Headaches can be caused by many factors, some of which are related to the head and brain and some of which are caused by other conditions. Determining the underlying cause of your headache symptoms is an important part of making sure you get the best treatment.
Headaches can be divided into four main types: tension headaches, traction headaches, inflammatory headaches and vascular headaches. Tension headaches are extremely common, and occur when muscles of the face, neck and upper back are repeatedly contracted, such as during periods of chronic stress and anxiety or as a result of poor posture. Inflammatory and traction headaches are most commonly caused by disorders like strokes or infections. Vascular headaches typically occur when blood flow is restricted. The most common type of vascular headache is a migraine, a severe type of headache that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraines also cause vision problems. Migraines occur more commonly in women, and they can cause pain on one or both sides of the head.
Cluster headaches are severe headaches that occur over a period of days or weeks then resolve for a period of time before recurring. Cluster headaches are extremely painful, and research suggests they're related to disorders in the central portion of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Before treatment begins, the type of headache must be diagnosed with a medical exam, health history and sometimes diagnostic tests. When headaches are chronic, preventive treatment may be recommended, including biofeedback, drug therapy, and lifestyle changes. Acute episodes are typically treated with medications aimed at blocking pain. Medications used in preventing headaches may include antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, medications that affect the way blood vessels constrict, and anti-convulsants.
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"Great visit with Dr. Kogan! She really focused on the reason for my symptoms, not just treating them as they happened. Very experienced and educated."