What are Common Treatments for Chronic Headaches and Migraines?

What are Common Treatments for Chronic Headaches and Migraines?

Functioning at home or work can be impeded by chronic headaches and migraines. They can also be symptoms of a health disorder, and differ in terms of their underlying causes. According to the American Migraine Foundation, chronic migraine headaches affect 12 percent of the population. Notably, high blood pressure (BP) has been linked as a causal factor for some headaches. Yet, one in every five people with high BP are unaware that they have this debilitating disorder (per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Meanwhile, non-migraine headaches affect even more adults than migraines. 

Southwest Spine and Pain Center recognizes that headaches (including migraines) have different underlying causes that necessitate different types of treatment. The following is a description of some of the causes of chronic headaches, as well as related treatments.

Common Migraine Headache Triggers

Unlike other headaches, migraines are usually experienced primarily in the back or side of the head (and often produce extreme sensitivity to light and sound during episodes). According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four progressive migraine stages as follows:

  1. Prodrome;
  2. Aura;
  3. Headache;
  4. Post-drome

Four of the triggers listed on the Mayo Clinic website are:

  • Food additives (e.g.,MSG);
  • Sensory stimuli (e.g.,bright lights or sunshine);
  • Emotional stress;
  • Changes in waking-sleeping patterns (such as experienced by a change to night-shift work)

An unusual brain wave transmission in reaction to triggers is believed to be the underlying cause of chronic migraine headaches (per the Association of Migraine Disorders). Therefore, the treatment strategy typically combines a pharmaceutical approach with avoidance of the identified triggers.

Myopia and Headaches

Eye strain is a recognized cause of headaches, and adults who are near-sighted (but refrain from wearing either contact lenses or glasses) are most likely to develop eye strain. Study findings published in 2018 in BMJ Open Opthalmology revealed that at least 50 percent of digital device-users (e.g.,hand-held computers) have chronic eye strain. Placing a warm washcloth on closed eyes for several minutes is a home remedy to relieve headaches caused by either eye strain or emotional stress. Neck and shoulder pain were also identified in the aforementioned article as associated with the overuse of digital devices.

Concussions and Headaches

Nearly 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the US annually, and headache is the most common concussion symptom. Two other frequent symptoms are dizziness and blurred vision (and experiencing either of these can be a sign of a more severe concussion). Whether the result of a sports injury or other accident, a concussion-related headache – depending upon severity –can persist for months or even years. 

Meanwhile, research findings published in Headache showed that daily headaches were reported in at least 20 percent of military veterans who experienced a deployment-related concussion (and such concussions can occur merely through hearing an extremely loud explosion).

Since sprains and broken bones can occur in tandemwith a concussion, choosing to receive headache treatment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center can enable development of a pain management treatment plan encompassing other injured areas of your body.

Medication-Related Headaches

Your medication may be contributing to your headache. Nitroglycerin is one frequently-ingested medication in older-aged adults that has been associated with headache development. Additionally, both caffeine (included as an additive in many medications) and codeine have been linked to headache development.

According to an article in Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, medication overuse headache (MOS) affects 1-2 percent of the global population.

If chronic pain is impacting your life, don't wait to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With three locations and growing, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to! To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

©Southwest Spine and Pain Center, 2018