Headache pain
May 5, 2017 | by The Polyclinic

Tolerating a constant headache doesn’t have to be part of your every day normal. Whether it’s a debilitating migraine or a less painful but still frequent pain, there is usually a trigger, which means there is most likely a solution.

However, sometimes it can be harder to identify on your own. Working closely with your doctor, you can develop a treatment plan to help you stay active in your normal activities without the pain and inconvenience of a headache.

What are common triggers of a headache?

  • Stress. Changes in cortisol and adrenaline can lead to symptoms of a headache. For tips on reducing stress, try practicing mindfulness, which can help with managing chronic pain.
  • Hormones. Fluctuating hormones, especially around a woman’s menstrual period, can lead to a headache.
  • Temperature changes. Changes in barometric pressure, humidity, altitude and winds can spur symptoms.
  • Lack of sleep. Lower levels of serotonin, often associated with insomnia, can trigger the trigeminal nerve, spurring migraines and inflammation. Check out these tips for better sleep.
  • Light exposure. The glare or effects of bright lights and sun can also trigger the trigeminal nerve, resulting in headache pain.

When to see a doctor for a migraine or headache?

  • Your headaches are increasing in frequency.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs do not improve your pain.
  • You experience disruption in normal activities like working, sleeping or playing.

Different Types of Headaches

No headache fits all. There are multiple types of headaches.

  • Tension headache. A constant type pain around the forehead or back of the head. Pain and tenderness can be apparent around the scalp or shoulder muscles.
  • Sinus headache. When your sinus cavities are inflamed, pain and pressure can result around your nose, eyes, forehead and cheeks.
  • Migraine headache. Lasting anywhere from an hour to 72 hours, migraines can cause severe pain, often one side of the head. The pain can shift to the face and sinuses, which can make the signs and symptoms of a sinus headache, feel similar.

What kind of doctor do I see?

You can share your initial symptoms with your primary care physician. They may refer you to neurologist. A neurologist is a specially trained doctor in treating headaches.