Causes and Treatments for Headaches and Migraines

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Headaches are an extremely common condition patients seek treatment for with a prevalence in the general population of 48.9%.  Headaches affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic status.

 Headache types are characterized by the symptoms associated with them and classic pain pattern.  Some of the most common headaches are Tension Headaches characterized by a squeezing feeling or band around the head, and Migraines that cause severe throbbing pain and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity lasting from hours to days.

So what causes headaches? Some common causes of headache include food triggers, allergies to foods and medications, lack of sleep or changes in sleep habits, fatigue, stress, and changes in eating habits.

One of the most under recognized sources of headaches are caused by cervical spine conditions that cause pain and may involve ligament, tendon, joint, disc, and/or musculoskeletal source of pain. Evaluation should start with a thorough physical examination, and MRI may be needed to rule out disc herniation or other more serious but rare source of pain.

Treatment of Headaches varies widely and includes medications for mild headaches that include anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen to neuropathic and rescue medication for Migraines.  A newer Migraine treatment that decreases Migraine frequency and severity by 50% or more is Botox injections for migraines.  This involves a series of multiple small injections around the head/ scalp every three months that relaxes muscles that trigger migraines, eliminating or significantly reducing the recurrence.

Cervical spine conditions can be addressed with different treatment methods depending upon the condition may include cervical epidural, joint injections and reconstructive injections including Platelet Rich Plasma or Bone Marrow Aspiration Concentrate that treat many spine sources of pain.   

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