3 Types of Headaches and How They’re Treated

3 Types of Headaches and How They’re Treated

Nearly everyone has experienced a headache at some point. Some are mildly discomforting — and can be quickly remedied by loosening a tight hairstyle or removing a too-tight hat — but some headaches can be downright debilitating. 

Chronic headaches significantly impact your daily life, making even the simplest tasks seem arduous. Our experienced pain management specialists Firas Hijazi, MDSatvik Munshi, MD, and Ben Homra, MD, understand the distress headaches can cause. If you’re struggling with headaches, we encourage you to visit LA Pain Doctor in Metairie, LaPlace, Luling, Hammond, Harvey, or Luling, Louisiana. 

In the meantime, let’s take a look at three distinct types of headaches and their respective treatments to help you better manage and alleviate your pain.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most prevalent type of headache, and they’re often characterized by a dull, steady pain that feels like a tight band around your head. Many factors can contribute to tension headaches, including:

 Fortunately, tension headaches typically respond well to various treatments.

Relaxation techniques

Stress management through techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help prevent tension headaches associated with stress and anxiety.

Physical therapy

Correcting posture and addressing muscle tension through physical therapy can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches. Avoiding tech neck can also go a long way in preventing tension headaches.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can temporarily relieve tension headache pain.

Massage

If muscle tension is contributing to your headache, you may find back, neck, and shoulder massages beneficial. You can treat yourself to a spa day, but at-home massagers can do wonders. A warm bath can also help alleviate some muscle tension.

Migraine headaches

Migraines are intense and often debilitating headaches that come with a range of symptoms, including throbbing pain on one side of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to be related to abnormal brain activity and genetics. 

Managing migraines may involve:

Avoid your migraine triggers

Identifying and avoiding triggers, such as certain foods, dehydration, bright lights, lack of sleep, and stress, can help prevent migraine attacks. Not sure what triggers your migraines? Try keeping a journal to identify any trends in your migraines. 

Lifestyle modifications

Once you’ve pinpointed your migraine triggers, you may find that certain lifestyle modifications help to reduce the frequency of your headaches. Lifestyle modifications may include:

Stress management practices can also help reduce stress-induced migraines.

Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications, like triptans and anti-nausea drugs, can help alleviate migraine symptoms. Some medication stops a migraine already in progress, while other types of medication aim to prevent migraines in the first place.

Injections

Botox® injections are FDA approved to help reduce the frequency and severity of chronic migraines (i.e., more than 15 headache days per month). 

Here at LA Pain Doctor, Botox is just one of the many injections that help reduce headaches. Because trigger point injections deliver anesthetic and sometimes corticosteroids into your trigger points, you feel relief as these tense, knotty areas start to relax. 

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are severe, intensely painful headaches that typically occur on one side of the head and are often accompanied by symptoms like eye watering, nasal congestion, and restlessness. These headaches are much more rare, and they occur only in clusters, meaning they happen multiple times a day for weeks or months. This “cluster” period is then followed by periods of remission. 

Managing cluster headaches may involve: 

Oxygen therapy

Inhaling pure oxygen through a mask during an attack can help alleviate cluster headache pain.

Prescription medications

Certain medications, such as sumatriptan and other vasoconstrictors, may be prescribed to provide relief during an episode.

Nerve stimulation

Techniques like occipital nerve or deep brain stimulation are advanced treatments that can help manage chronic cluster headaches.

Are there other types of headaches?

You may experience headaches that are the result of another condition. These are called secondary headaches. For example, you may develop a headache if you have allergies or a sinus infection. Secondary headaches are often treated by treating the root cause of your headache. In the case of a sinus infection, taking antibiotics to stop a bacterial sinus infection can stop your infection-related headache.

Get help for your chronic headaches

Here at LA Pain Doctor, our team provides you with a comprehensive understanding of different headache types and their treatment options. Once we’ve determined the type of headaches you have, we recommend the appropriate treatment, whether that’s nerve blocks, medication, or injections.

 Don’t let headaches hold you back from living your life to the fullest — with the right care, you can regain control and find relief. Call one of the five LA Pain Doctor locations, or schedule an appointment online for headache management.

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