Common Causes of Headaches and Ways to Treat Your Pain

Headaches are a very common ailment, one that most people experience from time to time over their lifetime. Headaches typically go away on their own after a period, but chronic headaches can be excruciating and persistent and disrupt normal activities.

 There are over 300 different types of headaches, but only about 10% of those headaches have a cause that can be identified. The causes can include environmental triggers, medication reactions, and several other conditions. Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the headache.

At Spinal Diagnostics, with offices in Tualatin and Newberg, Oregon, our team of highly experienced and compassionate doctors provides their patients with the latest treatment options for pain management. Dr. Robert HerosDr. Jason Anderson, and Physician Assistant Tyler Huntington understand how debilitating chronic pain can be. They provide you with a diagnosis and treatments that allow you to manage your pain and return to your life. 

Types of headaches

The most common types of headaches are tension headaches, cluster headaches, and thunderclap headaches. Tension headaches are the most familiar, with a dull aching on both sides of the head. Cluster and thunderclap headaches cause much more severe pain in focused areas and typically require medical intervention.

Though many people think of migraines as headaches, they are more accurately described as neurological conditions. Migraine sufferers do typically experience severe headaches as one of their symptoms. For medication management of migraine headaches, we usually refer patients to a neurologist.

Common causes of Headaches

Headaches can be caused by your body reacting to foods, drinks, and medications you consume, environmental factors, and experiences such as:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Intense stress
  • Pollution
  • Withdrawal from caffeine
  • Loud noises or bright lights
  • Changes in the weather
  • Reaction to alcohol or withdrawal
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Extreme physical exertion

The best treatment for your headache is determined by what is causing the headache. Our doctors thoroughly examine you, order any necessary tests, and talk to you about what you are experiencing before determining your diagnosis. We consider the following treatments

Treatment for headaches

Our doctors provide you with a diagnosis for your headache before offering you treatment options that help relieve your pain. Some of the options include lifestyle changes, over the counter medications, and prescription medications.

Lifestyle changes

If the cause of your headaches is something that you encounter in your daily life, then a lifestyle change might alleviate your pain and prevent future headaches. If your headaches are caused by stress, poor sleep, loud noises, or extreme physical exertion, you may need to find ways to alleviate these sources of distress. 

Over the counter medications

For some people, over the counter medications are an effective treatment for headaches, providing adequate relief. These can include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. It’s important to always follow the dosage information on the labels of these medications. If you find you need more than is directed on the label, you should seek professional treatment for your symptoms.

Prescription medications

If over the counter medications don’t adequately relieve your pain, then prescription medications might be needed. Your doctor will base his prescription and dosing directions on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms. Depending on how effective it is, you may need to have those adjusted to get enough relief. 

Cervical facet joint injections/cervical medial branch blocks/cervical radiofrequency ablation

We recommend cervical facet joint injections, cervical medial branch blocks, and cervical radiofrequency ablation as effective treatment options for patients who are experiencing facet joint mediated pain. Chronic headaches that occur after a whiplash injury often are caused by pain that involves the upper cervical facet joints.

Occipital nerve blocks

You may not have heard of your occipital nerve, but it is responsible for most of what you feel in the back and top of your head. If this nerve becomes irritated, it can cause severe pain that typically starts in the back of the head on one side. To treat this type, called a cervicogenic headache, we typically consider occipital nerve blocks, which involves injecting medications into your occipital nerves.

Headaches can be painful and debilitating, interrupting your normal daily activities. Many environmental factors and lifestyle factors could be the cause of your headaches. We provide you with treatment options to give you relief from your pain and allow you to return to your normal activities. 

If you are experiencing headaches or some other type of pain, call our office or use our online booking tool to set up an appointment.

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