HEADACHES

A headache is a pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headaches, like chest pain or back aches, have many causes.

Headaches are extremely common; however, all patients who have headaches need to locate the underlying cause of the headache. Headaches are either simple or serious. A simple headache, or primary headache, is head pain that can be treated and there are no other conditions or complications causing the pain. There are several types of primary headaches such as: migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. Serious headaches are caused by other diseases, these associated disease may be minor or major.

Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache, and responds well to therapy and pain management. As many as 90% of adults have tension headaches, which the cause of those headaches is simple to locate and to diagnose.

Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. Although they are common, the causes of migraine headaches respond well to the appropriate therapy with the accurate diagnosis. An estimated 28 million people in the US have migraine headaches. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Before puberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty more women than men have them. Migraine often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as tension or sinus headaches. Improper diagnosis of headaches can cause improper treatment to be prescribed. Head pain that is not responding to medications or therapy may be incorrectly diagnosed.

Cluster headaches are a rare but important type of primary headache, affecting mainly men. The average age of cluster headache sufferers is 28-30 years, although headaches may begin in childhood.

Secondary headaches may result from innumerable conditions, ranging from life threatening ones such as brain tumors, strokes, meningitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhages to less serious but common conditions such as withdrawal from caffeine and discontinuation of analgesics (pain killing medication). Many people suffer from “mixed” headache disorders in which tension headaches or secondary headaches may trigger migraine.

The treatment of the headache starts with the correct diagnosis from physicians who are experienced with all ranges of headaches. Proper treatment can only follow an accurate diagnosis. Not all physicians are trained to accurately diagnose headaches or pinpoint the causes for headaches. Our board certified doctors are experienced in proper diagnosis and will provide proper treatment headache techniques.

MIGRAINES

Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Symptoms can be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down. We have had patients that were spending as much as 12 or more days per month in bed, in the dark, waiting for the pain to go away. They came to us to get their freedom back . . . to get the migraine headache under control.

Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms or signs (auras), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg. A migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraines are complicated headaches to treat and take several different disciplines to take care of it. In a headache clinic run by Breakthrough Pain Relief, we found that patients responded to a combination of therapy and medications. This combination treatment has been freeing patients from the prison of migraine headaches for more than 9 years. Take the time to consult with one of our staff regarding your headaches and see if you qualify for this type of treatment.

CLUSTER HEADACHES

Cluster headache is far less common than migraine headache or tension headache. Cluster headaches begin far more dramatically, however, and remain quite unique in their course over time.

As the name suggests, the cluster headache exhibits a clustering of painful attacks over a period of many weeks. The pain of a cluster headache peaks in about 5 minutes and may last for an hour. Someone with a cluster headache may get several headaches a day for weeks at a time – perhaps months – usually interrupted by a pain-free period of variable length.

In contrast to people with migraine headache, perhaps 5-8 times as many men as women have cluster headache. Most people get their first cluster headache at age 25 years, although they may experience their first attacks in their teens to early 50s.

You can get 2 types of cluster headache:

Episodic:

This type is more common. You may have 2 or 3 headaches a day for about 2 months and not experience another headache for a year. The pattern then will repeat itself.

Chronic:

The chronic type behaves similarly but, unfortunately, you get no period of untreated sustained relief.

Our unique treatment protocol for headaches has been successful on all types of headaches. It begins with an accurate diagnosis of the type of headache as well as combining the best treatment options for that headache. Working across several medical disciplines, we are able to provide a treatment that provides our patients with a unique treatment that is customized specifically for them.

CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES

A headache is either simple or serious. What we mean by that is that it is not normal to have a headache. It may be common, but it is not normal. If a patient is having a headache it may be due to some serious vascular issue, tumor, or other more serious condition. Those must be properly diagnosed and an effective referral made.

If the headache is found not to be serious, then there is something simple causing the pain. Once the cause is located, then it can be corrected. The most simple of those headaches is called the cervicogenic headache, or headache originating from the neck.

Cervicogenic (say: SUR-vico jen-IK) headache is not a single disorder. It means that the source of headache is a problem in the neck. This can come from a wide range of other causes, from traumatic injury to arthritis. Cervicogenic headaches are the most common type of headache, and the most easily corrected.

Signs and symptoms

Pain is most often on one side of the head only.

It is often a dull or piercing pain, starting in the back of the head or the neck, and moving forward to the forehead or temples.

Headache can occur with pain and stiffness in the neck.

Headache can occur with pain or stiffness in the shoulder and arm on the same side.

Some people have some mild sensitivity to light and sound, and even nausea and vomiting with severe pain. This can cause confusion between headache and migraine.

A stated above, there are many causes of cervicogenic headache, but all of those causes begin with the musculoskeletal system in the neck. There are several types of pain generators in the neck joints, neck muscles, and soft tissues of the neck. The examination done in our office will help pinpoint the exact cause of your headache pain. With proper diagnosis, we can then outline the most effective treatment to correct your pain.