The Importance Of Achieving A Specific And Accurate Headache Diagnosis
Getting a specific headache diagnosis that is accurate is very important because it will have a major influence on matching your treatment plan to the type of headache and severity of illness. Diagnosis influences the treatment plan by directing the type of medical tests that are run, type of medications recommended and long-term management goals you and your practitioner select. More importantly, matching your beliefs about your headache type to an accurate diagnosis is crucial, as otherwise test recommendations, medications and long-term behavioral management adherence is likely to decrease or not be started at all.
For example, the plan of care will be very different for headaches diagnosed as sinusitis than for headaches diagnosed as migraine. However, if you believe your headaches are due to sinus headache, while your practitioner believes you have migraineresolving the differences so you can comfortably put recommendations into action is critical. For those with chronic migraine, a very different treatment regimen is likely to be offered than for those with less frequent episodic migraine.
Headache diagnoses and treatment plans are made on the basis of:
Living With Constant Headaches
For most of us, an occasional headache is nothing more than a temporary speed bump in the course of a busy day. Even so, most men can ease the problem with simple lifestyle measures and nonprescription medications. Relaxation techniques, biofeedback, yoga, and acupuncture may also help. But for some of us, headaches are a big problem. Learn to recognize warning signs that call for prompt medical care. Work with your doctor to develop a program to prevent and treat migraines and other serious headaches. And don’t fall into the trap of overusing medications for some gents, rebound headaches are the biggest pain of all.
When To See A Doctor
Why do I keep getting headaches? Should you see your doctor, he or she can definitely provide you a more detailed answer to this question. But, when is the right time to call your doctor? The American Headache Society suggests keeping in mind the word SNOOP which is spelled out as:
- Systematic symptoms: Apart from headache, you may have other symptoms like weight loss, loss of appetite, or fever. These are secondary risk factors that require immediate help from your doctor, particularly if you have cancer or HIV, and suffer a headache at the same time.
- Neurologic symptoms: Neurologic symptoms involve blurry vision, confusion, personality changes, sharp facial pain, numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
- Onset: This refers to the sudden attack of headache without any warning. Onset or thunderclap headaches occur when there is bleeding in the brain.
- Older: For people who are already more than 50 years old and suffer new or progressive headaches, they have to call their doctor as it may be a sign of a brain tumor or giant cell arteritis.
- Progression: Immediate medical attention may be significant if your condition progresses into a different type of headache, such as if headaches are more frequent or gets stronger than ever before.
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Dont Fret Just Yet The Pounding Pain In Your Head May Be Annoying But It Doesnt Necessarily Indicate A Bigger Problem
There it is again the throbbing in your dome. If youre bothered by frequent headaches, you may be concerned that you have a more serious condition, such as a brain tumor or an aneurysm. And while those and other dangerous conditions can be , its likely that your pain is primary. In other words: Its probably not the result of another condition.
Unfortunately, doctors dont know what causes most headaches. According to some estimates, only 10 percent of headaches have a known cause. But there are contributing factors that can trigger chronic headaches, such as:
- Sensory triggers such as bright lights, loud noises and pungent smells
Chronic headaches can also be linked to other disorders, including depression, anxiety, sinus infections, allergies and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ. In order to figure out your headache pattern and identify your triggers, you may want to keep a headache diary to share with your doctor. The National Headache Foundation provides a handy template.
What Happens During A Migraine
Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”
Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:
- have blurred vision
- see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
- smell a certain odor
- feel tingling in a part of their face
Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.
Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours some can last a couple of days.
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How Do I Know Which Type Of Headache I Have
While some headaches have unique features that make them easy to diagnose, most headaches arent that straightforward.
If you regularly get headaches at night and youre not sure why, it may be worth making an appointment with your doctor. They can help you narrow down the type of headache you have or rule out any underlying conditions that might be causing them.
To do this, theyll likely ask you a series of questions. These might be about:
Keeping these questions in mind, prepare a headache diary for your doctor. For about two weeks prior to your appointment, document every headache you have. Make sure to include all the details about pain characteristics, timing, triggers, and so on.
Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided
Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.
Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.
There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.
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Youre Dealing With Hormonal Issues Like Menstruation
Thanks to the drop in estrogen right before menstruation, many people experience PMS-related headaches. In fact, menstruation is one of the biggest migraine triggers for people who have periods.
But it’s not the only time a change in estrogen levels can cause a headacheboth perimenopause and postpartum periods are marked by a significant drop in estrogen, and as a result, often come with headaches. Pregnancy, too, affects estrogen levels, so you may notice that your headaches worsen during this time, the Mayo Clinic says. “Any time of hormonal change is a vulnerable time for headaches,” Dr. Hutchinson says.
Fix it: If you notice that your headaches appear to be cyclical and coincide with your period, its worth bringing this up with your doctor, who may suggest going on hormonal birth control or switching your current birth control.
As the Mayo Clinic explains, hormonal birth control can have an effect on your headache patterns and for some people, hormonal contraception may make headaches less frequent and intense because they reduce the drop in estrogen that happens during your menstrual cycle.
For short-term headache relief around your period, typical headache remedies can help, like using ice or a cold compress, practicing relaxation techniques, or taking an over-the-counter pain relief medication.
Impact Of Chronic Migraine
If you have chronic migraine it will have a huge impact on your daily life. Chronic migraine is related to greater disability and has a huge impact on your physical, social and work life. It can also have a huge impact on your relationships. Many people with chronic migraine report lower quality of life and poorer health than people with episodic migraine.
It can be challenging to find an appropriate treatment and you may have spent years trying to find a way to make your migraine manageable.
If you are struggling with chronic migraine speak to your GP, specialist or contact our Information and Support Services team.
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What Does It Mean When You Wake Up With Headaches Everyday
Disrupted sleep caused by snoring or sleep apnea may be the source of your early morning headaches. Snoring can be a condition on its own or a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing at times throughout the night. Generally, headaches associated with sleep apnea last for less than 30 minutes.
What Is Chronic Migraine
Chronic migraine is defined as having headache on at least 15 days per month, with eight of these having migraine symptoms, for at least three months. People who have fewer headache days with migraine symptoms have episodic migraine.
If you have chronic migraine your symptoms may include:
- frequent headache
- increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells
- vomiting .
Other symptoms include aura , dizziness and vertigo .
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What Is A Chronic Daily Headache
According to Dr. Soni, a chronic daily headache is any headache that occurs 15 or more days out of the month and is present for three months or longer. She adds, A chronic daily headache is a primary headache disorder which means its not caused by another condition.
People of any age are susceptible to chronic daily headaches, she says.
Some risk factors include:
If you develop regular headaches and you suspect this could be the onset of a chronic daily headache, Dr. Soni says to reach out to your primary healthcare provider.
She also recommends keeping track of your headaches. It can be helpful to track your headaches or keep a journal so you have a good idea of how often they occur.
This information can also be useful when you see your healthcare provider because it can be difficult to remember every headache you have over several days or weeks. And the notes you take about your headaches where it occurs, other associated symptoms can also help determine what type of chronic daily headache youre dealing with.
What Is Chronic Tension Headache And Who Is Affected By It
Chronic tension headache is a condition where you have a tension headache on at least 15 days every month for at least three months.This can be tiring and depressing. Tension headache is the common type of headache that most people have at some time.
It’s not known exactly how common chronic tension headache is, as few studies have looked at this clearly. Some studies have estimated that around 1 in 30 of all adults have chronic tension headaches – which means they have a headache on more than half of all days for three months or more. However, it is possible that a proportion of these patients actually have developed medication-overuse headaches as a result of their tension headaches. Therefore, it can be difficult to be certain which is their main problem.
Chronic means persistent it does not mean severe. The severity of the headaches can vary from mild to severe. Because of the persistent nature of the headaches, however, this condition is often quite disabling and distressing, and most patients take preventative medication.
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Young People Are At Risk Too
It isn’t just older individuals who should be alert to a bad headache: According to an article published in February 2020 in the journal Stroke, 10 to 15 percent of all strokes occur in people ages 18 to 50.
Risk factors for stroke at a younger age include:
- Inherited or acquired conditions that cause abnormal blood clotting such as sickle cell anemia
- Migraine with aura
When To Worry About A Headache
You can take care of many types of headaches by yourself, and your doctor can give you medication to control most of the tougher headaches. But some headaches call for prompt medical care. Here are some warning signs for when you should worry about headaches:
- Headaches that first develop after age 50
- A major change in the pattern of your headaches
- An unusually severe headache
- Head pain that increases with coughing or movement
- Headaches that get steadily worse
- Changes in personality or mental function
- Headaches that are accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or seizures
- Headaches that are accompanied by a painful red eye
- Headaches that are accompanied by pain and tenderness near the temples
- Headaches after a blow to the head
- Headaches that prevent normal daily activities
- Headaches that come on abruptly, especially if they wake you up
- Headaches in patients with cancer or impaired immune systems
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Diagnosing Migraine Aura Without Pain
Migraine aura without pain can be hard to diagnose. It can be confused with stroke or seizures. Your doctor will have to rule out other, more common, health conditions before diagnosing you with migraine aura without pain. A migraine diary is an important tool in helping your doctor accurately diagnose silent migraine.1,,2
Exercise For Headaches Every Day
Physical therapy has very high rates of success treating or even curing everyday headaches. The colloquial notion that we store our stress in our shoulders or jar or neck is not literally true, but it is certainly a fact that people subconsciously clench certain parts of their body in times of stress.
A physical therapist can help you to identify those areas and give you targeted exercises that will both strengthen the muscles and also make it easier for you to notice when you clench them and stop, preventing headaches before they can begin.
A physical therapist may also help you with your posture when you sit or stand. Slouching, hunching over and craning are all common ways to put extra strain on the muscles that support your head, which causes headaches. Your physical therapist will probably also offer massage therapy, which will help to both ease clenched muscles and also to alleviate some of the mental stress which contributes so much to headaches.
Talk to your doctor to see if any of these options are a good fit to treat or possibly cure the headaches you get every day.
Why do I get Headaches Everyday at The Same Time, Last Update: 12/6/2017
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Jaw Clenching Or Grinding
Grinding or clenching teeth can occur without the individual even realizing it. You may have a morning migraine or headache but not notice symptoms from the jaw.
Clenching throughout the night can lead to fatigue and exhaustion of jaw muscles.
Individuals may notice a stiff jaw, aches in the temples and even damaged teeth. Extreme forces can occur in individuals who grind or clench during sleep. This is often several times more forceful than teeth clenching whilst awake during the day.
What Is Migraine Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Migraine is a neurological disease characterized by repeated episodes of symptoms, called attacks, that usually include headache, often accompanied by nausea vomiting sensitivity to light, touch, smell, or sound dizziness visual disturbances and tingling or numbness in the face, hands, or feet.
Migraine attacks may come on suddenly without warning, or they may be preceded by certain known triggers, such as skipping a meal, being exposed to smoke or air pollution, or experiencing a change in hormone levels as part of the menstrual cycle. Most migraine attacks last from 4 to 72 hours, although effective treatment can shorten them to a matter of hours. On the other hand, some migraine attacks can last even longer than 72 hours.
Having migraine can be disabling and can lead to missing days of school or work, being less productive at school or work, being unable to perform household responsibilities, and missing out on family, social, and leisure activities.
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, and 39 million Americans, have migraine.
While a variety of triggers can set off migraine attacks, they dont directly cause the attacks or the underlying disease.
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