Sunday, February 7, 2010

Five Types of Headaches

Years ago, I had suffered such bad and frequent headaches that I saw a doctor--something I rarely did. He asked me what my complaint was, I said it was headaches, and he referred me to a hospital to get a $700 scan. Not having $700 or health insurance, the headaches continued. I've since read that some doctors get a referral fee from hospitals when they send patients there. I suppose that even making a pretense of trying to diagnose the cause of my headaches might have cost him his kickback.

I've since found five causes of my headaches, though I doubt anything would have turned up on an MRI.

Sinus pressure. Sinus headaches are behind the eyes, in the cheeks and sometimes in the upper teeth. I take Sudafed PE for these, as often as directed. Acupressure at the points beside my nostrils helps, too.

TMJ. This can feel like a sinus headache. If relaxing my jaw for a few minutes helps, I know it's at least partly from carrying tension there. I put in my splint, take ibuprofin, and do my best to relax. Although acupressure helps some people with TMJ problems, I've never found it found it useful for that problem.

Neck pain. These can be from either misalignment of the spine or neck tension. I tend to feel these on the top of my head (tension) or near my neck (misalignment). I do some neck stretching and try to get my neck to pop. If I wake up with this kind of heachache, it's usually because I need to prop up my pillow by putting a towel under it. Acupressure at the point between my collar bone and shoulder blade, and gripping my neck muscles both help; so does massaging my neck.

Hunger or fatigue. The hunger headache is easy to fix, but if it's fatigue, I just have to slog through the day and drink high-octane tea (English breakfast). I've had fewer fatigue headaches since I stopped staying out until 11 pm on weeknights.

I take ibuprofin for all of these headaches. I don't wait for the pain to become intense; it's better to stop them early than wait for muscle spasms to begin.


Anonymous said...

I just commented on reflux from carbs ---
ibuprofen seems to be a serious cause of my esophagus chest pain so I've quit it. At the diabetes hospital class the (diabetic)instructor mentioned that she takes NOTHING for her migraines -- made me think - I have all types of headaches and find codeine, ibuprofen, etc mostly make me worse and only help very short term if at all. Migraine roll on stick (peppermint oil etc) rubbed carefully (watch for fumes into eyes) on forehead and back of neck HELPS.

Lori Miller said...

I've never had a migraine headache, but according to what I've read, they can lead to or be a sign of something seriously wrong. They shouldn't go unchecked.