Most people experience pain or discomfort in their head and neck when they have headaches or migraines, which are common medical illnesses. They can impair focus, interfere with work and school, and make it difficult to concentrate on the positive aspects of life. To remove or lessen the frequency and severity of the symptoms, numerous treatments have been developed recently that examine and identify the reasons for headaches or migraines.
What Triggers Migraines And Headaches?
Numerous factors might cause headaches and migraines. Some common triggers include:
- Tension: Stress and anxiety can cause muscle contractions in the neck, scalp, and jaw, leading to tension headaches.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can cause headaches due to decreased blood volume and pressure.
- Eye strain: Eye strain and headache pain can result from staring at a computer or other digital screen for extended periods.
- Poor posture: Poor posture, such as hunching over a desk or slouching in a chair, can cause headaches.
- Caffeine: Overconsumption of caffeine can cause headaches.
- Stress: Stress is a common trigger for migraines.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormones, such as those that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, can trigger migraines.
- Certain foods: Some people may experience migraines after consuming certain foods, such as aged cheeses, chocolate, wine, and processed or preserved foods.
- Environmental factors: Changes in the weather, bright lights, and loud noises can trigger migraines.
- Sleep patterns: Migraines can be brought on by changes in sleep habits, such as sleep deprivation or irregular bedtimes.
It is crucial to remember that not all triggers will affect all individuals, and it may take some trial and error to identify personal triggers. For an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan, it is highly recommended to speak with a healthcare professional if having a frequent or severe headache or migraine.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Headaches and Migraines?
The symptoms of headaches and migraines can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include the following:
- Dull, aching pain in the head, scalp, or neck
- Tension or pressure sensation in the head
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or noise
- Fatigue or low energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Discomfort that is severe and throbbing, frequently on one side of the head.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or noise
- Blurred vision or blind spots
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Aura, which might involve visual abnormalities like flashing lights or blind spots or other symptoms like tingling or numbness in the hands or face, is a clue that a migraine is about to start.
It’s crucial to remember that not everyone who gets a migraine will have an aura, and some people may have distinct symptoms from others. It is advised to see a doctor for a precise diagnosis if frequently or severely suffering from headaches or migraines.
How Are Headaches And Migraines Diagnosed?
Diagnosing headaches and migraines typically involves a medical evaluation and review of the individual’s symptoms and medical history. A healthcare provider may perform a physical examination and ask questions about the headaches’ frequency, duration, characteristics, and any triggers or associated symptoms. To rule out any underlying medical issues causing the headaches, diagnostic procedures like a CT scan or MRI may occasionally be carried out.
Suppose the cause of the headaches is unclear. The healthcare provider may perform a headache diary diagnostic test in that case. The individual records information about their headaches, including the frequency, duration, intensity, and associated symptoms.
Based on the evaluation, the healthcare provider will make a diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate the symptoms and prevent future occurrences. In some cases, referral to a headache specialist may be necessary.
How Are Headaches and Migraines Treated?
The treatment for headaches and migraines depends on the underlying cause and the individual’s symptoms and preferences. There are numerous drugs available to treat migraines. Below are two major groups of medications used to treat migraines:
These medications, also referred to as acute or abortive treatment, are administered during migraine attacks and are intended to stop symptoms.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Painkillers sold over-the-counter, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin, can help with headache discomfort.
- Triptans: Triptans are prescription medications used to treat migraines. They work by narrowing the blood vessels in the brain and blocking pain pathways.
- Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) (D.H.E. 45, Migranal). For migraines that often last longer than 24 hours, this medication, available as a nasal spray or injection, is best effective when administered soon after the onset of migraine symptoms.
- Lasmiditan (Reyvow). This more recent oral tablet has been given the green light to treat migraines with or without aura. Lasmiditan dramatically reduced headache pain during pharmacological studies. People using lasmiditan are advised not to drive or handle machinery for at least eight hours since it can have a sedative effect and cause dizziness.
- Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) (Ubrelvy). Adults suffering from acute migraines with or without aura may use this oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist. It’s the first medication of this kind to be authorized for migraines. Clinical investigations have demonstrated that two hours after delivery, ubrogepant is more effective than a placebo at lowering pain and other migraine symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
- CGRP antagonists. Recently approved oral CGRP antagonists for treating acute migraine in adults with or without aura include ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) and rimegepant (Nurtec ODT).
- Opioids. The pain from a severe headache can be adequately treated with opioid painkillers like codeine. However, they are often not advised for long-term use because of the risk of dependence and overdose.
- Anti-nausea drugs. These can be helpful if the migraine with aura is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Chlorpromazine, metoclopramide (Reglan), and prochlorperazine are all anti-nausea medications (Compro). These are typically used along with painkillers.
They are medications taken regularly to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. These medications are typically used when other treatments, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, have not been effective or appropriate. Some common preventive medications for headaches and migraines include:
- Blood pressure-lowering medications. Beta-blockers such as propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran XL, and others) and metoprolol tartrate are among them (Lopressor).
- Calcium channel blockers. By relaxing the blood arteries in the brain, calcium channel blockers like verapamil can aid in migraine prevention. Calcium channel blockers, such as verapamil, can help to prevent migraines by relaxing the blood vessels in the brain.
- Antidepressants. Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, can help prevent headaches and migraines by altering the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Anti-seizure medications. Anti-seizure medications, such as topiramate, can help to prevent migraines by stabilizing the electrical activity in the brain.
- Botox injections. In some adults, onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injections every 12 weeks can help avoid migraines.
- CGRP inhibitors. A new class of migraine preventive drugs called CGRP inhibitors blocks the activity of a substance called calcitonin gene-related peptide, which has been linked to the onset of migraines.
To choose the pain-relieving and preventative medications best suited to each patient’s needs, it is advisable to speak with a healthcare practitioner. Moreover, some medications may not be appropriate for people with certain medical conditions, and others may have side effects that need to be taken into account.
The Bottom Line
Living with headaches and migraines can be difficult, and if they are not addressed, they can significantly affect the quality of life. Cache Valley ENT is here to help identify the causes and relieve your pain. Furthermore, Cache Valley ENT will help evaluate the causes of your headaches or migraines to eliminate or reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms.