Headaches are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the doctor. Headaches can vary in intensity from dull to severe. They can last for a short while or can span over days. The majority of the time, headaches are not directly related to a neurological issue. There are hundreds of medical conditions that can cause headaches, which makes treating headaches difficult. For headache sufferers, finding relief can feel like a full time job. The team at NY Neurology Associates understands the frustration that can arise from chronic headaches and offers a number of treatment options to provide relief.
The first step in treating headache pain is to identify the root cause of the pain and to determine the type of headaches a person is experiencing. Each headache type has unique symptoms and unique treatments. The first step to identifying headaches is getting a detailed history of your headache experience. Expect questions about the frequency, location, and severity of your headaches. You’ll be asked what works to ease the pain of your headaches and what does not. Keeping a headache diary can help your pain management team to better understand what you’re experiencing.
Treating Headache Pain
Typically, pain management has a goal of completely stopping the pain a person is experiencing. With headaches, the approach is more complicated. The focus of pain management for headaches is to significantly reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of the headaches. Treatment options for headache pain include:
- Epidural injections
- Massage therapy
- Botox injections
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Pain medication
- Neurostimulation therapy
The exact course of treatment will depend on your specific medical needs. Pain management man include several of these methods in order to provide each patient with the level of support they need.
Often, people with serve chronic headaches have trouble managing their pain with over the counter medication. Because of this, frequent headaches are a major cause of individuals seeking help from a doctor. Headache injections are one tool a headache expert has to address the pain of frequent and reoccurring headaches.
There are a number of different headache injections available which provide different benefits based on a person’s unique needs:
Sumatriptan injections are used to treat migraine and cluster headaches. Sumatriptan injections work by narrowing blood vessels in the brain. Additionally, this medication can help to block the symptoms of migraine headaches, including vision changes.
The medication is self-injected just below the skin as soon as a person feels a headache coming on. If relief is not felt, a second dose may be given after an hour. Although this treatment is effective, it does not work the same way for everyone. If you do not experience relief with Sumatriptan, consult with your headache doctor.
Sumatriptan has a number of known side effects including upset stomach, drowsiness, and injection site pain.
Botox injections are often used on individuals who have 15 or more migraine headaches per month. A series of injections are given in the forehead, back of the head, and sides of the head. When administered for headaches, Botox is prescribed in 12 week increments. It is recommended that people try two treatments, a total of 24 weeks, before determining if Botox is decreasing the number of headaches a person has. It is not completely understood why Botox injections can prevent headaches. One belief is that Botox interferes with neurotransmitters that play a role in beginning a headache.
There are a number of side effects of Botox including dry mouth, headache, neck pain, blurred vision, and dry eyes. As with any medication, experienced side effects must be compared with the relief the medication provides.
Dihydroergotamine, commonly referred to as D.H.E. 45, works by narrowing the blood vessels in the brain and regulating blood flow to the surrounding area. The medication is used during a headache attack to decrease the pain. It cannot be used to prevent headaches from occurring. It has been found to be effective for some migraine and cluster headaches.
Side effects of D.H.E. 45 include stomach cramps, muscle weakness, dizziness, sweating, and skin rash.
Receive additional information about headache injections to manage your pain by contacting the experts at NY Neurology Associates. Please submit your information using the link below or call 212-987-0100.
To begin the process to manage your headache pain, contact NY Neurology Associates today.