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Headache unit

Why does my head hurt?

Headaches are one of the most common complaints in GP surgeries. Different types of headaches occur in almost every second person in the world.

All headaches are divided into:

1) In the case of primary headaches, the cause of the pain cannot be found by examination, analysis or additional radiological examination. These headaches are the most common and sometimes have a significant impact on a person’s life, but are not life-threatening. This group includes migraines, tension-type headaches, and a few others.

2) Secondary headaches are associated with another illness. They can be caused by frostbite or cervical spondylosis or after alcohol consumption, but also by head injury, cerebral haemorrhage, inflammation of the meninges.

The doctor’s first task is to determine what type of headache they are, because treatment tactics vary.

Pain is important for survival because it warns that something is wrong with the body. If the headache is bothersome and the cause cannot be determined, you should definitely see a doctor to see if the headache is a warning symptom of any other illness.

The purpose of the headache unit is to investigate and treat patients with complex headaches and facial pain. The unit employs experienced specialists in their field, who take care of various headache patients on a daily basis.

At the doctor’s visit, the headache patient is purposefully examined and questioned about the characteristic features of the headache and their frequency and intensity. Questions are also being asked about other illnesses, as various chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, and others, can exacerbate headaches. Frequent exacerbations of side effects also exacerbate headaches and require careful treatment. In most cases, no additional tests or analyzes are required to diagnose a headache, but in some cases a specialist may recommend one.

In general, the most common primary headaches in the world are migraine and tension-type headaches.

Migraine usually occurs with moderate to severe recurrent headache episodes lasting 4-72 hours. More often the headache is one-sided, mostly in the thighs, the sides of the headache can change, the whole head can also hurt. Headaches are throbbing and are accompanied by dislike of sound, light, smell. Headaches can be accompanied by nausea, even vomiting. Migraine headaches are usually exacerbated by daily movements such as climbing stairs or shaking your head. Some migraine sufferers have peculiar feelings before headaches, such as visual, speech, sensory disturbances, such migraine accompanying symptoms are called migraine aura; these symptoms may also be associated with serious neurological diseases and should therefore be given increased attention.

Tension-type headaches are often mild to moderate, pressurized in nature and are usually even on both sides of the head – in the areas of the udder, forehead or occiput; the duration of the headache episode is from 30 minutes to 7 days. Tension-type headaches are rarely accompanied by dislike of sound, light, and are not characterized by nausea or vomiting. During tension-type headaches, it is often possible to continue daily activities.

It should be borne in mind that a person may suffer from several types of headaches at the same time, such as rare migraine episodes, but more frequent tension-type headaches, in which case the doctor will usually diagnose both at the same time. In addition to the headaches mentioned above, there are many different types of headaches, but to find out more precisely what headaches are bothering you, you should consult a headache specialist or an algologist (pain doctor).

Headache treatment

Adherence to a daily routine is important in the life of headache patients – a balanced rhythm of work and rest, regular meals and enough water. Walking, physical activities have a beneficial effect, which will not only help maintain a healthy physical body, but also increase a person’s resistance to pain stimuli and stress.

The choice of medication depends on the type of headache and the experience of previous medication, as well as on the existing co-morbidities.

There are two types of medical treatment for headaches

Treats a single headache attack. These are usually painkillers / anti-inflammatory drugs that are recommended to be used within 20-30 minutes of the onset of pain. Most of these products are available without a prescription, but it is recommended that you take them in consultation with your doctor and no more than 3 times a week.

Prophylactic drugs. These are different groups of medicines, some of which were originally developed to treat other diseases, but are used to treat common headaches, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants or medicines to lower blood pressure. The doctor prescribes them for use on a day, according to a set schedule. The new generation of preventive treatments for migraines is also available in Latvia. Their need and use should always be discussed with a headache specialist. Prophylactic headache treatments are prescribed to reduce the severity, frequency and length of migraine attacks in general. The main goal of prophylactic treatment for headaches is to make the additional medicines used during an individual headache attack work better and faster.

In addition to medications, various dietary supplements and herbal remedies can be used for headache prevention, and these remedies are usually used as a course for 1-4 months, 1-2 times a year. Those supplements that could relieve headaches are magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D3, coenzyme Q10.