Headache Awareness Week | ReBuilder Medical
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Headaches: What You Need to Know

5/31/2022

headache


Headaches: everybody gets them, nobody likes them. But how much do you really know about them? For how common and universal the experience is, most people don’t know much about headaches. And since it’s Headache Awareness Week, we’re doing our part to spread the word and give you the tools to live a happier, healthier life!

Types of Headaches

When your head hurts, most people chalk it up to a headache and call it a day. But did you know there are about 150 different types of headaches? And it’s important to recognize what types of headaches are most common for you, so you can better treat and prevent them in the future. Unfortunately, we’d be here all day if we went over all 150, so here are the most common types of headaches:

types of headache placements

Sinus Headache: Characterized by sinus pain/tenderness exaggerated by head movements and typically increasing in severity throughout the day. It is typically accompanied by other symptoms such as nasal discharge, ear sensations or fullness, and facial swelling. Pain is caused by blockage of the sinus ducts by infection or severe inflammation from allergies. True sinus headaches are relatively rare, but migraine and cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches.

Tension Headache: The most common type, characterized by a dull, non-throbbing pain typically feeling like a tight band around the head. The severity of pain remains constant throughout the episode, ranging from mild to moderate. The cause of tension headaches is still unknown.

Migraine Headache: A severe, one-sided throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cold hands, or sensitivity to sound and light. There are two types of migraines: with and without aura. Migraine auras are sensory changes—such as visual disturbances, light sensitivity, or numbness in one hand or leg—that can precede a migraine episode. People who experience auras report the headache typically begins 30 minutes after the sensory changes subside. Not all migraines present with auras, and it’s far more common to have a migraine without aura.

Cluster Headache: The most painful type, often called the suicide headache. It’s characterized by excruciating pain in the vicinity of the eye; tearing of the eye; nose congestion; and flushing of the face. Pain frequently develops during sleep and may last for several hours. Pain attacks will occur every day for weeks, or even months, then disappear for up to a year.

Bonus Fact: Primary headaches are caused by the part of the brain that processes pain (migraine, cluster, and tension headaches).  Secondary headaches are symptoms of a larger issue (sinus headaches).

General Triggers and Causes

While every type of headache has its own triggers, there are some common ones you should know. Major headache triggers are lack of sleep, change of weather, noise, menstruation, stress, too much computer usage, and excessive smoking. On the less common end of things, misalignment of the vertebrae also causes headaches. Headaches can also be inherited, so if your family has a history of headaches, you may be at a higher risk for developing a headache condition.

Treatment

There are many ways to treat headaches, both at home (for less severe headaches) and under doctor supervision (for headache conditions). The number one way to treat headaches at home is to sleep. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep reduces your body's natural pain threshold and can increase headache frequency. Other studies suggest that sleep might be a combatant against headaches. Household pain medications—such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen—and ice packs (wrapped in a towel to prevent ice-burn) are also effective methods to treat headaches.

For more severe headache conditions, there are specific medications to manage pain and prevent attacks. Biofeedback training is a series of techniques that teach patients to control functions of their nervous system such as heart rate, blood pressure, and brainwave activity to manage pain. These techniques include yoga, meditation, and use of monitoring devices. These techniques are self-driven, though a professional is needed to instruct patients on proper techniques. For headaches triggered by stress (such as tension headaches), some patients find success through psychotherapy and learning to manage their stress.

Everyone is different, so it might take some time to find what works best for you, but don’t be discouraged!

Visiting your Doctor for Headaches

If you suspect you might need to visit a doctor for your headaches, we highly recommend you begin a headache diary. Headache diaries help you track when your headaches occur, their severity, and any symptoms that may accompany them. Understanding a patient’s headache history is essential for diagnosis, so having a tangible diary for your doctor to review can only help. It’s also recommended that you record your diet within your headache diary since some headaches can be triggered by dietary choices.

Now comes the hard part. How do you know it’s time to visit the doctor for your headaches? Since headaches are so common, most Americans delay medical care for fear of appearing oversensitive or malingering.

So here are some reasons to go to the doctor for your headaches:

  • Your worst headache or migraine attack ever
  • Unresolved vision loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Pain lasting more than 72 hours with a waking pain-free period lasting less than 4 hours
  • A headache or migraine episode accompanied by unusual, abnormal, or frightening symptoms

Dr. Luther and the ReBuilder®

Dr. Luther of SJL Wellness Center has prescribed the ReBuilder® to patients who suffer from headaches and her toughest neuropathy cases.

The ReBuilder® is a drug-free alternative to eliminate nerve pain immediately, and gently supports your body's healing process without causing further destruction.  ReBuilder Medical is here to help you understand how to treat your chronic pain without dealing with the equally frustrating side effects of medications.  Give us a call at 877-717-5487 with any questions or check out our Find A Doctor page and we can help direct you to the nearest participating physician to start a treatment plan!

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