More on Headaches


Over the years I have written several articles on headaches. This is because there are so many types and causes of head pain that there is much to write about. Headaches remain one of the top three reasons why people go to the doctor.

The most common types of headaches are tension headaches and migraine headaches. Tension headaches are typically a constant squeezing-like pain around the head whereas a migraine headache has a throbbing or pulsating component. Many people believe the term migraine headache is used simply to describe a very severe headache. This is not the case. Migraines are a specific group of headaches which have a vascular cause and thus have a throbbing component. Compounding diagnosis, headaches of the same type can have many different causes. Cluster headaches are given their name based on the fact that the attacks of headache pain occur in clusters that may last several weeks to months. The head pain is agonizing and usually affects one side of the face, involving severe pain behind one of the eyes with associated nasal congestion and runny nose. Oddly, men tend to get these types of headaches more frequently than women.

In my office we address many migraine causes as well as tension headaches which are caused by brain based inabilities to perform appropriate eye movements. This becomes confusing for many patients as once you mention the eyes as a cause of headaches you inherently think to see an optometrist. In reality, optometrists are interested in the focusing ability of the eyes and in diseases of the eyes. Movement of the eyes to targets however is brain based and not typically assessed by eye doctors. This is an extremely overlooked cause of headaches as few practitioners have appropriate diagnostic equipment to evaluate brain based eye movements.

Additionally, many headaches are perpetuated through poor eating habits and deficient nutritional needs. This can easily be addressed by changing poor dietary habits in favor of better eating habits and thus augmenting nutrition. It is most unfortunate however that the vast majority of headaches are managed through inappropriate drug therapies, most all of which do not fix the underlying cause of headaches but rather are typically an opiate based drug prescribed to deal with symptoms.

Recent studies are uncovering more and more deficits associated with these-type drugs which can be extremely addictive and require increasing dosage to maintain any level of symptom control. If you suffer from headaches you would be well served to contact my office to schedule an appointment for a complete neurologic examination. For many, it is their last headache consult.