The brain tells you when other parts of your body hurt, but it can’t feel pain itself. Most headaches happen in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that cover a person’s head and neck.These nerves send a rush of pain messages to the brain, and this brings on a headache.
Causes of Headaches are: Stress, emotional stress, depression, alcohol usage, skipping meals, changes in sleep patterns, medications, poor posture can cause neck and back pains. A blow to the head, or it can be an indication of a serious medical problem (rare).
When to take a headache seriously and call a doctor:
This is the first severe headache you have ever had in your life and it interferes with your daily activities.
You develop a headache right after activities such as weightlifting, aerobics, jogging, or sex.
Your headache comes on suddenly and is explosive or violent.
Your headache is “the worst ever,” even if you regularly get headaches.
You also have slurred speech, a change in vision, problems moving your arms or legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss with your headache.
Your headache gets worse over 24 hours.
You also have fever, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting with your headache.
Your headache occurs with a head injury.
Your headache is severe and just in one eye, with redness in that eye.
You just started getting headaches, especially if your are older than 50.
You have headaches along with vision problems and pain while chewing, or weight loss.
You have a history of cancer and develop a new headache.
Your immune system is weakened by disease (such as HIV infection) or by medicines (such as chemotherapy drugs and steroids)
A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
There are 4 stages of a migraine Prodrome, Aura, Attack and Post-drome. Not all stages are experienced when one has a migraine.
One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including:
Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
Increased thirst and urination
For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but can also include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes.
Examples of migraine aura include:
Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body
Hearing noises or music
Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated. How often migraines occur varies from person to person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.
During a migraine, you might have:
Pain usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
Pain that throbs or pulses
Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on the pain again briefly.
When to see a doctor
Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly have signs and symptoms of migraine, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches.
Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.
Botox for Migraines
If you have been diagnosed with migraine and get migraine headaches,
OnabotulinumtoxinA, or Botox, might be able to alleviate the pain. Botox was approved in 2010 for adults who get chronic migraines. Doctors think Botox works for migraine headaches because it blocks chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals from your brain. Botox is like a roadblock in that pathway. It stops the chemicals before they get to the nerve endings around your head and neck.
In a study of adults who get chronic migraine headaches, shots of Botox cut down the total number of days they had them or even other types of headaches. They also had more “crystal-clear” pain-free, days each month, and they reported fewer days off work. Nearly half the people who took two rounds of Botox shots reported that the number of days they had a headache each month was cut in half. After five rounds of treatment, that increased to about 70% of the people.