Headache - Know Signs Of It!
Headaches are a very common condition. We all have experienced mild headaches at some point in our lives. Such a condition may result from disorders of the eyes, neck, or due to dental problems. Sometimes, stress, dehydration, or an underlying condition could be causing frequent headaches. Pain medications and lifestyle changes are typically recommended for mild headaches. However, for some people, headaches may be chronic or recurrent – the pain could be so severe that even OTC medications and pills may not be effective.
Types of Chronic Headaches
Here are some examples of chronic headache that might be interfering with your routine activities –
Cluster Headaches – these refer to intense headaches, typically confined to just one side of the head, that reoccur in cyclic patterns over several weeks or months
Migraine – Migraines are characterized by severe headaches, usually on the side of the head. The pain may be accompanied by blurred vision, nausea, and sensitivity to sound, smells, and light.
Occipital Neuralgia – this refers to extreme headache resulting from inflammation or damage to the occipital nerves that run through your scalp from the spinal cord.
Chronic Headache Symptoms
Depending on the type of headache, intensity and frequency of the symptoms may vary. Symptoms that indicate a more serious, chronic headache include any of the following –
Headaches starting early in the morning Pain that deteriorates due to strain – for example, a sneeze or a cough
Sudden onset of headache
Pain that becomes persistent or severe
Changes in vision
Weakness in the legs or arms
The above symptoms may resemble a serious medical problem – possibly a neurological disorder. Consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Neurosurgery for Headaches
If medications fail to relieve throbbing, debilitating headache, then you might have to go for a surgery. Neurosurgery uses the following techniques to treat intense, recurrent headaches –
Deep Brain Stimulation – this involves implanting wires or electrodes deep inside the brain to correct irregular brain activity
Peripheral Nerve Stimulation – in this procedure, the surgeon directly implants electrodes on nerves or beneath the skin in the pain region
Nerve Decompression Surgery – the surgery is performed to alleviate pain and relieve pressure caused by impingement. The lamina – a portion of the bone over the nerve root – and disc from under the nerve root is surgically removed to provide the nerve more space.
Apart from surgery, neurosurgery also involves procedures like Botox and Nerve Blocks. These are targeted towards patients who experience chronic headaches daily.
Surgery for headaches has high success rates and usually does not cause severe complications. With new and improved technology, surgical procedures have become safe and highly effective. Nevertheless, you should discuss your medical history and symptoms thoroughly with a specialist prior to the surgery.