. The pain can be intense and last for around 2 hours. However, there are usually no associated symptoms with nummular headaches. These types of headaches are rarely serious.23
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Treatment For Headaches Behind The Eyes
Over-the-counter pain medication can often relieve mild or moderate headaches, but prescription medication may be necessary when the pain is severe.
A doctor may prescribe antidepressants, antiseizure medications, or oral birth control pills as preventive measures for people who experience frequent migraine headaches. A person may find relief from a migraine episode by resting in a darkened room. Placing a cool, damp towel over the eyes may help, as well.
Muscle relaxants are a short-term option for the management of tension headaches.
If a person has headaches caused by bacterial sinusitis, a doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. However, nasal decongestant sprays are a good option if sinusitis is due to an allergy or viral infection.
People can often relieve eye strain due to long-term computer or other screen use by following the 20-20-20 rule.
Addressing the underlying causes of headaches behind the eyes can help a person manage them at home.
Avoiding the following triggers may help you to prevent the onset of migraine: