Everything You Need to Know About Headaches and Migraines

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 5% of all adults suffer from a headache every day, and nearly every single person has one occasionally. They’re so common, in fact, that you may be tempted to just dismiss them as an unfortunate fact of life. 

But all headaches mean something, and Dinash Yanamadula, MD, at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute is very good at getting to the bottom of them. Once he discovers what’s causing your headaches, he can treat them and help you prevent getting them or at least lessen their frequency and severity. Here are the important facts about headaches.

Two headache categories, multiple types

There are more than 150 different kinds of headaches, but they all fall within one of two categories.

Primary headaches

Primary headaches are a condition in and of themselves. That means they aren’t a symptom of something else, such as a virus or concussion. Primary headaches include:

Most primary headaches establish a pattern, so keeping a headache diary can help Dr. Yanamadula determine what your symptoms indicate.

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches are a sign that something else is wrong. They aren’t conditions in and of themselves. Some of the most common secondary headaches stem from:

Secondary headaches typically stop when the medical issue resolves. 

What kind of headache do I have?

Dr. Yanamadula will spend considerable time talking with you about your headaches, because your headache history will tell him a lot about the type you’re experiencing and therefore the most suitable treatment. Here are some of the aspects that matter:

He’ll also perform a neurologic exam to find out if there are problems with your gait, speech, balance, or mental acuity. 

A word about migraine headaches

Migraine headaches tend to come with a slew of other symptoms that clearly characterize them as migraines. Typical migraine symptoms include:

Everyone is different and experiences these symptoms to varying degrees. Migraine sufferers usually describe the pain as sharp and searing behind one eye or intense throbbing, but either way, they’re usually debilitating for the duration of the attack. 

Migraines also have a unique prodrome phase that begins a day or two ahead of the headache and may include irritability, a stiff neck, cravings, constipation, or frequent yawning. 

Help for headaches

Regardless of which type of headache you have, they all have one thing in common — pain. As a pain management expert who also specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Yanamadula is uniquely qualified to diagnose your headaches and treat them.

He’ll first begin with conservative measures, such as lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. If necessary, he’ll supplement those efforts with prescription medication. Massage therapy can be an effective treatment as well, as can reducing stress, exercising, and improving your diet.

To learn more about headaches and how best to treat the type you have, book an appointment online or over the phone with Princeton Pain & Spine Institute today.

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