Headaches are often more than an annoyance — when severe enough, they can be debilitating. So it’s no surprise that so many people are looking for ways to reduce or eliminate their headaches. Unfortunately, treatment for headaches is often misunderstood, mischaracterized or simply mishandled. Here are three things you must know about treating headaches:
- Treatments Vary by Type
There are essentially three kinds of headaches, and treatment plans should vary based on what kind you get. Vascular headaches include migraines and cluster headaches. Tension headaches have to do with tensed muscles, most often in the face and neck. And finally, there are secondary headaches brought on by some other health condition (sinus headaches are one example). So you should pay attention to other symptoms, as well. If you also get neck pain, it’s likely you have tension headaches. If you experience light sensitivity and often feel your headaches coming on, you might suffer from migraines.
- There’s More Than One Kind of Doctor
Seeing your primary care physician is never a bad move, since it’s important to get regular checkups anyway. But he or she may not actually be the practitioner best suited to treat your headaches. If you get tension headaches, for example, then seeing a local chiropractor is probably your best move (chiropractors, while best known for giving treatment for back pain, are neuromusculoskeletal experts and can treat everything from headaches to foot pain if they’re associated with nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones). By relieving muscle spasms in the neck, tension headaches can often be eliminated.
- Pills Can Cause More Problems
You’re probably used to taking aspirin or ibuprofen to deal with headaches. But what you probably don’t know is that these very drugs could be causing you more pain; these pills can start to actually induce headaches. These are called medication misuse headaches or analgesia-induced headaches. So simply popping over-the-counter medication is, at best, a short-term treatment for headaches if you’re not attempting to determine the underlying causes. If you’re frequently taking pills to combat headaches — and especially if you’re taking more than the recommended dosage — then you need to see a medical practitioner as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
Did you know these facts about treating headaches? Share your thoughts in the comments.