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  • Writer's pictureAll of Pain

[New York Pain Management] When to Seek Medical Attention for Headaches

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

headache pain management

Headaches. All of us have them. Some more often than others, some a little more severe than others. There are lots of reasons you might have to deal with a headache. Sometimes, it's a symptom of something more serious. Whenever you notice a headache coming on, it's important that you take the proper action to get rid of it as soon as possible.

How do you manage your headaches? What can you do to reduce pain and prevent future headaches? You can take control of your pain and avoid painkillers with the help of our New York pain management specialist. This blog will explore some signs and symptoms that indicate you may have a severe headache and why you should seek treatment for it.

Headache is Often a Warning Sign

While headaches are common, they shouldn't be taken lightly. If you know you have a headache warning sign, then you know that you must take some type of action right away. Everyone is different and unique in many ways. How headaches affect you is totally different than how they affect others.

If you have headaches that don't get better with rest or if they're severe, see a pain specialist. Headaches come in many forms, including:

  • Migraines: throbbing pain on one side of the head

  • Cluster headaches: sharp pain around an eye or temple that comes on suddenly and doesn't go away for hours or days

  • Tension-type headaches: dull ache on both sides of the head that comes on every day or almost every day

If you're getting headaches every day, you might be wondering if it's just the stress of daily life or if something more serious is going on. There could be an underlying cause that needs attention. Here are some things to watch out for:

New and unusual headaches

Lady having unusual headache

Headaches are very common. In fact, nearly one in five people in NYC alone say they get them every week. Most headaches aren't serious and can be treated at home with self-care. But you should talk to a pain specialist if you notice any changes in the frequency or intensity of your headaches.

Keep an eye out for headaches that are new and unusual. The same goes for a headache that never goes away or is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, vomiting, or weakness. These symptoms could indicate something more serious than an ordinary tension headache or migraine.

Change in headache pattern

A sudden change in your headache pattern is a red flag. For example, if you're used to getting migraines once or twice a month but suddenly start getting them more frequently, or they become more severe, it could be an indication of something serious.

Here are some of the warning signs that mean you should see a health professional immediately:

  • Severe pain or pressure in one area on one side of your head

  • Pain that spreads beyond one side of your head into your temple, neck, or eye, or behind one eye.

  • A headache that is worse when coughing or bending over

  • Sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, or dizziness with the headache

  • Headache accompanied by fever, stiff neck or neck pain

  • Headaches that last more than 30 minutes and occur more than once per week

  • Headaches with additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light or sound

New symptoms

The headache is usually not dangerous by itself, but it can be a symptom of something wrong with your body. For example, if you have a new headache that makes it hard for you to focus on your work or study, and this doesn't happen normally, it could mean that there's something wrong with your nervous system.

A headache is defined as pain or discomfort in the head or upper part of the neck. Headaches typically affect one side of the head only, although they may be felt on both sides at once.

Headaches can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Stress: Stress is one of the biggest causes of headaches. Stress can cause muscle tension in your neck and head which leads to pain and stiffness in those areas.

  • Dehydration: Dehydration is another common cause of headaches. When you don't drink enough water or other fluids during the day, it can lead to dehydration and cause headaches because your body isn't getting enough fluids to function properly.

  • Lack of sleep: If you don't get enough sleep each night, it can contribute to headaches as well as fatigue throughout the day.

Avoid Taking Headache Painkillers for Too Long

Prolonged use of pain medication

Headaches are a common problem and can be very painful. It is not uncommon for people with headaches to take painkillers or other medications on a daily basis. But regular use of painkillers can cause negative side effects, so it is important for people with chronic headaches to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Here are some reasons why you should avoid taking painkillers for too long:

They don't treat the cause of your headaches

Painkillers treat the symptoms of your headache and not the cause. If you want to manage your headaches, you need to find out what is causing them and treat that instead.

They can be addictive

Some types of painkillers can be addictive if taken for more than three days in a row or more than eight weeks per year. This means that once your body gets used to these drugs, it will start craving them and make withdrawal symptoms worse if they are stopped suddenly after a long period of use.

They can cause dependency

Painkillers can make you feel better temporarily — but they won't get rid of your headache once and for all. Not only do some of these medications have addictive properties themselves, but painkiller addiction can also make you dependent on these drugs and unable to function without them.

They can cause rebound headaches

Taking painkillers frequently or in high doses can cause your body to become dependent on them. When this happens, it causes rebound headaches when you stop taking them. Rebound headaches are much more severe than your original headache symptoms and are more likely to occur at night when the effects of painkillers wear off.

Non-Medication Treatments for Headaches

Many headaches are mild and self-limited, but others can be more severe or persistent. While a lot of the time, it serves a useful purpose, there will come a time when you try to push through the pain, and that rarely works out well. Pain is the body's way of telling you that something is wrong. If you find yourself popping over-the-counter medicine for your headaches every day or every other day, consult with a physician about your options. The real solution is to deal with the root cause of why you are hurting and overcome it.

It's important to seek medical attention from a pain management specialist right away if you have a severe headache that lasts longer than two days or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms. You may be able to benefit from other treatment options, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, or medical massage therapy. These treatments offer long-lasting relief without the risk of addiction or other side effects.

Acupuncture for headache treatment

Research shows that acupuncture may be an effective alternative to traditional methods. In fact, one study found that patients who received acupuncture experienced fewer migraines during the 12 months following treatment.

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into specific points of your body. The needles are inserted into your skin at these points in order to stimulate certain nerves and muscles in your body. This stimulation releases natural painkillers in your body and helps relieve symptoms associated with headaches.

Chiropractic care can also help in relieving headaches. A chiropractor uses spinal manipulation to treat conditions such as neck pain that may lead to headaches. Chiropractic adjustments are a type of treatment that a chiropractor provides to help you relieve stress and tension in the neck and back. Some types of headaches may be caused by tension in the upper back or by pinched nerves, joints, or muscles. By making small adjustments to the spine, a chiropractor is able to help relieve pain and reduce future headaches.

Seek Treatment From A Professional

Headaches are common. But the truth is that some headaches are more serious than others. If you feel something is wrong, visit a New York pain management specialist to answer all your questions (and concerns!) so that you can get proper treatment.

You can visit our clinic for professional help for headache relief. We offer pain management strategies that are non-invasive and non-medication. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances are for recovery. Then, even if you're feeling some discomfort now, moving forward, you can begin to take care of yourself in ways that will more thoroughly protect your head from future problems.


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