Are There Any Risks To Taking Medication To Treat Tension Headaches
Over-the-counter pain relievers are generally safe. But overusing pain relievers can cause other problems. Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. Always check in with your provider if you feel the need to use pain relievers more than twice a week.
Take these medications only when you need them. Use the smallest dose that relieves your pain.
In general, overusing pain medications may cause:
- Headaches: Taking pain relievers too often can actually cause a headache when you stop taking the medicine. This effect is similar to withdrawal.
- Other side effects: All drugs have side effects. Avoid taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, too often. Overuse may cause stomach pain, bleeding or ulcers. If you take any medication regularly, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
- Reduced benefits over time: Your body can build up a tolerance any medication. You may notice that a medication youve used regularly doesnt work as well as it once did.
- Dependence: Some medications can become addictive. They may pose more risks than benefits. For that reason, healthcare providers usually recommend against prescribing benzodiazepines and narcotics to treat tension headaches.
Treatment Of Tension Headache
Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are useful in providing relief from tension headache. A few examples of common treatment methods for tension headaches are:
- Pain-relieving medications. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are commonly available over-the-counter and provide relief from tension headache pain. Combining two or more drugs such as aspirin and/or acetaminophen with caffeine into one drug for some people may have better efficacy than single drug medications. Prescription drugs such as ketoprofen and higher strength naproxen may be used to treat severe tension headache.
See Headache Treatment and Prevention on Pain-health.com
Prescription or OTC medications taken on a continual basis must be monitored by a doctor and dosages must be followed correctly to prevent side effects. Overuse of pain-relief medication can result in medication-overuse headaches in headache-prone people and can also reduce the effectiveness of preventive drugs.
What Is A Headache
A headache, known by the medical term cephalalgia, is pain located in the head or neck area, but not all headaches are created equal. There are several different types of headaches, and they are typically classified into two different categories:
The primary category of headaches includes tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches as well as a number of uncommon headache types. Cranial neuralgias and facial pain are also a part of the primary headache category and can be extremely painful. Facial pain can be caused by a number of different problems, including trigeminal neuralgia. Cranial neuralgias include:
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Occipital neuralgia
Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying disease or another problem, such as injury to the head or neck. These can include :
- Cough headaches
- Sex headaches
- Hypnic headaches
As you may have guessed, stress is a factor in only a few of these headaches. Cough, exercise, and sex headaches have specific causes as their name suggests. Primary headaches such as migraines, tension, and cluster headaches can be caused by stress, but they can also be triggered by other factors. For example, migraines can be caused by fluctuating hormones or triggered by environmental influences.
Stress will typically exacerbate any headache or condition that causes a headache. This is the case with neuralgias. Occipital neuralgia, especially, is exacerbated by the effects stress has on our neck muscles.
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Treatment For Migraine Headaches
Find out what your triggers are and avoid them. Keep a headache diary so you can track things like what you’ve eaten and had to drink, how much you’ve slept, activities you’ve taken part in, weather, and other factors. After you’ve had a few migraine headaches, you can see what things they have in common.
You may be able to catch a migraine on the front-end. Abortive medications, which you take as soon as you feel one coming on, can often stop the process. Drugstores carry over-the-counter ibuprofen medications specifically for migraine headaches. If they aren’t enough to help, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications.
If you don’t respond to other treatments and you have more than 4 migraine headache days a month, your doctor may suggest preventive medicines. You can take these regularly to reduce the severity or frequency of the headaches. These include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines , and some antidepressants.
It’s also possible you will be prescribed use of external medical devices for relief. They include a hand-held called gammaCore which is a noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator . I, it can be placed on the vagus nerve in the neck to interrupt verve signals for migraine relief. Another device called a SpringTMS can be used for treatment or prevention or migraines. It is placed on the back of the head and gives off a pulse of magnetic energy into part of the brain to stop or ease
Making The Correct Diagnosis
The importance of thorough history and examination in patients with headache has already been emphasized. It is very important to exclude secondary headaches, to recognize comorbid conditions and finally to establish whether TTH coexist with migraine. It is also extremely important to detect whether the headaches are being aggravated by overuse of medications. In many patients with long history of typical headaches with normal examination, the diagnosis of TTH can be made without special investigations at the same time, if felt necessary the investigations like neuro-imaging should not be withheld to exclude a secondary cause.
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What Is The Prognosis For Tension
The prognosis for tension-type headache in the general population is favourable: 45% of adults with frequent or chronic tension-type headache at baseline were in remission when examined three years later, although 39% still had frequent headaches, and 16% had chronic tension-type headache. Poor outcome was associated with the presence of chronic tension-type headache at baseline, coexisting migraine, not being married, and sleep problems. Predictive factors for remission were older age and absence of chronic tension-type headache at baseline. The prognosis for patients who need medical intervention or specialist headache care is presumably not so favourable but is difficult to determine because case mix varies considerably from clinic to clinic and country to country.
The Relationship Between Headaches And Stress
With over two decades of experience in medicine, Melissa Flagg writes patient education articles, keeping you informed about your health.
Stress can cause all sorts of problems with our health. Prolonged stress can lead to diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. It has also been linked with cancer and heart disease. So, it should come as no surprise that headaches and stress go hand in hand.
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If The Pain Is Around Your Eye
Head pain in and around your eye can be a classic sign of a cluster headache, so named because these headaches tend to occur in groups over a period of weeks or months before going away for a while. Usually just one eye is affected , and that eye may also be red, teary, swollen, or droopy.
Cluster headache pain may also radiate down your neck, cheek, nose, temple, or shoulder, again, usually just on one side. You may also have a runny or stuffy nose and even nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Because theyre usually one-sided and can involve sensitivity to stimuli, cluster headaches are often confused with migraines.
Each cluster headache can last as little as half an hour or as long as several hours, usually appearing at the same time each day and often when youre sleeping, which is why theyre nicknamed alarm clock headaches. Cluster headaches are one of the most painful types of headaches, but also one of the rarest.
They are very painful, like a hot poker in the eye, says Mark W. Green, MD, a spokesperson for the National Headache Foundation and the director of headache and pain medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.
What Is A Migraine
A migraine is an extremely painful and severe throbbing pain or sensation, typically on one side of your head. Frequently, sufferers of migraines experience hypersensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and potentially vomiting, which can last for hoursor days.
As someone who suffered from vomiting migraines for over two decades, I can attest to the severity of these painful experiences.
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How Are Tension Headaches Diagnosed
Tension headaches are mainly diagnosed based on the symptoms you report. A thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions.
Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your healthcare provider helps make an accurate diagnosis.
Questions commonly asked during the exam may include:
- When do headaches occur?
- What is the location of the headache?
- What do the headaches feel like?
- How long do the headaches last?
- Have there been changes in behavior or personality?
- Do changes in position or sitting up cause the headache?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you have a history of stress?
- Have you had a head injury?
If the history suggests tension headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further testing may be needed. But, if the headache is not found to be the main problem, then other tests may be needed to determine the cause such as:
Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine
Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.
Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:
- Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
- Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
- Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
- Feeling mentally “fuzzy”
Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.
Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.
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Who Should Be Treated
People with infrequent headache and good results from occasional use of non-prescription drugs do not need medical treatment, although some may want reassurance that this approach is reasonable. In general, medicine for acute headache should be used no more than two to three days a week this is to minimise the chance that medication overuse or rebound headache will develop. Medical treatment is indicated for patients whose intake of non-prescription drugs regularly exceeds this level because of the chance that medication overuse headache or other complications will develop. Patients who are disabled by headache or whose frequency or severity of headache steadily escalates also need medical supervision. Whether treatment prevents or delays the transition from episodic to chronic tension-type headache is not known.
Key Points About Tension Headaches
- Tension headaches are the most common type of headache.
- Tension headaches typically do not cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light.
- Tension headaches affect both sides of the head, come on slowly, and are described as a tight band or vice around the head.
- Lifestyle changes including regular sleep, exercise, and meal schedules can reduce or prevent headaches.
- Discuss medicines to treat or prevent tension headaches with your healthcare provider.
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Understanding The Connection Between Migraines Headaches And Stress
This week, our blog is written by a guest author, Dr. Brent Wells, who is a Chiropractor, practicing in Anchorage, AK.
Stress affects everyone but how it does differs. For many people, stress can result in irritability while in others it can cause insomnia. Stress can also play a big role in the development of migraines and headaches. This article will explore the interesting connection between stress and migraines or headaches and a few ways you can reduce it.
Can Stress Cause Migraines or Headaches?
Stress can be a huge factor in the formation of migraines and headaches. When you become stressed, it causes your muscles to become tense. For some people, this tension might especially be located in their neck, shoulders, and jaw. Because of this, it can irritate the nerves in these areas. These nerves will then send distress signals to your brain. This can result in painful headaches and could even lead to migraines.
Common Stress and Migraine/Headache Symptoms
There are a variety of symptoms these problems can cause.
7 Ways to Reduce Stress
- Practice Deep Breathing: Deep breathing has been shown to help calm stress because it increases oxygen to your brain. This works to relax this vital organ and prevent it from overworking your nervous system.
- Use Chiropractic Care: You might be surprised to learn that a chiropractor can help manage migrainesymptoms caused by stress.
Some of the best food to add to your diet to reduce stress are:
- Eagle pose
Say Goodbye To Your Stress
Are you tortured by headache pain morning, noon and night, day after day? Does emotional and/or physical stress always seem to trigger a headache? If so, youre one of the many Americans who suffer from stress-related or tension headaches. These headaches have own distinctive style, and some of their underlying causes may actually surprise you. If youre ready to tackle those underlying causes so you can relieve your headaches without turning to drugs, physical therapy might hold your answers. Contact one of our Virginia or North Carolina offices today our physical therapist will be happy to help you feel better!
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache
Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:
In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:
If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.
Diagnostic Tests/lab Tests/lab Values
If an individual is experiencing frequent headaches, then a medical professional may perform physical and neurological exams to try to determine what is causing them. Taking a thorough history may be the most important diagnostic tool in determining a TTH. It is important to understand how long an individual has been experiencing these headaches, how long they last, their intensity, and if there are any associated symptoms that accompany the headache. For example, auras are associated with migraines and one can rule out TTH if these symptoms are described. A medical professional may also ask if there are any known triggers and what, if anything, can be done to eliminate the symptoms. A physician may also choose to order a computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging , X-Ray, or electroencephalogram to rule out other possible causes of the headaches. The HALT index, or headache-attributed lost time index, is a patient reported outcome measure used to determine how headaches are affecting the individual’s life. This outcome measurement can help steer decisions in medical treatment. After the medical intervention, the Headache and Assessment of Response to Treatment is used to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. Lastly, individuals are given pamphlets of information describing what a TTH is, the symptoms, and possible treatment options.
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What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine
The best way to prevent migraine is to find out what triggers your attacks and avoid or limit these triggers. Since migraine headaches are more common during times of stress, finding healthy ways to cut down on and cope with stress might help. Talk with your doctor about starting a fitness program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.
Talk with your doctor if you need to take your pain-relief medicine more than twice a week. Doing so can lead to rebound headaches. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for you to help prevent migraine, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine. Talk with your doctor if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.
Neck Pain And Tension Headache
Tension headache, also called tension-type headache, commonly causes mild to moderate constricting or tightening pain in the forehead and temple area, with tenderness in the scalp and neck muscles. Tension headache is caused due to muscle contractions in the face, scalp, and neck as a response to stress, strain, fatigue, or other factors.
Tension headache is a common headache characterized by moderate to severe non-throbbing pain in the forehead, scalp, and neck. Tension headache occurs when muscles of the scalp and neck become tense, such as from tension, stress, fear, and/or emotions.
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How Does Stress Cause Migraines
01.23.2020 by Dr. Doni
Stress takes many forms, and is often the hidden culprit behind migraines. To get at the root cause of chronic migraines, you may be surprised to learn that we need to look at how stress might be disrupting our digestion, neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system.
Headaches come in many different forms: tension, cluster, sinus, and yes, migraines. A headache is head pain that presents in different ways throughout your head for a variety of causes.
For example, head pain can be caused by emotional stress, physical stress, such as tight neck muscles, neck vertebrae misalignment, or inflammation in the TMJ joint, and/or allergies, sinus congestion and pressure, viral infections, toxin exposure , and more. In worst case but very uncommon scenarios, head pain can be caused by growths or tumors in the head.
Identifying where the pain is coming from goes a long way towards helping to identify the cause of the head pain. For this reason, your practitioner will likely ask you if the pain is on the left side, right side, temples, front, back, or everywhere. The location of the pain is one of the keys to understanding the cause.
What is most common, however, is that headaches and specifically migraines are related to stress.