Professional Advice - Advanced Pain Care
There are many types of headaches, and the causes and symptoms of each can vary greatly. One common type of headache is a tension headache, which is often caused by muscle tension. Another common type of headache is the Migraine Headache, which affects over 10 percent of the population. Rare forms include the trigeminal neuralgia headache, cluster headaches and hemicrania continua. Headache pain can range from a dull ache, to a completely debilitating experience.
By the time most patients come to their doctor with complaints of headache, they have likely been suffering for years. (1) Chronic Migraine is a type of headache, but there are many different kinds of headaches"and there are different treatment options, depending on the type. If you think you are experiencing Chronic Migraine, it's important to recognize it early, with a diagnosis from your doctor. (1)
Different forms of headaches manifest differently and have different characteristics. Some causes of headaches can be completely harmless, as is the case for most tension headaches. Other causes, however, can be potentially life threatening- although this is extremely rare.
Headache pain can be caused by a number of factors, but there are several commonly known factors which can trigger a headache, including stress or anxiety, skipped meals, alcohol use, eye strain, weariness or lack of sleep, exposure to smoke, and drug withdraws. Migraine pain can occur as a result of consuming certain foods, such as those containing MSG, as well as chocolate and dairy products.
1. Nissan GR, Diamond ML. Advances in migraine treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005;105(4)(suppl 2):9S-15S.
Common Headache Symptoms
Symptoms of headaches will vary by the degree and type of headache. For instance, a tension headache produces a dull, achy pressure on the temples, forehead and scalp. Tension headaches can also produce difficulty in sleeping and concentrating. Cluster headaches, on the other hand,are characterized by debilitating pain on one side of the head. Cluster headaches often produce a watery eye and nasal congestion on the same side of the face that is experiencing pain.
Common Migraine Symptoms
Symptoms of migraines vary from person to person, but they are often accompanied with severe pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine pain can be extremely debilitating.
Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down. - Mayo Clinic on severe migraine pain
Other common symptoms of migraines include dull to sever throbbing near the back of the head or around the eye, blurred vision,difficulty concentrating, and numbing or tingling sensations. Some patients have even reported intense neck pain accompanying their migraine attack. Migraine symptoms can last anywhere between a few hours to a few days.
Chronic Migraine Information
Living half the month with debilitating headaches:
Practical clinical criteria define Chronic Migraine as headache that occurs 15 or more days a month with headache lasting 4 hours or longer for at least 3 consecutive months in people with current or prior diagnosis of migraine. (1) By this definition, people with Chronic Migraine are spending half their month living with debilitating headaches. In a study of 520 Chronic Migraine patients, 80% were not properly diagnosed. (2) If you have 15 or more headache days per month, you should definitely see a doctor and talk about Chronic Migraine. There are options for treatment once diagnosed.
How many people have Chronic Migraine?
Based on findings from a recent publication summarizing global Chronic Migraine prevalence rates, there are approximately 3.2 million Americans, mostly women,suffering from Chronic Migraine. (3,4) This was determined by taking the publications Chronic Migraine prevalence rate and applying it to 2010 US population estimates for those 18 or more years of age (n = 234,504,070). (4)
Life with Chronic Migraine:
People with Chronic Migraine experience a greater impact on their lives than people who have a lower frequency of migraine. (2,5) Over a 3-month period, people with Chronic Migraine are more likely than those with episodic migraine to miss 5 or more days of: work or school, household work, and family activities. (2)
In order to alleviate a headache, the source must be explored and remedied. There are numerous treatments options available for headache and migraine pain. The pain specialists at Advanced Pain Care will seek out the source of the discomfort & treat it accordingly. We look forward to relieving your pain. As we always say, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
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1. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(suppl 1):9-160.
2. Bigal ME, Serrano D, Reed M, Lipton RB. Chronic migraine in the population: burden, diagnosis, and satisfaction with treatment. Neurology. 2008;71(8):559-566.
3. Natoli JL, Manack A, Dean B, et al. Global prevalence of chronic migraine: a systematic review. Cephalalgia. 2010;30(5):599-609.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Census projections request. CDC WONDER website. http://wonder.cdc.gov/population-projections.html. Accessed December 12, 2011.
5. Buse DC, Manack A, Serrano D, Turkel C, Lipton RB. Sociodemographic and comorbidity profiles of chronic migraine and episodic migraine sufferers. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2010;81(4):428-432.