Updated: Jun 5
Have you been suffering from headaches? Headaches are one of the most common ailments. In fact, nearly every person can recall having had a headache at one time or another. There are many different kinds of headaches, and they vary greatly in frequency, severity, as well as length, and duration.
Some headaches are mild and more of an annoyance, while others feel like chronic, debilitating pain. Headaches are the leading cause of disability worldwide and result in lost time and productivity. This is due to people taking days, weeks, or even months off from work.
If you find yourself getting headaches regularly, it's time to get to the bottom of it. After all, who wants to have headaches in the first place? No matter what type of headache you experience, a New York pain management specialist can help you manage your headaches and reduce their frequency, intensity, and duration. But there are common mistakes people make that can cause or contribute to the problem. In this blog, we'll look at a few of these in detail and discuss how to avoid them.
Assuming you just have a headache
Headaches can be caused by more than just stress and tension in your neck and shoulders. So don't assume that all of your headaches are related. Instead, get to know your body better by keeping track of when you have headaches and what makes them better or worse. This will help your doctor pinpoint the cause of your pain and give you better treatment options that work for your specific type of headache.
Self-diagnosing your headache
One common headache mistake is self-diagnosing your headache. If you're getting a headache, it's easy to panic and assumes it's something serious. It can be tempting to diagnose yourself on the internet or by asking friends and family members whether they think they have the same illness as yours. But headaches come in many different forms and requires different treatment.
It's important to get a proper diagnosis from a medical professional who specializes in treating headaches before you start treating the pain. They'll take a detailed history of your symptoms and look for any factors that might suggest one type of headache over another, such as family history. They may also order some tests before ruling out other conditions that cause pain.
Taking too much medicine for your headache
Another common mistake is taking medicine too often or at the wrong time. Overuse of painkillers can increase sensitivity to pain drugs and can lead to rebound headaches. Those painful headaches come back after you stop taking over-the-counter medication. It also might irritate your stomach or cause bleeding if you take too much, so always read the label carefully before taking it.
Fortunately, there are treatment options available today to treat headaches without medication. These include:
Physical therapy. Physical therapists can teach you exercises that help with headaches and migraines. In addition, you may learn to relax, breathe deeply and change your posture.
Chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment can help ease neck pain and headaches by adjusting the bones in the spine.
Massage therapy. Medical massage uses pressure to relieve pain and muscle stiffness in your neck and shoulders, which can help reduce tension headaches and migraines.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves putting thin needles into your skin at specific points on your body to relieve pain and stress and promote healing.
Staying in bed during a headache
Some people curl up in bed and sleep when a headache strikes. But doing so may make it worse. That's because lying down causes blood vessels to expand, allowing more blood to flow into the brain and increasing pressure inside your skull.
So when your head hurts, try sitting up straight and get moving again as soon as possible. You don't have to jump back into your daily routine; just do something that gets your blood flowing again, like walking around or doing some stretches that the physical therapist suggested.
Not exercising regularly
Exercise can help prevent headaches by lowering stress levels, relieving tension, and improving blood flow to the brain. If you already have a headache, it can help ease pain and relax tense muscles.
Exercise also improves circulation throughout the body, essential for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. So don't skip your workout! A physical therapist is uniquely qualified to teach proper exercise techniques that can help relieve your headaches and other pains.
Not seeing a medical professional
One major mistake is neglecting to see a healthcare professional about headaches. Headaches are often the result of more than just stress or dehydration that require treatment. For example, some people have allergies that cause their heads to ache. Others may suffer from migraines or tension headaches.
In addition, some medications used for other conditions can cause headaches as a side effect. That's why it's important to get an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional so that the correct treatment can be prescribed. They can help you figure out what's causing your pain and help you find relief.
Ignoring the signs can worsen your headaches
A headache is your brain's way of telling you that something isn't right. Ignoring this message can lead to more serious problems down the road. Headaches often come with other symptoms, such as nausea or dizziness. They can be signs of more serious conditions that require immediate medical attention if left untreated.
If your headaches get worse over time or if you have more than one episode per week for several weeks, see a pain doctor immediately. Because your condition may be chronic — meaning it's not going away on its own — or because you might have something else going on, such as chronic neck pain that needs treatment by a physical therapist.
It's best to listen to these signals and treat them immediately. You should see a pain specialist as soon as possible if you have any new symptoms that concern you.
You don't have to suffer from headaches anymore!
You no longer need to suffer headaches when they crop up. It's time to take a more proactive approach when it comes to dealing with them. Start by understanding why you're having headaches, and then use that information to change your lifestyle. Whether it's getting an extra hour of sleep each night or making some small changes to your diet, you'll be well on your way to a pain-free existence. And no matter what the problem may be, the best thing you can do moving forward is to learn from your mistakes and see a medical professional if the issue persists.
Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options that can help minimize the frequency, duration, and intensity of your headaches. It's worth remembering that headache treatment is highly individualized. If you work with our New York pain management specialist to develop a treatment plan that works for you, you can reduce the impact of headaches on your life!