We all experience a headache now and then. The term ‘headache’ is often broadly used to describe the dull, sharp, or throbbing pains we feel in our face or head. It’s also one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and can be disruptive to daily life.

Types of Headache Disorders

There are over 150 types of headaches, each varying in symptoms and intensity. The most common types seen by medical professionals include tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines.

Common headache triggers include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor posture
  • Eating processed foods and foods high in nitrates
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Skipping meals
  • Dehydration
  • Medication overuse
  • Straining from coughing, blowing your nose, sneezing, laughing or crying

You can treat most headaches at home with over-the-counter pain relievers that can last from 30 minutes to several hours. If your headaches are more frequent (2 or more headaches per week), your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant, antidepressant, or a stronger pain medication.

Is it a Migraine or a Bad Headache?

A migraine is a severe headache that causes people to feel nauseous, have blurred vision, become sensitive to light and sound, and experience seeing an aura. Since there are no tests for migraines, healthcare providers differentiate them from other headaches by using the mnemonic ‘POUND’.

  • P: Pulsating quality
  • O: Hours (headache lasting 4-72 hours)
  • U: Unilateral location
  • N: Nausea/vomiting
  • D: Disabling intensity

If you experience at least four of the criteria listed above, you likely suffer from migraines. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but medical experts believe they may be genetic and brought on by the same headache triggers mentioned above.

For people who suffer from frequent migraines, a healthcare provider may prescribe a medication taken when they feel a migraine coming on that will reduce the severity of their symptoms. Providers may also offer a migraine prevention treatment like botulinum toxin type A injections, also known as BOTOX ®.

Don’t Wait It Out

If you experience frequent headaches, you should see your primary care provider so they can create a treatment plan or refer you to a headache specialist. Also, keep a journal of when they occur so you and your doctor can determine what is causing them and keep track of their frequency.

There can be many causes behind your headaches, and our multidisciplinary approach to care can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation to identify the source of your headaches.

Life can be full of headaches, but they shouldn’t interfere with your quality of life. We will help you find a solution for your headache and neuralgia problems and get you back to living your daily life. Call (716) 706-7112 to schedule an appointment with a board-certified headache specialist today.