Friday, March 17, 2023

What Is Causing My Headache

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When Should I Seek Medical Care For A Headache

What causes headaches? – Dan Kwartler

Seek medical care if the headache is:

  • The “worst headache of your life.” This is the wording often used in textbooks as a cue for medical practitioners to consider the diagnosis of a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. The amount of pain will often be taken in context with the appearance of the patient and other associated signs and symptoms. Too often, patients are prompted to use this expression by a health care professional and do not routinely volunteer the phrase.
  • Different than your usual headaches
  • Starts suddenly or is aggravated by exertion, coughing, bending over, or sexual activity
  • Associated with persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Associated with fever or stiff neck. A stiff neck may be due to meningitis or blood from a ruptured aneurysm. However, most patients who complain of a stiff neck have muscle spasm and inflammation as the cause.

Stages Of Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches can be predictable because some start with an aura. An aura is a visual disturbance that can appear as:

  • flashing lights
  • zigzag lines
  • temporary vision loss right before the headache

Migraine headaches are sometimes preceded by a prodrome, or preheadache, and some migraine episodes may have an aura before or during the headache.

Here are all the stages of migraine headaches:

  • Premonitory phase. May occur as early as 3 days before a migraine headache, and you can experience symptoms such as fatigue, mood changes, and muscle tenderness.
  • Aura. Approximately of migraine attacks include an aura, which may last only minutes and develops gradually.
  • Headache. Throbbing pain or other associated symptoms may occur during this stage.
  • What Are Treatments For Tension Headaches

    Tension headaches are painful, and patients may be upset that the diagnosis is “only” a tension headache. 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 pain medications to control tension headaches. The following work well for most people:

    If these fail, other supportive treatments are available. Recurrent headaches should be a signal to seek medical help. Physical therapy, massage, biofeedback, and stress management can all be used as adjuncts to help control tension headaches.

    It is important to remember that OTC medications, while safe, are medications and may have side effects and potential interactions with prescription medications. It always is wise to ask a health care professional or pharmacist if one has questions about OTC medications and their use. This is especially important with OTC pain medications, because they are used so frequently.

    It is important to read the listing of ingredients in OTC pain medications. Often an OTC medication is a combination of ingredients, and the second or third listed ingredient may have the potential of interfering with the action of other drugs based upon a patient’s other medical issues. For example:

    Other examples where caution should be used include the following:

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    Whats A Rebound Headache

    Some headaches rebound because you use medications too much. Then you need to take even more medication, which makes the pain worse. This cycle can happen with:

    • Taking pain relievers more than two days a week.
    • Overusing abortive medications, with headaches returning after the last dose.

    Talk to your healthcare provider about stopping medications. If you stop, the pain may improve over the next six to 12 weeks.

    When Should I Call The Doctor

    TYPES OF HEADACHES Headaches Migraines Caused by Intense Pain on ...

    Most headaches arent dangerous. Rarely, headache pain can be a sign of a serious medical problem. You should seek immediate medical care if you have:

    • Stiff neck.
    • Sudden, severe headache that gets worse quickly.
    • Fever that doesnt go away.
    • Headache after concussion .
    • Confused thoughts or slurred speech or weakness.
    • New onset headache over the age of 50.
    • Sudden change in your headache pattern.
    • New onset headache in someone with cancer or autoimmune disease.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Almost everyone experiences tension headaches. But that doesnt mean you need to live with the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be enough to relieve minor symptoms. If you have a headache more days than not, reach out to your provider for guidance. Medication and stress management help many people reduce the impact of tension headaches on their life. Massage, meditation, exercise or talking to someone you trust are just some of your options. The best stress-management therapy is the one that works for your lifestyle and feels right to you.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/04/2021.


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    What Causes Sinus Headaches

    Sinus infections cause sinus headaches. Anything that makes mucus buildup in the sinuses can lead to a sinus infection, such as:

    • The common cold is most often to blame.
    • Seasonal allergies trigger mucus production.
    • Nasal polyps, abnormal growths in the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps can block mucus from draining.
    • Deviated septum, which is when the line of cartilage and bone down the center of the nose isnt straight. A deviated septum can prevent mucus from properly draining.

    Too much mucus gives germs an opportunity to grow. As germs build up, they irritate the sinuses. In response, sinus tissue swells, blocking the passage of mucus. Swollen, irritated sinuses filled with liquid make your face feel tender and achy.

    So What Does It Mean If You Have Constant Headaches

    Technically, for your headaches to be considered chronic, they need to go on for 15 days or longer per month, for at least three consecutive months, SELF reported previously. That being said, if you have recurring headaches for, say, two weeks, that doesnt mean you should discount your painyou should still see your doctor.

    The causes of constant, headacheswhether tension or migrainerange from totally minor to pretty major. Here are 10 things your headaches could be telling you about your health.

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    When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About A Headache

    If you have these symptoms, see your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room:

    • Feeling that youre having the worst headache ever.
    • Headache that comes with vision loss, vomiting or loss of consciousness.
    • Headache pain lasting more than 72 hours, with less than four pain-free hours in a row while awake.
    • Feeling that something is off or not right.

    Headache And Jaw Or Dental Problems

    What is Causing My Leg Pain

    If the teeth of a persons upper and lower jaw fail to meet smoothly, the resulting muscle tension in the jaw can cause headache. Treatment may include correcting the bite, replacing missing teeth or using occlusal splints, which allow the jaw to close without dental interference. Surgery may be needed in severe cases.Tooth decay, dental abscesses and post-extraction infection can cause headache, as well as referred pain to the face and head, and these need to be professionally treated by a dentist.

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    Treating Other Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias

    Besides cluster headache, trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias include paroxysmal hemicrania, hemicrania continua, and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing .

    Paroxysmal hemicrania may be treated with indomethacin , which is a strong nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory.

    SUNCT headache is rare, and according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most of the information that doctors have about treating them are through case studies, or in-depth studies of individuals or small groups of people. Corticosteroids and the anti-epileptic drugs gabapentin , lamotrigine , and carbamazepine may help relieve some symptoms in some people with SUNCT headache.

    How Can I Tell If I Have A Headache Or A Migraine

    A headache is usually felt as a tight pressure on both sides of the head and is usually not severe. A migraine includes other symptoms as well as headache. Migraine pain is usually throbbing in nature and is often worse on one side of the head than the other. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sound or seeing bright shimmering lights, you are most likely having a migraine. Treatments for migraine and other headaches are different and so it is important that you see your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of your headache type.

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    Ear Nose And Throat Disorders And Headache

    Disorders of the ear, nose and throat that can cause recurring headache include:

    • sinus problems – caused by infection, cold, flu or allergic reactions such as hay fever
    • labyrinthitis – the general term for any type of inflammation of the inner ear
    • infection – of the ear, nose or throat, caused by either bacteria or viruses
    • trauma – such as a blow to the ear or perforation of the eardrum
    • hay fever – when the immune system overreacts to irritants such as pollen
    • tonsillitis – an infection most often caused by the bacterium streptococcus.

    If The Pain Is In Your Sinuses

    Migraine Pain: Headache Types, Causes and Sypmtoms

    Many “sinus headaches” are actually tension headaches or migraines, the first and second most common types of headaches, respectively. In fact, a true “sinus headache” probably doesn’t really exist, said Dr. Green. “Most headaches are referred to the sinus region.”

    Sinus infections and colds can trigger tension headaches. And tension headaches can occur with migraines, according to Medline Plus.

    Also, acute sinus disease can cause headaches, said Dr. Green, often with accompanying fever and pussy discharge from your nose.

    Whichever kind of headache you experience, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider if your pain becomes chronic or disabling, if headaches feel different from how they used to feel, if they come on suddenly, or if they’re accompanied by a fever, confusion, stiff neck, double vision, or seizures.

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    What Are Food Triggers That Could Be Causing My Headaches

    Many patients report that migraine headaches are triggered by food or food ingredients. These include:

    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Wine
    • MSG , a food additive that enhances the flavor
    • Some types of cheese

    If you start experiencing frequent migraines, make note of what youre eating on those days. It may be helpful to keep a food diary.

    If you get migraines more often when you eat or drink a specific food, try eliminating it from your diet for a couple of weeks. Its a process of trial and error, but if food is the culprit of your pain, replacing that food with an alternative or abstaining from it altogether may help.

    When To See Your Physician

    If the headache goes on for a couple of weeks without improvement, or is associated with another neurological symptom, such as weakness on one side of the body, it is recommended to discuss your symptoms with a physician.

    Headaches that are new or worsening, especially in a person who doesnt normally have headaches, may warrant a medical follow-up, as do headaches that are worse in the morning or when the person is laying down. These headaches could also potentially wake someone from their sleep, or be accompanied by nausea or vomiting.

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    How To Prevent Headaches

    When debating how to prevent headaches, the easy answer is to try to avoid the causes of headaches in the first place. But doing that takes careful planning. You’ll have to note your triggers first, and write down the characteristics of your headaches, including their frequency, duration, intensity, as well the circumstances surrounding your headaches, including:

    • your medications

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

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    Some headaches may be a sign of a more serious illness. Seek medical help right away for any of the following:

    • This is the first headache you have ever had in your life and it interferes with your daily activities.
    • Your headache comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent. This kind of headache needs medical attention right away. It may be due to a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Call 911 or the local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room.
    • Your headache is “the worst ever,” even if you regularly get headaches.
    • You also have slurred speech, a change in vision, problems moving your arms or legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss with your headache.
    • Your headache gets worse over 24 hours.
    • You also have a fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting with your headache.
    • Your headache occurs with a head injury.
    • Your headache is severe and just in one eye, with redness in that eye.
    • You just started getting headaches, especially if you are older than 50.
    • Your headaches are associated with vision problems, pain while chewing, or weight loss.
    • You have a history of cancer or immune system problem and develop a new headache.

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    How Common Are Tension Headaches

    People dont always see their doctor for a tension headache, which makes exact numbers hard to predict. Researchers estimate that as many as 2 in 3 adults in the U.S. get tension headaches.

    Chronic tension headaches are much less common. They affect an estimated 3% of adults. Women get tension headaches more often than men.

    What Is Causing My Neck Pain And Headache

    See Understanding Neck Pain and Dizziness

    Several conditions can cause neck pain and headache. Some conditions may start as a neck problem and then send symptoms up to the head, whereas other conditions begin in the head and send pain down to the neck. Getting an accurate diagnosis is important in order to create a treatment program to successfully manage the condition and reduce pain.

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    How Can I Prevent Headaches

    The key to preventing headaches is figuring out what triggers them. Triggers are very specific to each person what gives you a headache may not be a problem for others. Once you determine your triggers, you can avoid or minimize them.

    For example, you may find that strong scents set you off. Avoiding perfumes and scented products can make a big difference in how many headaches you have. The same goes for other common triggers like troublesome foods, lack of sleep and poor posture.

    Many people, however, are not able to avoid triggers or are unable to identify triggers. In that case, a more personalized multidisciplinary approach with a headache specialist is often necessary.

    The Link Between Headaches And Nausea

    Can my teeth be the cause of my headaches?

    In many cases, nausea and headaches result from lifestyle and dietary choices and underlying health conditions. Common among them are:

    • Dehydration:Not drinking enough water causes headaches and is associated with migraines. The daily recommendation for adults is about a half gallon of fluids.
    • Low blood sugar:Skipping meals or not eating enough can cause levels of sugar in the blood to drop considerably, leading to headaches and nausea. Low blood sugar is also known as hypoglycemia.
    • Alcohol use:Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration as well as fluctuations in blood sugar. These occurrences cause the headaches and nausea associated with hangovers. Alcohol may also trigger migraines.
    • Medication side effects: Many prescribed and over-the-counter medications can cause these symptoms as side effects, so its important to know what youre taking. Notably, using too many pain-managing medications can cause headaches, a condition known as medication overuse headache .
    • Caffeine intake:If youre a regular coffee or tea drinker, you can develop headaches and nausea if you dont get your regular cup. Interestingly, caffeine influences the activity of blood vessels in the brain and can serve both as a headache trigger and a means of relief.
    • Nicotine use: Among the numerous negative health effects of nicotine and smoking tobacco is headache. Smoking increases pain sensitivity and narrows blood vessels, hindering blood flow to the brain.

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    Diagnosing And Treating Neck Pain And Headache

    Clinicians use information from the features of headache, physical examination, and diagnostic tests to make an accurate diagnosis of the type of headache. It is also possible for two headaches to occur together. Treatment of primary headaches include medications for both immediate relief and sustained relief . Treatment of secondary headaches focuses on the underlying condition to control symptoms.

    Orgasm Headache: Symptoms Causes Treatment

    Many people joke about their spouses avoiding sex because of a headache.

    But, a headache after sex is no laughing matter.

    Especially if that headache is happening over and over again after or during sexual activity.

    Sex-related headaches are rare, with an estimated prevalence of 1% to 1.6% in population-based studies.

    Most of those struggling with such a problem are in their 40s, which can happen to both women and men.

    As you get more excited, aroused, and just about to climax, the ache can become more intense. The pain then reaches its peak when you orgasm.

    If this pain sounds all too familiar, then you are in the right place.

    We prepared a practical guideline that can help you understand a sexual headache. Plus, we included useful health information on how to treat the problem.

    Here is all you need to know about headaches during climax.

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    Abortive Therapy For Headaches

    How does abortive therapy work?

    You take abortive therapy medications early during a headache. Theyre usually used for migraine headaches. These drugs stop the process causing headache pain. They help reduce headache symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.

    For best results, take these medicines when you first notice the migraine. If you get a migraine aura , you may need to avoid some of these medications. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out which medications are right for you.

    Can IV drugs help stop a migraine?

    Some headaches especially migraines last for more than 24 hours and dont respond to other abortive medications. In these situations, your healthcare provider may recommend you get medication at an infusion site.

    This site is usually a set of rooms at a hospital or clinic where people receive IV drugs. A nurse monitors the people receiving infusions. Generally, IV drugs can end the migraine attack, even when other abortive medicines were unsuccessful. You may be at the infusion site for a few hours or a full day, depending on your symptoms.

    Can children take abortive therapies?

    The FDA has approved some abortive therapies for teenagers but none for younger children. Talk to your childs healthcare provider to figure out the best way to treat headaches.

    What abortive therapy headache medicines are available?

    Medications that can stop migraine headaches include:

    Generic name: Ergot, dihydroergotamine, mesylate

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