By Dr. James R. Fedich, Village Family Clinic
Millions of Americans suffer from headaches, large and small. Every day people endure throbbing pains in their head due to headaches, many times seemingly without any good reason.
There are several different types of headaches and each need to be treated in different ways.
There are classic migraine type headaches. Patients with migraines typically report seeing an aura, or light disturbance, they are usually bothered by light and must sit in the dark for hours. They may also have nausea and vomiting which will sometimes actually alleviate the headache. These headaches have varying causes and thus varying treatments. However, once a pathological condition has been ruled out, many times patients find relief by eliminating their neck tension and taking calcium and magnesium supplementation, which helps with the blood brain balance.
Another cause of headaches is sinus problems, which can happen for some people at certain times of year rather than another. Between the “sniffles” and “colds”, common in the winter, trouble often brews with folks with sinus issues. No matter when these problems persist, many people who get sinus infections have increased pressure in the head due to the sinus and thus also get headaches. The only way to alleviate the headache is to alleviate the sinus pressure. Sinus Pressure must be fully evaluated by a family doctor. Common conditions that can cause sinus pressure are sinusitis, or sinus infections, which can be serious. Commonly sinus congestion can be treated with antibiotics for serious cases or other methods such as saline rinse or over the counter medications
There are also cluster type headaches, which are usually felt on one side of the head only and can be accompanied with nasal problems and sweating. These headaches can be attributed to some type of allergic reaction or other cause.
But perhaps the most common type of headache is one brought on by tension. Tension headaches are usually felt in the shoulders and the back of the neck and usually have pressure in the front of the head and behind the eyes. Tension headaches are caused by stress, general everyday tension, and pressure in the spinal bones of the neck.
A study recently performed at Duke University sought to seek the best treatment for these types of headaches. The researchers studied acupuncture, medications, exercise, and chiropractic. The study found that the most effective treatment for tension type headaches was chiropractic manipulation of the neck. Some patients also seek relief from massage and heat therapy. Headaches can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, especially in children. It is important to seek consultation from a doctor in order to rule out a more serious cause of your headache. If a headache is accompanied by double vision, dizziness, or numbness, this can be a very serious problem and you should seek emergency care immediately.