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Minimally Invasive Pain Institute

Pain & Debilitating Conditions

Headaches

Common headaches are often the result of eyestrain, inflammation of the sinuses, environmental factors, or overuse of some prescription medicines. Some headache problems are shown to be caused from the constriction of the blood vessels within your head, while others may be due to tension in the muscles of the neck, shoulder, or jaw. In more serious cases, headaches can be caused by an underlying disease. Depending on the type of headache – tension or vascular, acute or chronic – different symptoms may be experienced. For example, while vascular headaches typically include a throbbing pain that intensifies with physical exertion, tension headaches involve fatigue, irritability, disturbed concentration, and occasional dizziness.

Types of Headaches

Tension Headache
Symptoms
Contracted muscles between your head and neck. Tightness around your neck or soreness around your head (a "vice-like" ache).

Common Causes
Stress, fatigue, physical problems, psychological issues, or depression.

 

Migraine Headache
Symptoms
Dull ache develops into a constant, severe throbbing and pulsating pain that is felt at the temples, as well as the front or back of one side of the head. Other symptoms include vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.

Common Causes
Stress, fatigue, oversleeping or lack of sleep, fasting or missing a meal, food or medicine that affects the diameter of blood vessels, caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol, hormonal changes or changes in altitude or barometric pressure.

 

Cluster Headache
Symptoms
Extreme stabbing or piercing pain around one eye and radiates to the forehead, temple and cheek on the same side. Tearing or bloodshot eye and a runny nose on the side of the head ache are often experienced.

Common Causes
Chronic smoking, alcohol, some medications, an interruption in normal sleep pattern, and/or problems with the hypothalamus.

 

Hormone Headache
Symptoms
Pain is felt on one side of the head and is coupled with intense throbbing, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light/smell/sound.

Common Causes
Changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

 

Sinus Headache
Symptoms
Deep, constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. Pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement.

Common Causes
Sinus inflammation or congestion, which can derive from a respiratory infection or allergies.

 

Occipital Neuralgia
Symptoms
Chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the eyes.

Common Causes
Damage to the occipital nerves due to trauma, physical stress, or repetitive neck contraction, flexion or extension.

 

For a vascular headache diagnosis, your doctor may implement blood chemistry and urinalysis tests to help determine if a certain medical condition could be the root cause. CT scans of the head or a MRI may be recommended for further work-up. In rare instances, an Electroencephalogram (EEG) or eye pressure tests may be performed. A spinal tap may be administered to look for conditions, such as infections of the brain or spinal cord. Your headache type, severity, and frequency of occurrence, as well as individual response and associated health conditions can all dictate what headache treatment is best for you. Lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications may be enough to relieve many headaches, but there are a variety of pain management interventional treatments available to provide pain relief for severe chronic and debilitating conditions which can help you regain control over your quality of life.