One of the most common problems patients complain about in my office is headaches… Migraines, cluster and tension(stress) headaches are caused by a variety of different things, and at times it’s the elimination of those things that brings relief. Often they have had headaches for YEARS but just assumed they were ‘normal’. They’re not. While headaches are common, they’re not normal. Headaches are a sign that something’s wrong, and taking a pain-killer or aspirin doesn’t eliminate the problem…it merely covers it up.
Since there are many different kinds of – and reasons for – headaches, it’s really a matter of the characteristic of the headache that will classify it: Migraines, cluster, tension, hormonal, withdrawal, rebound, etc. (For headaches associated with concussions go here) For the sake of argument, we’ll cover just a few here.
Migraines – are usually of a piercing quality and usually are located throughout the head without respect to side. They are typically preceded by what’s called a “prodrome” – which is some kind of precipitating factor usually 20-30 minutes prior – in the form of nausea, photophobia, sensitivity to sound or even vomiting.
Cluster – these headaches are typically short bursts of headaches over the course of days or weeks and can be quite severe. Their is usually a quick onset, and at times they will subside anywhere from an hour to 6 hours without medication, but then will repeat.
Tension(Stress) – These are headaches typically felt as a result of poor posture and are felt in the back of the head. They are also often experienced in the latter aspect of the day and can also subside once the causative agent is corrected(poor posture, ergonomic correction, etc). Quite often, these headaches are also experienced after auto accidents, considering the muscles in the back of the neck become strained.