Do you have a throbbing sensation on only one side of your head or
neck? Do you feel pain in your sinuses or is the pain more generalized
throughout your entire head? Are your eyes sensitive to bright light? By
answering these and other question about the source and symptoms of your
headache, you and your physician will be able to uncover the type of
headache you have and which treatment or medication will work best.
Finding the best treatment option for you or your care recipient includes,
going into a doctorís appointment prepared with details about your
headache. It is becoming increasingly essential to have this information
readily available for your doctor given todayís time limitations on
Unknown to many, there are basically three categories a headache can
fall under: Tension-type, Vascular, or Organically caused, according to
the National Headache Foundation fact sheet.
Tension-type- An ache located where the head and neck muscles meet.
There are two kinds of tension-type headaches, episodic and chronic.
Episodic tension-headache is recurrent headache episodes lasting
minutes to days. The pain is typically pressing or tightening with
mild to moderate intensity, bilateral in location and is not made
worse with routine physical activity. Chronic tension-type headaches
are present for at least 15 days per month for at least 6 months. The
pain is typically pressing or tightening with mild to moderate
intensity, bilateral in location, and is not made worse with routine
Vascular- The headache category that includes, migraines and
cluster headaches, and is thought to involve abnormal function of the
brain's blood vessels or vascular system. Symptoms of migraine
headaches include: vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light and
Organically-caused- Evidence that a more serious complication
exists such as: a tumor or infection. The pain is mostly dull and
general in quality and can last anywhere from a short to long period
Before going to see your physician, The National Headache Foundation
recommends keeping a diary about you or your care recipientís headaches.
If you or your care recipient is currently seeking treatment for your
headache, record that information as well. The diary should include
specific details about your headache including:
Information about your headache and general medical history.
Record and track the attacks and what you did to treat them,
Symptoms (i.e. vomiting or pain between eyes)
Triggers (i.e. after you ate chocolate)
Impact on your life (i.e. amount of days lost at work)
Record what medication you took (i.e. over-the-counter sinus
Write down when you took the medication
If it was effective in relieving pain or symptoms
How long the medication worked
By learning the triggers and patterns of your headache, you will feel
more in control and less of a slave to pain. It will also enable you and
your doctor to prescribe the best treatment option for you or your care
recipient. Advances in biofeedback, relaxation, and other preventative
techniques offer migraine sufferers a means to prevent a headache rather
than just treat one after itís onset.
Information was provided by the National Institute of Health and the
National Headache Foundation.
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