What can I do about this Headache or Migraine?

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about your Headache or Migraine

Do you have headaches or migraines? If your headache or migraine is similar to past episodes and you need assistance to get through this episode, then telemedicine can be a good place to start. Migraine headache pain is one of the most common reasons to seek medical advice with approximately 15% of adults having sever migraine headache pain in the last 3 months. Tension headaches is one of the most common reasons to purchase an over-the-counter medication (OTC). Before the development of triptan-type medications (like sumatriptan), many people suffered even more than they do now.

Symptoms of Migraine or headache pain can include:

  • Pain in the head that is disabling and often associated with nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that includes sensitivity to lights and sounds, prefer laying down in dark room (headache with aura)
  • Usually similar to past episodes of the same kind of headache
  • Often have a feeling or symptoms that the migraine is about to start
  • Have been known to last for hours or days.

Symptoms of Tension type headache can include:

  • Frequently occur at times of increased stress, like working long hours.
  • Pain feels like a vice around the head and in the temple region
  • Usually similar to past episodes of the same kind of headache
  • Often follow long periods of increased computer screen time

Symptoms of Blood Pressure related headaches:

  • Head pain related to running out of you blood pressure medication
  • Throbbing or pounding type of headache
  • Usually similar to past bouts of high blood pressure headaches

What to Watch Out for with headaches?

  • When this is the “worst headache of my life” or “thunderclap” type of server headache it should be taken seriously
  • Headache that came on after a head injury or concussion
  • Headache associated with slurring of speech, blurred vision, numbness, tingling or weakness in arms or leg.
  • Headache associated with very elevated blood pressure that is not coming down

What can I do for my headache or migraine?

  • Mild – Moderate:

    • Ibuprofen 800mg once
    • Tylenol 1g once
    • Excedrin 2 tabs q24 hours
    • lay down in dark room, sleep, use ice or heat to the area

    Moderate – Severe:

    • Sumatriptan (NOT for tension type HA, high blood pressure or those with heart attack or stroke history)

When to Seek Medical Care

Seeking care now can help improve your function. Medications can relieve most episodes of headache or migraines. The majority of patients can be treated conservatively, and only on rare occasion is it necessary to go to urgent care or emergency department. With good control of blood pressure, diet, exercise and avoiding any known triggers the frequency and severity of headaches or migraines can be alleviated. Though not a quick fix, with good compliance over a period of months, these modalities have a proven track record of effectiveness in treating this disabling condition. I hope this won’t happen but if you develop a fever, vision changes, difficulty speaking, or weakness in your extremities, please go to an urgent care or the ER for an evaluation.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/acute-pain/migraine/

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/

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