Headaches Q & A
What causes headaches?
Headaches develop when nerves in your head send pain signals to your brain, but it’s not always clear why the nerves are sending these signals.
Pain is there to let you know there’s tissue damage of some kind. For example, you’re quite likely to experience a headache if you hit your head. However, most of the time, when you get a headache, there isn’t any damage to your head.
A variety of triggers exist for headaches. These include:
Lack of sleep
Chemicals and pollutants
Noise or light
A headache isn’t just a headache, either. There are over 150 types of headaches, but the most common ones are those caused by stress and tension. The most common type of severe headache is migraine.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a headache that causes intense, disabling pain that can put you out of action for hours or sometimes days. Migraines also cause other symptoms, such as:
You might notice you experience increased sensitivity to light, sound, touch, or smell before a migraine. You might also see flashing lights or spots in front of your eyes, which is called an aura.
Migraines aren’t usually dangerous, but they can cause severe disruption to your life. Some people only have them occasionally, but others have them several times a month, or even more frequently.
How are headaches treated?
If you have a stress headache or a headache because you have a cold, taking over-the-counter pain medication should ease your symptoms. You should also consider whether your habits are triggering headaches. For example, if you drink enough water every day.
If you’re having severe headaches or migraines, or your headaches are happening more frequently, the Oklahoma Pain Physicians team can help.
The approach that’s best in each case varies according to the type of headache you have and the cause. It’s also important to rule out any causes of headaches that could indicate you have an underlying health condition that needs treating.
There are a variety of medications you could take for headaches and other therapies like relaxation and biofeedback might help, or electrical and magnetic pulse technologies. The Oklahoma Pain Physicians team also uses medical Botox® injections, which are particularly helpful for frequent migraines.
Some patients might also benefit from radiofrequency ablation, which prevents nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. For chronic headaches that aren’t responding to other treatments, spinal cord stimulation could also be an option.
If your headaches are affecting your everyday life, call Oklahoma Pain Physicians today to request an appointment, or use the online request appointment tool.