Headaches & Migraines Treatment
Treating Migraine, Cluster, Tension, and Other Headaches
Migraine headaches cause severe, debilitating pain that can start as a dull ache and progress to a throbbing or pulsing pain located in any portion of the head. Migraine pain is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Women are more prone to migraines than men.
Cluster headaches refer to a group of headaches that occur over a relatively short period of time, usually several weeks. These headaches can be quite severe and might occur anywhere from every other day to several times in one day. Men are more likely to suffer from cluster headaches than women.
Tension headaches result from contracted muscles in the neck and scalp. Poor posture is a risk factor for tension headaches, along with stress, depression, and anxiety. The pain from a tension headache is commonly felt in the base of the skull and the back of the neck, along with the front, top, or sides of the head. The neck muscles can also feel tight and tender to the touch.
Sinus infections, which are also called sinusitis, can trigger a sinus headache. These infections occur when the nasal and sinus passages become inflamed due to allergies or viruses. Sinus headaches are typically felt as pressure and discomfort in the forehead and cheeks.
Treating Head and Face Pain Due to Headaches
Treatment for head pain from migraine, cluster, sinus, or tension headaches depends in part on the frequency and severity of the condition. Many headaches can be treated with various pain medications, including NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), opioids and triptans, which block the brain’s pain pathways by forcing blood vessels to constrict. Headache pain can also be treated with allergy medications if the underlying cause of the headaches involves an allergic reaction. Chiropractic adjustments can also reduce or eliminate head pain due to chronic headaches caused by irregularities in the cervical spine.
Migraine-related head pain can also be treated with preventive drugs such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. In some cases, small doses of ketamine can be delivered in a carefully-controlled setting using intravenous infusion to quickly and significantly reduce the severity of migraine auras and to alleviate migraine pain for up to several weeks. A ketamine nose spray can be prescribed to provide migraine relief for some patients. Botox is also proven to be helpful in treating chronic migraines in adults. Migraines and other types of recurrent or chronic headaches can also be successfully treated with alternative or nontraditional therapies including massage, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, and biofeedback.