If you suffer from regular headaches, you'll know how disruptive they can be to your daily life. Chronic headaches can run in families, and headaches can be triggered by stress, illness and environmental pollutants, such as household chemicals, harsh lighting and secondhand smoke. Different types of headache come with their own sets of symptoms, and treatment needs to be tailored to the type of headache being experienced. Read on to learn about the treatment options for two common types of headache.
Cluster headaches tend to occur several times a day for a period of several days. Each headache can last from a few minutes to several hours and can cause an intense pain behind or to the side of one eye. The pain caused by this type of headache can prevent you from being able to focus on anything else during an episode, and some sufferers will pace the floor during a cluster headache. The affected eye can also become red and the eyelid may droop.
Treatment for cluster headaches needs to be fast-acting due to the often-short period of time each headache in a cluster lasts. Pain medication in the form of a nasal spray can be useful, and triptans are often prescribed to be taken at the first sign of a cluster headache episode. Triptans belong to a group of drugs known as serotonin receptor agonists, and they work by dampening down overactive pain nerves and reversing the chemical reaction in your brain that causes you to experience pain. Your doctor can also prescribe certain blood pressure medications to be used as preventative drugs for cluster headaches.
Migraine headaches can last from a few hours to several days, and you may experience them occasionally or several times a month. The pain caused by this type of headache can be debilitating, and sufferers often have other symptoms alongside the pain, such as nausea, sensitivity to light and visual disturbances.
Triptans can be used to treat migraines in the same way they are used for cluster headaches, and your doctor may also prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory to be taken at the first sign of a migraine. When you experience chronic, persistent migraines, your doctor will work with you to try and find an effective preventative treatment that reduces the number and severity of migraine headaches you experience. They may prescribe muscle relaxants, anti-depressants or blood pressure drugs, all of which can alter pain pathways in your brain. There are also a few hand-held devices that offer drug-free pain relief for some migraine sufferers. These devices are placed on your head and use electrical or magnetic pulses to stimulate nerves linked with migraines and can switch off pain receptors for a period of time.
If you'd like more information on headache treatments, contact your doctor.Share