Chronic persistent headaches can be very debilitating making many unable to function affecting personal lives, productivity and being a common cause for emergency room visits. Many people resort to medications like Tylenol further jeopardizing their health. Health practitioners are often of not much help for if their were, we would have no more headaches.
The International Classification of Headaches Disorders by International Headaches Society manage to use entire 8 pages just to list different type of headaches and almost 200 pages for diagnostic criteria. Also, the vast majority of headaches is classified as idiopathic meaning the cause is not known. No wonder there is so much confusion about headaches which doesn't help doctors nor suffering patients.
In practical terms chronic headaches are not that complicated and I can say it after years of clinical experience treating patients with headaches. Also, we never label any clinical problem "idiopathic". Chronic headaches have their causes which most of the time can be identified and successfully treated without the use of mind damming prescription medications.
Also, different headaches often overlap in their clinical manifestation and character and one type off headache me be a trigger for another. For example, migraine headache can be started as a benign tension or sinus headaches. If we can control the other two, we control migraine.
For the sake of practicality we have simplified the classification and treatment of headaches and it works great for our patients.
The most common types of headaches are listed below.
Migraine headaches are often associated with systemic symptoms such as nausea, visual, auditory or neurological aura, photophobia or even seizures. These symptoms are what makes migraine headaches so unbearable and cause a person unable to function or even think clearly.
Migraine headaches require a triggers to develop which often is another type of headache such as sinus headache, cervicogenic headache (related to neck problems) or headache caused by high blood pressure. That's why migraine usually get worse when someone has sinus infection or suffer whiplash injury or blood pressure increases.
Other types of triggers include different foods and drinks that contain some vaso-active ingredients such as caffeine or casein present in dairy, nutritional deficiencies such low magnesium level, genetically modified foods, mercury toxicity, electromagnetic field exposure from cell phones or WiFi in susceptible individuals or poorly fitted eye glasses.
To treat migraine headaches effectively one need to identify triggers for the headaches. No doubt migraine headaches is a challenging field, however, with time and treatments we are successful almost all the time in the long term. This may require a change of habits and life style but it is well worth it if this come with improvement of headaches and overall health.
In acute headache situation when patient comes to our office with an existing headache, even severe, we can eliminate it within the duration of the office visit using our laser therapy and other treatments. This is one of the most rewarding part of our practice to see an amazed and happy patient who just recovered from severe migraine after spending 10 min in a treatment room.
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