Health Conditions

Migraine and Headaches

A woman suffering from severe migraines and headaches

Up to one-quarter of the population has a migraine headache at some time, and about 10 percent have it regularly. A headache is defined as pain in the head or upper neck. It is one of the most common locations of pain in the body and, like chest pain or dizziness, has many causes.

The most common headaches are likely caused by tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw. These are called tension headaches. They are often related to stress, depression, or anxiety.

Types of Headaches

Migraine headaches are severe headaches that usually occur with other symptoms such as visual disturbances or nausea. The pain may be described as throbbing, pounding, or pulsating. It tends to begin on one side of your head, although it may spread to both sides.

The classic migraine begins with a warming “aura” – flashing lights in one eye, blurring, blind spots, distortion of vision, and tingling of the arms or face. After about 30-60 minutes, the headache begins, usually on one side but sometimes all over. It is a pounding, excruciating pain which usually lasts for four to six hours.

All sorts of things may trigger attacks. Common ones include food – alcohol in general and red wine in particular, chocolate and caffeine; fasting: stress – strong emotional reactions and fatigue; changes in the weather or altitude; hormonal changes, such as those caused by menstruation or taking birth control pills.

Cluster headaches happen frequently – daily or several times a week – for weeks or months and then stop for months. They last about an hour, and the pain is almost exclusively on one side of the head, often around or behind the eye. It is so severe that sufferers often run around in despair and may even commit suicide.

The common “tension headaches” nearly everyone gets sometimes are caused by involuntary tensing of the face and neck muscles over a long period, usually after concentrating hard or because of stress. The pain is a steady ache, which can last for hours or days, around the back of the head and neck, in the forehead, and around the eyes. Tension headaches tend to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. The pain may feel dull or squeezing, like a tight band or vice. Your shoulders, neck, or jaw may feel tight and sore. The pain is usually persistent but does not get worse with activity.

Most headaches can be resolved as soon as the cause has been correctly pinpointed.  At our Clearwater clinic, we take great care to help you with remedies that will allow you to be headache free.

For more information, please call us at 727-466-6789.

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