Management Of Headaches

Posted On Apr 20, 2022

Dr. Ajit Kumar Roy

Consultant - Neurology

Manipal Hospitals-Old airport Road, Bengaluru

Best Neurology Hospital in Bangalore

Management Of Headaches

Headaches/Migraine is one of the most common disorders seen every day in neurology clinics. Headaches are of various types and the type of your headache determines its management. 

If you are someone who suffers from headaches frequently, it is beneficial that you maintain a headache diary to understand the pattern and possible triggers for headaches. Keep track of your pain, symptoms, frequency, and potential triggers that will help the neurologist to manage your headaches in a better manner. 

What is Headache/Migraine?

Migraine is characterized as an episodic bout of pain lasting from 30 minutes to a couple of hours or for one to two days, present in either half of the head or the whole head and might occasionally involve the eyes and face as well. It may be described by the patient as throbbing or pulsating pain in the head. It is usually associated with vomiting, nausea, and blurring of vision commonly and sometimes symptoms like giddiness and tinnitus( ringing sound in the ears) may be present as well.

Types of headaches

There are over 150 types of headaches that an individual may experience. 

  1. Primary Headaches

There is no medical condition that causes these types of headaches. 

  • Cluster headaches

  • Tension headaches

  • Migraine

  1. Secondary Headaches

These headaches occur secondary to an underlying medical condition.

  • Head injury

  • High blood pressure

  • Infections

  • Sinusitis

  • Trauma

  • Tumours

  • Medication abuse

Cluster Headaches

The most severe type of headaches usually come in a group or in a cluster. Patients may experience cluster headaches usually in the spring or the fall. The frequency of the headaches is about one to eight times per day which may last for two weeks to three months. There may be intense pain with a burning or a stabbing sensation. The headache seems to be located behind one of the eyes and does not change sides. During the episode of pain, there may be redness of the eye on the side of the headache, hot flushes and lacrimation on the same side as the headache. Usually, these attacks can occur at the night during sleep. Patients may prefer to walk around or will be restless and active as this makes them feel better. 

Management of Cluster Headaches

Medical management involves:

  • Calcium channel blockers - verapamil

  • Antiepileptics- sodium valproate and topiramate

  • Antihypertensives- propranolol

  • Emergency management - oxygen inhalation and steroids ( IV and oral)

  • Surgical management - Occipital nerve block, DBS targeting the Hypothalamus, Sphenopalatine ganglion rhizotomy.

Tension Headaches

Patients may experience consistent headaches without any throbbing during tension headaches. The pain is usually on both sides of your head and gets worse on doing regular activities. The headache feels like a tight band around your head and is usually caused by stress. This type of headache lasts for about 30 minutes to a week. Usually, it is not associated with nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia. It might be present for around 15 days a month on a regular basis. 

Management of Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are easily managed with medicines that help relieve pain. Antidepressants are also used to manage chronic tension headaches. 

Prevention of these headaches includes removing the triggers. In this case, it is usually stress and hence identifying and managing your stress will help manage your tension headaches. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy that helps you manage stress and reduces the frequency and severity of your headaches. Other relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and muscle relaxation can help you manage your stress.

Lifestyle changes will also help prevent your tension headaches:

  • Avoid smoking

  • Exercise daily

  • Reduce your alcohol intake

  • Limit your caffeine and sugar intake

  • Eat healthy, nutritious, balanced meals

  • Get adequate sleep

Migraines

Migraine is usually seen in women more than men. Patients may experience pulsating pain that is moderate to severe and causes nausea, and vomiting an increased sensitivity to light and sound is also observed. 

Management of Migraine Headaches

Medication helps relieve the symptoms. But if you wish to prevent a migraine attack, understand your triggers, and avoid the triggers then visit the best neurology hospital in Bangalore near you.

 Management also includes the following:

  • Resting in a quiet, dark room will help reduce your trigger

  • Hot or cold compress your head and neck

  • Massage your head to relieve the pain

  • Preventive medicines are used to avoid a severe attack 

Takeaway

If you have a severe headache, irrespective of the type, consult the best neurologist in Bangalore right away. Understand your symptoms and discuss with your doctor to manage your headache efficiently.

 

Dr. Ajit Kumar Roy

Consultant - Neurology

Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road, Bangalore