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For some, headaches are an infrequent inconvenience, but for many, they are a common occurrence that can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating.
Sinus and tension headaches can leave you feeling fatigued and frustrated, and sinus headaches in particular can be difficult to treat or prevent.
Migraine headaches are commonly described as a throbbing or pulsing pain, often on one side of the head.
This pain can be so severe as to create a sensitivity to light and sound and may even result in vomiting. Migraines can be triggered by even the slightest environmental irritations such as strong odors or loud noises, or other triggers such as a skipped meal, lack of sleep or even stress. Certain products like yogurt, bananas, red wine, beer, aged cheese, and buttermilk can also trigger migraines. Women who suffer from this condition frequently report experiencing migraines before or during their monthly cycle due to the shifting of hormones. According the February 2010 issue of the journal Neurology, migraine sufferers are more likely to report a history of heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery disease. Other risks include impaired judgment and vision that are often associated with migraines and cluster headaches. Your doctor may request a CT scan, blood work and urinalysis to rule out any other factors that may be causing your migraines. Because migraines can be triggered by a variety of stimuli, they can be effectively prevented by avoiding certain situations, foods like cheese and alcohol, and activities that may trigger or worsen a headache. Cluster headaches are considered to be the most painful type of headache and get their name due to the nature of their occurrence, typically coming in clusters of 30 to 90 minutes and sometimes re-occurring several times throughout the same day.
It is not completely clear why cluster headaches occur, but alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking appear to be significant factors in patients who suffer from these headaches.
Cluster headaches and migraines are often treated with oxygen breathed in through a mask, paired with a Prophylactic like Prednisone, an Ergotamine like Wigraine or Dihydroergotamine, an injection that patients can administer themselves. Calcium Channel Blocks like Calan and Verelan or even Lithium can be prescribed to prevent migraines and cluster headaches. Tension headaches are commonly described as a band of tightness or pain that can radiate up from the neck, throughout the jaw and is often accompanied by fatigue. Tension headaches are often caused by emotional of physical stress, poor posture, squinting due to poor lighting, jaw or teeth alignment issues, arthritis and even environmental factors like noise. While doctors may prescribe a muscle relaxer for chronic problems, over-the-counter pain medications are often enough to relieve the pain of tension headaches. Tension headaches can be prevented through exercise, stress reduction, proper diet and by getting adequate sleep.
Practices like yoga and meditation can help to loosen tight muscles and focus the mind, reducing physical and emotional stress. Rebound headaches are often re-occurring migraines and tension headaches and will exhibit the same symptoms as these conditions. Patients stop taking the medication, which causes the body to go into almost a withdrawal type response, causing a rebound headache.
Many of these medications contain caffeine which can also trigger a rebound headache, especially if you are consuming additional caffeine through food or beverages. Rebound headaches can be prevented by only taking over-the-counter medications as needed and by following the dosage instructions carefully. Sinus headaches are described as pain or painful pressure in the face, usually the cheeks, forehead and between the eyes.
Sinus headaches are often the result of an infection or a general build-up of mucus in the Frontal and Maxillary cavities and the Ethmoid sinus cells.


Frequent sinus headaches can be a sign of a chronic problem called Sinusitis that, if severe enough, may need to be addressed with surgery. If you are suffering from frequent sinus headaches, you should consult a doctor to rule out an infection. There are medications available on the market today that have been designed to prevent headaches. Reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight with exercise, meditation or other relaxation methods, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.
Keep healthy snacks at hand to reduce the risk of headaches that may be the result of a drop in blood sugar and avoid foods that trigger headaches. If you are experiencing frequent headaches or feel that they may be migraines or cluster headaches, consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
At your first visit, your doctor will ask a series of questions relating to the frequency of the headaches, any factors that may be accompanying them such as stress or certain foods you ate, how you treated the headache and whether or not the treatment was effective. Your doctor may request a CT scan, blood work, urinalysis, a lumbar puncture or spinal tap to rule out any other conditions.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen can often provide effective pain relief to most types of headaches, but may only work in a temporary or limited capacity for more severe headaches. You can also find a variety of migraine specific pain relievers on the market that may provide some relief. Over-the-counter medications containing caffeine can offer relief as it helps the body absorb medications that combat pain and can increase the effectiveness of regular medication by up to 40%. If your headaches are the result of a brain trauma such as an AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation) or an aneurism which are both detectable through CT Scans, surgery may also be required.
Physical Therapy can be very beneficial to those suffering from almost any type of headache.
Physical Therapy often deals with correcting muscle issues and can provide a lot of relief, especially to those dealing with tension headaches, clusters or migraines. Note: essential oils can irritate the skin, so you may want to put the cloth in a plastic bag before applying to the head.
The frequency and severity of cluster and migraine headaches may be reduced with the help of herbal remedies like Feverfew, Melatonin, Magnesium and Vitamin B2. Exercise can also provide relief for some types of headaches, especially tension headaches. My name is Kim Wang and this site is my work in progress helping to pass on some of the things my mother has taught me over the years.
As A Massage Therapist I can relate to the people that come in with a painful headache due to stress or sinus pressure. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Those who are suffering from the excruciating pain of migraines or cluster headaches often miss work, school and social gatherings due to the extent of the pain, and the side effects that can accompany that pain. Often, those suffering from these headaches may attempt to self-medicate, and doing so unsuccessfully can lead to rebound headaches.
Those suffering from these side effects should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery, especially if they are taking prescribed medications that may cause drowsiness. Your doctor may also ask that you keep a headache diary to document how often they occur and how severe your headaches are, as well as any foods you may have consumed prior to getting the headache. While caffeine is often an ingredient in headache remedies, too much caffeine can also trigger a headache.
Triptans like Imitrex or Zomig are widely used and effective drugs that have few side effects.


Occasionally, when these medications do not work, doctors sometimes prescribe anti-seizure medications like Topamax or Depacon. If you have been in a car accident or have suffered any sort of physical trauma, you may experience tension headaches. A massage can also sooth and loosen tight muscles that are contributing to the pain, and if severe enough or perhaps the result of a physical trauma, may require physical therapy. Even activities like gardening, reading, painting, knitting or anything that provides a level of relaxation can reduce stress and ward off tension headaches. When a patient has been taking a pain reliever, often an over-the-counter type remedy that never quite does the trick, they have a tendency to take more than is prescribed.
If your rebound headaches are the result of taking narcotics or medications containing a sedative, you may need to go through a monitored detoxification process.
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, use of these medications should be limited to once or twice a week, and if you are taking a medication containing caffeine, you should avoid consuming additional caffeine through food and drink. Doctors may also prescribe vasoconstrictors to alleviate congestion, corticosteroids to decrease inflammation, and decongestants to constrict blood vessels and relieve pain. Your doctor may talk to you about developing a routine to keep the sinuses clear which may include irrigation of the sinus cavities.
Whether it is through medication or taking control of environmental, behavioral and lifestyle choices, headaches can be greatly reduced and even eliminated. Patients take these pills either daily, or at certain times of the month that the headaches typically occur.
Even activities like reading, gardening, playing with your children or pets can provide stress relief and reduce tension headaches. He may also ask you to keep a headache diary to document when your next headaches occur and what environmental, behavioral or life style factors may be contributing. Be sure to take these medications on a limited basis and follow instructions carefully to avoid rebound headaches. Patients who notice frequent headaches that seem to accompany the consumption of caffeine should eliminate it from their diet. This process can be unpleasant and may cause the headache to become more severe, or increase the frequency, before you find relief. If the problem is severe enough, surgery may be required to scrape out the clogged cavities. Because allergies can cause headaches that are associated with sinus congestion, you may be prescribed a medication to help protect against any allergens. These types of drugs are often prescribed for women suffering from the headaches that can occur as a result of hormonal changes.
Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to a warm, damp cloth and apply to the head. Sprinkle a few drops of these essential oils in a bath, on a pillow or bedpost and breathe deeply to reap the calming and pain reducing benefits. While allergies can lead to clogged sinuses, causing headache pain, each condition must be addressed separately, as treating one will not cure the other.



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