Updated: Jun 2
Do you often feel that your head is in pain? Are the symptoms of this headache on and off? If yes, you must be having a chronic headache issue. The type that occurs every day or so often and is so intense that it affects your quality of life.
In some cases, headaches can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort, which can affect your life in different ways - from simply not functioning properly and getting through the day to suffering from constant headaches and even facing mood changes and depression.
Headaches are the most common pain complaint and can be very uncomfortable. However, these headaches could be caused by a lot of factors or something serious. Thankfully, there are advances in medical science that can help manage this condition.
This blog takes a look at what causes chronic headaches, what treatments are available, and how our pain management NYC specialist can help manage the pain and discomfort of headaches.
Causes of Headaches
Headache symptoms vary from person to person. For example, some people experience sharp, stabbing pains that come on suddenly, while others have more mild aches and pains. The intensity of your headache may also differ from one episode to another.
Headaches can be caused by a number of factors such as:
low blood sugar levels
tension in the neck and shoulders
medication side effects
food allergies or sensitivities
Headaches are usually acute, meaning they develop quickly and go away on their own within a few days. But if you're experiencing headaches often, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some types of headaches have a longer duration and can become chronic if not treated properly.
Chronic headaches occur on 15 or more days per month for at least three months. It can range from mild to severe and may cause pain that lasts for hours or days at a time. The most common type of chronic headache is migraine. Migraines are characterized by intense throbbing pain that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Another type is a chronic tension headache, which evolves from episodic tension-type headache, where the attack occurs daily or very frequently. It also causes pain but doesn't usually affect the entire head as migraines do. Tension headaches usually occur in the back of the head and neck area and may be triggered by muscle tension or stress.
However, there are non-drugs treatment options available to ease and manage headache pain. These include exercise, relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, and biofeedback therapy. Other non-invasive treatments include acupuncture, medical massage, chiropractic care and interventional pain management procedures.
Treatment for Headaches
There are many treatments to ease the pain of a headache. Some work better than others, depending on the type of headache you have. Here are some tips to help you deal with your headaches:
Keep a headache diary
Write down what you were doing or feeling when a headache started. This will help your specialist determine possible triggers and identify patterns that may lead to better treatment options later on.
Avoid the triggers
Take some time to learn about how to avoid getting headaches. Sometimes, they are caused by triggers like certain foods or specific smells. For example, red wine can trigger migraines in some people; chocolate is another common trigger for migraines in women who have them during their menstrual cycle.
Regular exercise helps reduce tension and stress levels and boosts circulation, which can help prevent migraines. It will also help regulate hormones that contribute to headaches, such as serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain that affect moods and emotions.
Get enough sleep at night
Most people need between seven and nine hours each night in order to function properly. So if you're not getting enough sleep, then it will be harder for your body to recover from any stressors that may have caused your headache in the first place (such as staying up late).
Find a way to de-stress
Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises if stress is causing your headaches. Deep breathing helps calm down nerve cells in the brain and reduces inflammation.
Seek professional help
If you get frequent headaches or if they last several days, see a health professional who can help determine the cause of your headaches and recommend a treatment plan that might work better for you.
Pain management specialists are trained to evaluate and treat a wide range of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, including muscle pain, spasms, joint stiffness, and reduced range of motion. They help patients learn techniques that can help them improve posture, reduce stress and anxiety, and manage chronic pain more effectively.
They also work with patients who have experienced an injury or trauma to their bodies. The goal of pain management is to help patients manage their condition, so they don't have to rely on medications as much.
Headache Pain Management
Headaches are common and typically benign. But if you let them untreated, it can lead to a more serious problem. When treating headaches, it should focus on reducing pain, improving function, and preventing future headaches from occurring.
That is why it's important to see a professional who specializes in pain management. A pain specialist can help you understand the root cause of your headaches and develop an effective treatment plan tailored specifically for your needs.
1. Evaluation and diagnosis
The pain specialist will diagnose your condition and interview you about your pain history and current symptoms in order to determine the cause of your headache and its severity. This information will help determine what type of treatment is needed.
2. Treatment plan development
Based on your evaluation, the specialist will create a customized treatment plan that includes specific procedures designed to help treat the source of your headache pain. The goal is to reduce or eliminate its frequency and intensity so you can live an active life free from pain.
3. Implementation of treatment plan
The specialist will work with you on how to perform each method correctly to maximize its effectiveness, as well as provide additional tips for managing stressors in your life that may contribute to worsening headaches (such as poor sleep habits).
4. Follow-up care/maintenance plan
Follow-up care is an important part of any headache treatment plan. After your headaches are under control, you may need to continue some of the lifestyle changes that helped you get better. You may also need regular appointments to check on how well your treatment is working and to make sure there are no problems.
Headaches Can Be Treated
If you have chronic headaches, you're not alone. Headaches are a common ailment that affects 15 to 25 percent of the population in the U.S. If you suffer from chronic headaches, you don't need to live life in pain. There are many different types of treatment available for headache pain management, and with the help of a pain specialist, you can find relief.
We hope you gain a new understanding of headaches and learn some methods to manage yours. Treating chronic headaches requires patience and persistence because there are no overnight fixes — the goal is to find what works best for you over time. So book an appointment today with our pain management NYC specialist to get the personalized treatment plan that suits your needs.