Even a mild headache with its nagging discomfort can throw your day out of alignment. Severe headaches can cause you to dim the lights and tune out everything but your pain. Thankfully, most people only have a handful of headaches every year.
Many individuals, about 30 million in the United States, experience 15 or more debilitating headaches every month. If chronic headaches are wrecking your schedule, you may find these three facts interesting.
While the standard symptom for a headache is, understandably, pain in the head, the characteristics of the pain often help Dr. Wu identify what type of headache you’re experiencing.
Chronic migraines, for instance, typically cause moderate-to-severe pain that:
Migraines are also often accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting as well as light and/or sound sensitivity.
Tension headaches are the most common type of chronic headache. They usually affect both sides of your head and cause mild-to-moderate pain that may feel like a tightening band. The pulsating or throbbing noted with migraines is not characteristic of a tension headache.
Cluster headaches are another type of chronic headache that causes severe, sometimes throbbing pain which is accompanied by a stabbing or burning sensation. The pain is often felt behind one eye and may occur several times a day for several days before disappearing for weeks to months.
Dr. Wu identifies your headache type through a physical exam as well as a careful review of your symptoms. He may also recommend diagnostic studies to rule out underlying medical conditions as the cause of your headaches.
Primary headaches are those that have no underlying medical cause for the headache pain.
These include migraines as well as tension and cluster headaches.
Secondary headaches are those related to an underlying medical condition, such as degenerative disc disease in the spine, sinus infections, or previous history of head trauma. While rare, brain tumors can also cause persistent headaches and visual disturbances.
Dr. Wu can determine whether your chronic headaches are primary headaches or are secondary to a medical condition that requires further treatment.
If you’re taking pain medication more than two days a week, even an over-the-counter type like ibuprofen, you’re at risk of developing what’s known as a rebound headache. Conversely, suddenly stopping a pain medication you’ve been taking regularly can also cause headaches.
Dr. Wu can develop a treatment plan that helps eliminate your risk of rebound headaches.
Other headache triggers include skipping meals, poor sleep habits, and increased stress at work, school, or home. Although caffeine is included in some headache medications because it sometimes helps relieve headache pain, it can also aggravate headaches. And stopping caffeine suddenly is another headache trigger.
Headaches are common to the human experience, but if you’re experiencing headaches more days than not, Dr. Wu can help. Call today or schedule an appointment by clicking the button here on the website.