Why Headaches Can Be So Costly For Us All
If you can avoid going to hospital unnecessarily when you have a headache, youll benefit yourself and Australias health-care system.
Every time you present to an emergency department, it costs you hours of your life, and the community an average of A$561.
Seeing your GP is obviously more time-efficient and instead costs the community between A$38 to A$75.
If headaches interfere with your life, please prioritise your health. See a doctor, get a management plan for them and save yourself a painfully long wait in emergency.
Got A Headache That Won’t Go Away It Might Not Be A Migraine
May 8, 2012 / 7:50 PM / CBS Chicago
CHICAGO — Imagine having a headache that doesn’t go away. It’s not a migraine, but something else that’s often misdiagnosed.
As CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports, the never-ending headache can strike people suddenly.
Tonya Winters Hopkins said her daily headache starts “getting out of the bed, before my feet even hit the floor, my head is pounding.
Life has been that way for her for the last three years.
“Everything is really bad when your head is pounding all the time,” she said.
Rachel Frishberg knows. She’s had a headache for two years and, like many patients, remembers exactly when it started.
“It was a Tuesday afternoon. The headache came on. I didn’t really think much of it,” Frishberg said.
Hopkins and Frishberg suffer from what’s called “new daily persistent headache” or NDPH.
“I was happy to hear it, because it gave a name for what I was going through,” Hopkins said.
Tonya believes she might have seen as many as 15 doctors before getting a diagnosis.
Doctors don’t know the cause, and they often misdiagnose the problem as sinus pain, eye strain, or even Lyme disease.
The uncertainty can often lead to a lot of unnecessary testing. Dr. Merle Diamond — who runs a Chicago headache clinic — said, usually, these are patients who never had a problem with headaches before.
“It’s like having a bad migraine every day, and it never stops,” Diamond said. “So you go from being a healthy individual to somebody who has an illness.”
What Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
One of the best ways to prevent migraines is to recognize what triggers an attack and trying to avoid them. For example, stress, eating certain foods or lack of sleep may bring on an attack.
Avoiding your triggers can be difficult when youre pregnant. For example, if you have morning sickness you may not feel like eating or drinking much. This can cause low blood sugar or dehydration, so its important to try and find ways to cope.
Getting enough sleep may also be difficult during pregnancy. Try our tips for a better nights sleep.
You should also try to
- rest and relax as much as possible. You could try things like mindfulness or yoga.
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A Prolonged Migraine Attack
Unfortunately, all of this good advice doesnt help you stop a prolonged attack in progress. If youve already exhausted all of your home treatments, and the attack is still going strong after 72 hours, you do need to call your doctor. In most cases he or she will recommend you go to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment. Most likely, the problem is status migrainosus which can be stopped in the ER or with a brief inpatient stay.
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About 3% of people worldwide experience TTH every year. TTH are most common at ages 4049, while females are slightly more likely to experience them across all ages.
The first line of treatment for TTH is over-the-counter medicines, like aspirin. However, if this doesnt work, your healthcare provider may suggest other medications.
In the long-term, certain medications and biofeedback may help reduce the frequency or intensity of TTH. While lifestyle changes can improve headaches that occur during a migraine, there is little evidence for their effectiveness in TTH specifically.
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What To Do When You Have A Headache That Won’t Go Away And How To Tell If It’s A Migraine
When one of her bad migraines hits, Jacqueline G. can’t do anything but lie down in a dark room and wait for the waves of pain to recede. “It’s completely debilitating,” says the 73-yearold, who has been plagued by severe migraines since her 20s. “The nausea comes on right away, and then I can’t keep anything downeven crackers or ice. And it can last from early morning to 12 at night.”
Migraines are a particularly disabling form of headache because they launch a four-tiered attack:
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- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
When Alternative Remedies Can Help
Before we take a closer look at solutions for headaches, dont forget about the power of overall good health:
- A whole-foods diet
- Plenty of fresh, filtered water
- 7 to 8 hours nightly of deep, restful sleep
- Regular, moderate exercise
- Appropriate supplements
I often remind my patients that theres only so much any remedy can do if you cut corners on essential elements of basic health. In other words, if your car has a flat tire, and all you do is add air to it, you wont fix the underlying problem.
That said, there are several effective headache remedies in the alternative medicine cabinet that may relieve pain and reduce the intensity or frequency of headaches. If youre dubious about the power of herbal or nutrient remedies for treating pain, remember that aspirin, like many of todays medications, is derived from a natural compound in this case, a substance found in white willow tree bark.
Also Check: Aspirin Vs Ibuprofen For Headache
When Should You Go To Hospital
When you have pain, your body may be telling you that you are suffering from an illness or injury. While headaches from tension or migraines rarely are serious, a headache might, on occasion, reveal the presence of a significant medical condition like an aneurysm or tumor. Headaches that are serious often have the following symptoms:
- The headache is linked to neurological symptoms like dizziness, weakness, loss of balance, speech problems, seizures, personality changes, confusion, or visual disturbances.
- The headache is sudden or very severe.
- You have a headache that wakes you up during the night.
- You have a headache associated with shortness of breath, a stiff neck, a rash, or a fever.
- You have a headache following an accident or injury to your head.
- The headache is associated with significant vomiting or nausea.
If Your Sinus Headache Wont Go Away Call Kaplan Sinus Relief
Dr. Michael Kaplan of Kaplan Sinus Relief is a leading practitioner of the balloon sinuplasty treatment, and he often trains other doctors on the technique. Patients who visit Kaplan Sinus Relief also have the option to add IV Sedation and/or TGS image-guided navigation to their surgery, which are services that help keep patients relaxed during the surgery and improve accuracy and safety, respectively.
You dont have to put up with a sinus headache that wont go away. Kaplan Sinus Relief can help you find relief from sinus headaches, congestion, and more. Call 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today.
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What Else Should You Be Aware Of
I make sure I’m not missing one of the more ominous conditions. I often have to order imaging on these patients and they’ll get an MRI to make sure we’re not seeing stroke or encephalitis. I check venous imaging to make sure I’m not missing a clot in the veins. The reason for that is COVID patients have a tendency for blood clots.
There’s a recommendation by the American Society of Hematology to add aspirin on a daily basis to anyone who is actively infected, to help decrease the risk of clots.
Sometimes, we recommend the drug gabapentin which can be helpful to patients with post-COVID lingering headaches, who we know have normal resolved brains, where were not seeing strokes encephalitis, clots or anything.
Remove Any Pressure On The Head
In some cases, there is a physical reason for a headache. Check for anything that is putting too much pressure on the head. This may be a ponytail or bun that is too tight or a hat or headband that has been on too long.
Some people who get headaches become sensitive to light. Bright office lights or even the bright light from a smartphone may make symptoms worse.
It may help to rest in a dark or dimly lit room while recovering from a headache.
Herbal tea may be a useful way to add water to the diet while also enjoying the benefits of other natural compounds.
For instance, ginger tea may help with a migraine. One found that ginger powder had similar effects to a common medication for reducing migraines. A simple tea of warm water and ginger powder may help with symptoms.
Other potentially calming teas include herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.
Exercise may help keep the body healthy and promote better circulation, which might reduce the chances of a headache showing up.
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When Your Headache Wont Go Away Causes And Home Remedies
If someone knocked on your door, saying your house was on fire, would you tell that person to go away? Of course not! But every time you pop a painkiller for a headache, thats what youre doing telling the pain to go away without addressing the cause.
Just about everyone knows what an ordinary headache feels like. For some people, headaches are rare. For others, these painful episodes occur too frequently.
What Can You Do To Treat It
The type of treatment you use when a headache wont go away depends on the type of headache you have. There are some great techniques that you can use over the long term or short term that can stop the pain before it gets out of control.
1. Have a Good Rest
When your headache strikes, lie down on a bed or couch for half an hour. Shut the lights off, close the blinds and pay attention to your breathing. This is a sensory reduction technique that can help relaxation and healing. Make sure you ask for people to be quiet around you. Tell them you are having a headache and cant be disturbed. Try to take a quick nap in a bed or couch that is easy to lie on and that supports your neck.
2. Compress with Cool Things
When the headache wont go away, it is a good idea to put a cold compress over your eyes and forehead. This can cause blood vessel constriction and will lessen the inflammation that causes your headache to occur. Just lay a damp cloth over the area that hurts and let it cool the area. Another technique is to put a damp washcloth inside a plastic bag and freeze it for a half hour. Put this compress on your head for icy comfort.
3. Do a Face and Scalp Massage
4. Take Some Herbs
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What Triggers Headaches And Migraines
Common triggers of tension headaches or migraines include:
- Alcohol use.
- Stomach upset or abdominal pain.
Cluster headaches are the most severe type of primary headache. Cluster headaches come in a group or cluster, usually in the spring or fall. They occur one to eight times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely for months or years, only to recur later. The pain of a cluster headache is:
- Intense with a burning or stabbing sensation.
- Located behind one of your eyes or in the eye region, without changing sides.
- Throbbing or constant.
New daily persistent headaches
New daily persistent headaches come on suddenly and last for more than three months. They typically occur in people who werent having frequent headaches before. The pain of NDPH is:
- Constant and persistent without easing up.
- Located on both sides of the head.
- Not responsive to medications.
Sinus headaches are the result of a sinus infection, which causes congestion and inflammation in the sinuses . People, and even healthcare providers, often mistake migraines for sinus headaches. Symptoms of sinus headaches include:
- Bad taste in mouth.
- Pain that gets worse with sudden head movement or straining.
- Mucus discharge .
Medication overuse headaches
- Headaches becoming more frequent.
- More days with headaches than without.
- Pain thats worse in the morning.
Headaches in children
Daily Headache That Wont Go Away
A 14-year-old girl presents in October for an initial evaluation in the Multidisciplinary Headache Clinic at CHOP for headaches that began in August of this year. She describes that she was previously healthy and after a week of summer camp in Massachusetts, had a fever with cough that persisted for more than a month. Her fever seemed to respond to a course of antibiotics, but the cough was incessant and nagging for a total of 6 weeks. She noted that toward the end of the illness she had a headache that seemed to get increasingly worse as her cold symptoms improved.
She describes throbbing pain in the front and sides , sometimes spreading to the back of the head . She has already missed 15 days of school because she is unable to make it through the whole day. The headache is made worse by loud noises and bright lights. Her pain is minimal upon awakening and seems to get worse by the end of the day. The pain is made worse by exercise, and she has noticed that on the day she has gym glass she almost always has to call her parent to take her home about an hour later.
She can recall the exact date that the headache started. Initially she and her parents thought it was a normal headache so they did not seek care. She has recognized that as long as she rests and avoids exercise this headache is manageable. It is worsened by an upright position and improved by laying down. She has had a daily headache since August.
Read Also: Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Migraines
What Do I Do If I Have A Migraine In Pregnancy
If youve never had a migraine call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit. Serious conditions like pre-eclampsia can be like a migraine, so although its unlikely anything is wrong, your healthcare team may want to see you.
If you have always had migraines, you may find that they get better during your pregnancy. But pregnancy can also change the nature of migraines, so if you have a migraine that feels different to what youve had before, call your midwife, doctor or hospital maternity unit.
What Types Of Headache Are Serious Or Dangerous
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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What If Treatment Doesnt Work
There are many different ways to address headaches. When you start a treatment program, keep track of your results. A headache log can help you measure progress.
- Are my headaches less frequent?
- Are they less severe?
- Do they go away faster?
If you dont notice an improvement, talk to your doctor at the next follow-up exam. You may need to try something new.
How Are Headaches Evaluated And Diagnosed
If you have headaches often or if they are very severe, reach out to your healthcare provider. You can usually start with your family physician, where the diagnosis process will begin. Its important to diagnose headaches correctly so that specific therapy can be started to help you feel better. Your healthcare provider will complete a physical examination, discuss your medical history and talk to you about your headache symptoms. This conversation is part of a headache evaluation. During the headache evaluation, your provider will ask you about your headache history, including:
- A description of your headaches.
- What the headaches feel like.
- How often the headaches happen.
- How long the headaches last each time.
- How much pain the headaches cause you.
- What foods, drinks or events trigger your headaches.
- How much caffeine you drink each day.
- What your stress level are.
- What your sleep habits are like.
- If you have any work issues.
Your headache can be more accurately diagnosed by knowing:
- When the headache started.
- How long you have had the headache.
- Whether there is a single type of headache or multiple types of headaches.
- How often the headache occurs.
- What causes the headache, if known .
- If physical activity aggravates the headache pain.
- What events are associated with the headache.
- Who else in your family has headaches.
- What symptoms, if any, occur between headaches.
Clinical description of headaches
History of headache treatments
Read Also: What Do Sinus Headaches Feel Like
What Are Rescue Treatments
Most commonly, rescue treatments are strong NSAIDS like toradol or difenolac, but can also be diphenhydramine, anti-emetics , or even opioids. A rescue treatment should be a medicine that you can administer at home when your abortives fail. The goal of a rescue treatment is to prevent you from having to seek treatment at the ER.