You’ve had so many headaches, it can be easy to dismiss them as part of normal life. And you’re not alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that approximately 5% of adults live with daily headaches, and almost every single person has experienced occasional headaches. Unfortunately, most will brush them off and miss warning signs of underlying health conditions.
At CurePain, Dr. David Wu doesn’t want you to be another statistic. He believes that every headache means something, and he’s dedicated to getting to the bottom of them. His years of experience can help you reduce your symptoms or prevent them altogether.
The first step in finding true relief is to be completely informed, so he’s sharing his best information about headaches.
An overview of headaches
Though it might feel like every headache is the same, there are actually 150 different types of headaches, and each falls into one of two categories: primary or secondary.
If you suffer from a primary headache, that means your headache is a condition in and of itself and not a symptom of an underlying problem, like a concussion or illness. Some of the most common headaches include:
- Tension headaches
- Cluster headaches
These kinds of headaches typically occur in predictable patterns, so you can help Dr. Wu reached a diagnosis by keeping a headache diary.
Contrary to primary headaches, secondary headaches are often a warning sign that something else is wrong. Secondary headaches can stem from a wide range of conditions, including:
- Medication overuse
- Sinus infections
- Trauma or injury
- Illnesses like the flu
- Aneurysm or tumor
- Degenerative disc disease in your neck
- Post-epidural effects
Secondary headaches often resolve once you’ve dealt with the medical condition behind them.
Migraines vs. headaches
Our patients often ask us the difference between migraines and headaches. While migraines do cause significant head pain, they also present other symptoms that set them apart from headaches.
Some of the most common symptoms that accompany migraines include:
- Lack of focus
- Vision problems
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Floating spots or flashing lights
- Density to sounds, smell, light, and touch
- Pain in your temples
- Tingling or numbness in your face or hands
Migraines impact everyone differently, but they’re typically debilitating when they attack. Most experience sharp and searing pain behind one eye and some go through a prodrome phase a day or two before their migraines, which typically results in irritability, stiff neck, cravings, constipation, or frequent yawning.
Keeping a diary of any and all symptoms will help Dr. Wu accurately diagnoses and treats your migraines and headaches.
Diagnosing your headache
Figuring out exactly which headache you have can be a tricky process. That’s why Dr. Wu takes considerable time discussing your health history and symptoms with you before he reaches a diagnosis. He also conducts a neurologic exam to rule out problems with your gait, speech, mental acuity, or balance.
You can play a large role in helping him identify your headaches and create a treatment plan by carefully tracking your headaches. Some of the most important things to take note of include:
- Where they’re located
- What triggers them
- Their progression
- What they feel like
It’s also important to note any other symptoms that occur before, during, or after your headache.
Treating your headaches
There are many types of headaches and many causes behind them, but no matter which type you have, they all leave you in serious pain.
Dr. Wu specializes in pain management and is uniquely qualified to diagnose and effectively treat any type of headache.
Your treatment plan will begin conservatively with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication. For migraines and severe, chronic headaches, he can prescribe prescription-strength medication.
Should those methods prove unsuccessful, Dr. Wu offers injected medications that are designed to block pain signals, reduce inflammation, and alleviate your symptoms.
If you’d like more information about headaches or would like to be evaluated, request an appointment online or over the phone today.