Headaches, Symptoms, and Treatments
A headache can be defined as having pain in any part of our head. We can experience them on one or both sides of our head, the back of our head, the front of our head or maybe it feels like our headache is all over. It can be throbbing, pounding, a dull ache or our head will feel like it’s in a vise grip. One thing is for sure, our headache has gotten our undivided attention and we want relief. Below is information on some of the different types of headaches, where they are located, symptoms and treatment options.
When we are suffering from an allergy headache, the headache location for our pain is in our faces due to our sinuses being affected. Throbbing with pain on one side of our face is usually experienced. According to the headache location chart, it is best that we avoid sunlight because this only aggravates our headache.
Since an allergy headache is associated with things we are allergic to, there are triggers we need to watch out for. They are:
- Nasal or sinus congestion
- Certain foods
Below is a list of treatments we can try before seeking medical help.
- Apply a warm moist washcloth to our face multiple times a day.
- Drinking plenty of fluids will help to thin our mucus.
- If possible, inhale steam 2-4 times daily.
- Spray nostrils with a saline solution.
- Flush the sinuses using a neti pot or other flushing system.
Before seeing our family doctor and/or an allergist, we may want to try a few over-the-counter allergy medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids. If none of the above is working, then your doctor or allergist may prescribe one of the following.
- Leukotriene inhibitors – This is an oral medication which will relieve our allergy signs and symptoms.
- Injections – Allergy shops usually are administered 1-2 times a week for a period of 3-6 months. After this, maintenance shots are given less frequently for a period of 3-5 years.
- EpiPen – If you have an allergy to foods such as peanuts or bee or wasp venom, then it is wise to carry at least 2 EpiPens with you when you are out in case of anaphylactic shock.
Chronic Daily Headache
A chronic daily headache occurs very frequently usually 15 days out of the month for at least six months or more. Because this type of headache includes a variety of different headaches, the headache location is going to vary. When we experience this type of headache, symptoms will be as follows:
- Chronic migraine
- Chronic tension-type headache
- Persistent headache on a daily basis
One of the most common causes of a chronic daily headache is overuse of headache medications. Other causes are:
- Inflammation or other problems with blood vessels around the brain area.
- Brain tumor
- Traumatic brain injury
Our doctor may order an MRI or a CT scan in addition to getting our medical and family history regarding a headache. If the problem is taking too much headache medication and taking it too often, we may need to slowly end our dependency before starting a treatment plan. The following is a list of medications our doctor may prescribe to treat our chronic daily headache.
- Antidepressants — These medications can also help treat the depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances that often accompany a chronic daily headache.
- Beta-blockers — These drugs are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. They can also be used to help prevent episodic migraines.
- Anti-seizure medications — Some of these medications are used to help prevent migraines as well as a chronic daily headache.
- NSAIDs — Prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful especially if you are trying to withdrawal from other pain medication.
- Botulinum toxin — Botox injections would most likely be considered if the headache has features of chronic migraines.
According to the cluster headache Complete Headache Chart, an aneurysm can feel like a migraine or cluster headache. An aneurysm headache is dangerous because they can lead to a stroke. They can also cause us to slip into unconsciousness if there is a slow, steady leak of blood in our brain. Other symptoms we may experience are the double vision and a rigid neck. The headache location for our aneurysm is having severe pain behind or above one or both of our eyes. The following are a few of the symptoms of an unruptured aneurysm.
- Loss of vision or double vision
- Numbness or weakness on one side of our face
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of balance
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Drooping eyelid
Treading our aneurysm requires a medical diagnosis which will consist of tests to determine if we have bleeding in the space between our brain and the tissues around our brain. Other diagnostic tests include:
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
- Cerebrospinal Fluid Test
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Cerebral Angiogram
Treatment for our aneurysm will depend on whether it is ruptured or unruptured. Let’s first look at treatments for ruptured aneurysms. Any singular one of these can be used to close off our unruptured brain aneurysm.
- Surgical clipping stops the bleeding blood vessel(s).
- Endovascular coiling is a procedure which involves a plastic tube being inserted into an artery in the groin area and going through the body to the aneurysm.
- Flow diverters which are stint like tubular implants which divert the blood flow away from our aneurysm sac.
- Treating our unruptured brain aneurysms can involve surgical clipping, endovascular coiling or a flow diverter.
A headache is no fun. When we get one, we want relief and we want it fast. Some are more easily treated than others. If your headache is a problem for you, be sure to get checked out by your doctor as soon as possible