Headaches

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Headaches

Overview:

Headaches are one of the most common medical conditions that most people undergo at some point in their life. They affect everybody irrespective of their gender, race or age. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, about half of the people in the world experience a headache annually. Although they are a common menace to people, they remain neglected. Having a headache that is ongoing can hinder your boy from functioning well, family crisis and sex life issues. A headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. Despite the advancement in the medical field, headaches are underdiagnosed and are ineffectively treated. Over the past two decades, there has been great research and understanding on the different categories of headaches. According to various proven reports, headaches are mainly caused by biological factors rather than psychological factors. It is possible for headaches to be a symptom of other serious medical conditions, therefore it’s important to seek medical advice if they become more regular, severe or persistent.

What are the 3 most common procedures to help treat headaches?

While many patients can take medications, these may not be the only solution and often may not fix the headache. Good thing for patients is that there are 3 types of injections that could very readily help solve headaches sooner and faster than before.

  1. Occipital nerve block
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks or aka, SPG block
  • Botox for headaches

Treatments:

Occipital nerve block

An Occipital nerve block is a steroid injection or other medication around the lesser and greater occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area. The injected steroid medication helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation of the tissues around the occipital nerves. This will minimize the pain and other accompanying symptoms that are caused by twitching and irritation of the nerve around the area. Typically, headaches near the back of the head, which also include certain types of migraine headaches and tension headaches may respond to occipital nerve blocks. An Occipital nerve block only takes a few minutes for the procedure to be completed. After the procedure, patients report that the pain they had reduced or had disappeared completely.

Most primary headaches as mentioned above occur because of the abnormal pain increase in the brainstem. The Occipital nerve block Helps in reducing traffic in the Occipital nerve, so the unusual increase in the trigeminal nucleus is reduced, minimizing the symptoms of a migraine and other primary headaches. This mode of treatments not only works with pain at the back of the head but also pain at the front of the head.

Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks/SPG block

A chronic migraine and severe headaches are common conditions, and the available treatments are not universally effective. A proposed treatment option is blocking the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve by applying topical anesthetic intranasally. The Sphenopalatine Ganglion (SPG) is a group of nerve cells that is linked to the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is highly involved in headaches and sometimes facial pain. There are multiple methods of delivering SPG Blocks, but most are minimally invasive. Cluster Headaches are especially sensitive to treatment with the SPG Block. SPG Blocks are so effective for Cluster Headache that many consider them the first treatment of choice. In addition to Cluster Headaches, they are also very effective for treating Migraine. Traditionally there have been three methods of performing the Sphenopalatine ganglion block.

  • The transnasal technique which is the simple and invasive way done by is performed inserting a cotton swab saturated in a local anesthetic such as lidocaine.
  • Lateral approach in which the local anesthetics are injected into the Sphenopalatine ganglion through the joint of the jaw
  • Greater palatine foramen method the medications are injected through the roof of the mouth by inserting a needle through the greater palatine foramen, a small opening for the descending palatine vessels and greater palatine nerve.

Botox for headaches

Botox has become an increasingly popular option for migraines over the last few years, as it provides much-needed relief for those who suffer from the debilitating headaches. Botox is a purified and diluted form of botulinum toxin which works to minimize migraines by hindering the release of chemicals in the muscle cells that transfer the signal to muscle fibers. Botox for headaches are always administered after every twelve weeks and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger. Botox for headaches is only administered to patients who don’t respond to other treatments or have at least 14 headaches a month. Botox for headaches is a quick, in-office procedure.

Types of headaches:

It is essential for you to be aware which the type of a headache that is causing your pain. Having information about the type of headache, you can find the best treatment type for it. There are numerous types of headaches. The most common types are:

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. This headache makes you feel like there is a bad that is squeezing your head especially are the temples or back of the neck and head. Sometimes they are connected with shoulder and neck stiffness. They have mild to moderate pain and are not associated with symptoms. They are not as severe as migraines hence they do not result in vomiting or nausea or hinder your daily working routine. This type of headache can either be chronic, that is they are regular or daily, and they can be episodic, meaning they come a few times. Having a prescription for over the counter drugs is enough to treat them. This includes medication like ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin. Experts believe that they result from contraction of scalp and neck muscles and a shift in brain chemicals.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are referred as one of the most painful types of headaches. They result in intense and excruciating pain on one side of the head close to the eye. They are accompanied by nasal congestion and watery eye or a running nose on the same side of the face. Pain comes on suddenly and can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours. During this time, patients will feel restless and unable find a good position to relax. They may lie down similar to a patient with migraine. Cluster headaches occur in more in men which is six times than that of ladies, and they attack in a cluster as the name suggests. They occur in cycles of weeks to months and then progress for months to years. This type of headaches is less common affecting 1 in 1000 people. People first started to experience this type of headache in their 20s. The cause of cluster headaches has not been verified. However, they are thought to be a genetic component. There is no cure, but medication can cut the frequency and duration.

Sinus headaches

Sinus is a different kind of headache than the mentioned types of headaches. They are mostly caused by sinusitis or the common cold. Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the sinus which are air-filled areas behind the forehead, bones, nasal eyes and cheeks. They can also result from bacteria and viruses. It usually portrays itself accompanied with a fever and can be indicated by symptoms or the availability of pus which can be seen through a fiber optic scope. Some of the symptoms of this type of a headache are a constant and deep pain I the forehead, cheekbone, fever, swelling of the face, runny nose or the gap between the nostrils. This type f headache is typically from a sinus infection having a green or yellow nasal discharge which is different from the discharge from a migraine or cluster. Headaches due to sinus infection can be treated with antibiotics, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.

Migraine headaches

This type of headache is featured by deep pounding and throbbing of the head. This is most cases happens on one side of the head. Migraine headaches can have symptoms such as visual impairment or hand numbness. This however does not appear to all patients as studies prove that is occurs in about 20 percent of the people. Other common symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach upset, sensitivity to sound and light. Dizziness and many more. When a child is experiencing this type of headache, he or she may feel dizzy, look pale, have fever and blurry eyes. When a child has a migraine, she may look pale, feel dizzy, and have blurry vision, fever, and an upset stomach. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually happen one to four times per month. It is important to note that migraines can run in the family and can be diagnosed using the criteria listed below.

  • Lasting between 4–72 hours
  • At least five previous episodes of headaches
  • At least one associated feature: nausea and vomiting, or, if those are not present, the sensitivity to light and sound
  • At least two out of these four: one-sided pain, throbbing pain, moderate-to-severe pain, and pain that interferes with, is worsened by or prohibits routine activity

Rebound headaches

Rebound headaches are no very common, but they may occur to a person who at all times uses painkiller for headaches. This medication includes the counter prescriptions like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin. One fact in science is that too much medication can result in the brain getting into an uncomfortable state increasing the chances of headaches. Another is that rebound headaches are a symptom of withdrawal as the level of medicine drops in the bloodstream.

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