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Head pain can be cause by migraine headaches or, less frequently, by occipital neuralgia.
Migraine headaches produce an intense throbbing, pulsing pain in one area of the head. The pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound and light.
Some people have success preventing migraines from occurring. Preventing a migraine can be easier than stopping a migraine once it has begun. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for migraine prevention are:
Women whose migraines are triggered by menstrual cycles can prevent headaches with hormone therapy. Sometimes lifestyle changes like managing stress with relaxation and exercise, eating regular meals on a schedule, avoiding foods or drinks that trigger headaches, and forming a regular schedule for sleeping.
Occipital neuralgia is caused by pinching, irritation or inflammation of the occipital nerves running from the top of the spinal cord in the neck up through the scalp. The main symptom is shooting, burning pain that typically starts at the base of the head and radiates up into the scalp. Sometimes patients may also experience pain on the sides of the head, sensitivity to light, and pain behind the eyes.
Ergotamine, Ergot Combinations, Ergot Alkaloids (Dihydroergotamine): There are oral, rectal, nasal, injection, and intravenous versions of these prescription drugs.
Triptans: Migraine patients often find these relieve pain and nausea. These prescription drugs come in oral, nasal, and injection formulations. Types include zolmitriptan (Zomig), rizatriptan (Maxalt), almotriptan (Axert), sumatriptan (Imitrex), naratriptan (Amerge), frovatriptan (Frova) and eletriptan (Relpax).
Analgesics & NSAIDs: These over-the-counter drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Avoid daily use that may cause medication overuse that makes headaches worse.
Opiates: When you can't take triptans or ergot then narcotic drugs like codeine can treat migraine headache pain. They are a not a first-choice because narcotics are habit-forming and because they can actually cause "rebound headaches".
Botox injections can be an effective treatment for migraine prevention after traditional medication has failed. It is injected in several areas around the head and can be effective in decreasing the number of migraine headaches experienced for a three month period. After three months it can be repeated for further benefit.
Occipital Nerve Block: This procedure involves injecting a steroid and possible an anesthetic into painful occipital nerves at the base of the head and scalp. This can lessen or alleviate pain from occipital neuralgia for up to several months.
Dr. Jeffrey Rubin and the staff of Physician Pain Care provide quality, cutting edge, personalized service to patients suffering from chronic pain. We offer Epidural and Facet Joint Injections, Spinal Cord Stimulation, Lumbar and Medial Branch Blocks, Radiofrequency Ablation, SI Joint Injections, Stellate Ganglion Blocks, Transforaminal Epidural Injections, and BOTOX injections for migraine headaches.
We treat patients in Woodstock, Canton and Marietta, Georgia. Many patients visit us from Jasper, Ellijay, Cumming, and Roswell, GA. Please call (770) 516-7880 to schedule an appointment or request additional information on any of our services or procedures.