Headaches and migraines
St. Luke’s Health medical professionals can diagnose, treat, and help you manage migraines and other headaches, including post-traumatic and cluster headaches, using advanced non-surgical and surgical therapies. Our specialists can provide acute and preventive treatment options based on your particular case and personalized to your needs.
What are the different types of headaches?
- Tension headaches are the most common type and are often caused by stress and muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders.
- Migraines are a more severe type of headache that often causes throbbing pain on one side of the head, as well as sensitivity to light and sound.
- Cluster headaches are a rare type of headache that causes intense pain around the eye, and often occur in clusters over a period of weeks or months.
- Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation and pressure in the sinuses, and often occur alongside other sinus symptoms.
- Hormonal headaches are linked to changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during menstruation or pregnancy.
- Rebound headaches are caused by overuse of headache medications, and can occur in people who frequently use pain relievers for headaches.
What are the symptoms of headaches?
The symptoms of headaches can vary depending on the type of headache and the individual experiencing them. Common symptoms of headaches include:
- Pain or pressure in the head
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea or vomiting
If your headache is paired with other symptoms, like fever or confusion, it may be necessary to seek immediate medical attention at a nearby emergency room.
What are the symptoms of specific types of headaches?
- Tension headaches often cause a dull, aching pain in the head, as well as tightness or pressure in the neck and shoulders.
- Migraines typically cause a throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of the head, as well as visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or blurred vision.
- Cluster headaches cause intense pain around the eye, and can also cause redness, swelling, and tearing in the eye.
- Sinus headaches often cause pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks, and nose, as well as congestion and discharge from the nose.
- Hormonal headaches can cause a variety of symptoms, such as changes in mood, appetite, and sleep patterns, as well as menstrual irregularities.
What are easy ways to get rid of a headache?
- Drink plenty of water: Dehydration can cause headaches, so drinking water may help alleviate the pain.
- Rest in a quiet and dark room: A calm environment can help reduce stress and tension that can contribute to headaches.
- Apply a cold or warm compress: Placing a cold or warm compress on your forehead or neck may help relieve headache pain.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and tension that can cause headaches.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief medication: Medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin may help relieve headache pain.
What are effective migraine remedies?
There are various effective migraine remedies, including medication such as triptans, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and ergotamines.
Natural remedies such as essential oils, acupuncture, and yoga can also provide relief for migraine sufferers.
Lifestyle changes such as diet, sleep, and exercise can also be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.
What can you do to prevent headaches?
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause headaches, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can contribute to headaches, so aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger tension headaches, so try stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
- Avoid trigger foods: Some foods such as processed meats, aged cheese, and alcohol can trigger migraines, so try to avoid these if they are a trigger for you.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and tension, which can contribute to headaches.
- Practice good posture: Poor posture can strain muscles in the neck and back, leading to tension headaches, so be sure to maintain good posture throughout the day.
What can a neurologist do to treat headaches and migraines?
A neurologist can perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your headaches or migraines and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
The treatment plan may include medication, lifestyle modifications, or other therapies such as Botox injections, nerve blocks, or nerve stimulation. A neurologist can also help manage chronic migraines, which are defined as having at least 15 headache days per month.
In addition, a neurologist can help you identify potential triggers for your headaches or migraines and provide advice on how to avoid or manage them. They can also offer guidance on stress management techniques and recommend physical therapy or other exercises to help reduce muscle tension and prevent headaches.
Overall, a neurologist can provide specialized expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches and migraines, and work with you to develop an individualized plan to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Trigeminal neuralgia and facial pain
What are the different causes of facial pain?
- Dental problems
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Cluster headaches
- Facial trauma
- Nerve damage
In some cases, facial pain may also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or certain types of cancer. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience frequent or severe facial pain to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.
What are the symptoms of facial pain?
The symptoms of facial pain can vary depending on the underlying cause, but may include:
- Aching, dull, or sharp pain in the face
- Stabbing or shooting pain in the face
- Burning or tingling sensations in the face
- Swelling or inflammation in the face
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in the jaw or neck
- Headaches, including migraines or cluster headaches
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Ear pain or ringing in the ears
- Nasal congestion or discharge
- Vision changes or eye pain
What are the treatment options for facial pain?
The treatment options for facial pain depend on the underlying cause of the pain.
- For dental problems, treatment may involve procedures such as fillings or root canals.
- Sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics or nasal sprays.
- TMJ disorder may be managed with self-care measures such as rest, ice or heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain relievers, or with more advanced treatments such as physical therapy or surgery.
- Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with medications, injections, or surgery.
- Cluster headaches and migraines may be managed with a combination of preventive and acute treatments such as medications, nerve blocks, or oxygen therapy.
- In some cases, nerve damage or other underlying medical conditions may require specialized treatments.
Using state-of-the-art technology and the latest therapies, our team can precisely treat some of the most debilitating conditions, including trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes excruciating facial pain. With surgeons trained in a wide variety of interventional aspects of facial pain management, our team can provide the most up-to-date treatment options, including:
- Microvascular decompression
- Percutaneous interventions
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
- Stereotactic radiosurgery with Cyberknife and Gamma Knife
Being the first in Houston to use CyberKnife® technology and the first in Montgomery County to use Gamma Knife® technology, our facilities offer the latest advancements in neurological medicine to treat patients effectively and with shorter recovery time.
What are some at-home remedies to relieve facial pain?
- Apply a warm compress to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as directed.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to help reduce stress and tension.
- Massage the affected area with gentle circular motions to help promote relaxation and ease muscle tension.
- Use a humidifier or steam inhalation to help alleviate sinus-related pain.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins that may contribute to inflammation and pain.
How to prevent facial pain
The prevention of facial pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. However, some general strategies that may help to reduce the risk of facial pain include:
- Maintaining good dental hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
- Avoiding triggers that may cause sinusitis, such as allergens or irritants.
- Practicing good posture and taking frequent breaks when performing tasks that require you to strain your neck or jaw muscles.
- Using proper ergonomics when using electronic devices or working at a desk to avoid straining your neck and shoulders.
- Managing stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water to help flush out toxins that may contribute to inflammation and pain.
- Avoiding foods that may trigger migraines, such as chocolate or caffeine.