Headache pain can be debilitating, especially if they are long lasting as so many headaches are. Migraines are especially troublesome as they often come on quickly, intensified by external triggers such as light, noise, smells and even the foods we eat.
In the United States, headache treatments account for $1 billion of medical expenses, affecting 47 million Americans whose headaches are characterized as severe or debilitating. Considering the huge swath of those who suffer, overcoming headaches with pain management is welcomed, but how?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are the standard go-to answer to overcome headaches, but persistent migraine headaches don’t always and readily respond to over-the-counter meds. In some cases the strongest form of over-the-counter medications lessen the symptoms, but too often the pain doesn’t subside completely. Doctors many prescribe heavier medications for their patients who suffer with migraine headaches.
A physician might prescribe Triptans to patients with severe migraines. Triptans is considered an acute medication for treating acute migraines; it also relieves nausea, pain, and light and sound sensitivity.
Triptans work by stimulating natural serotonin found in the brain to reduce inflammation, which in turn lessens constriction on blood vessels and eliminates the migraine headache. Triptans tend to be more effective when taken as soon as the headache begins to build. As sensitivity increases and the pain becomes more intense, triptans may require a longer time to take effect.
In the United States there are seven triptan medications that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and are available here. Ask your doctor about the recommended dosage and if taking triptans will be an effective form of pain management for your headaches.
When medications don’t successfully eliminate your headaches, there are additional strategies that can be employed. Acupuncture is one of them. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to prevent or treat chronic migraines and has fewer negative side effects than medications, although acupuncture may be more effective when used together with medication. The FDA approved the procedure and also regulates the thin, single-use needles. Acupuncture can be effective at eliminating tension headaches and migraines too.
Regular exercise that increases heart rate can be beneficial in reducing the intensity of headaches. It can also limit the frequency at which sufferers get migraines and other forms of headaches. The most valuable type of exercise for preventing migraine headaches is aerobic, such as brisk walking, swimming and biking.
Getting your body moving and stretching to relieve muscle tension is a great pain management technique. Stretching for 20 minutes, holding the stretch, and then relaxing between stretches is ideal. You can also stretch before and after workouts or when you sense a headache building. Stretching helps to ease pain-contributing muscle tension. Stretches that concentrate on the range of motion in the neck and shoulders are helpful.
Thoughtful relaxation, to include meditation, aroma therapy, and soothing bathes can ease stress and will help improve sleep habits as well as relieve tensions we pick up throughout the day. Relax your mind and body, breathing slowly in and out. This pain management technique can help to relieve tension throughout muscle groups. Tense muscles encourage intense headaches.
Tarpon Orthopedics offer comprehensive, patient-centered care that counts. Our multidisciplinary team focuses on providing sophisticated, yet conservative care to help you regain lost range of motion, reduce or eliminate pain, and restore lost function. Call (972) 596-1059 for an appointment at Tarpon Orthopedics in West Plano, North Plano, or Addison, Texas today!