What are headaches?
Headaches are broadly defined as any unpleasant sensation occurring in the head region. As with most pain cases, headaches manifest differently among patients, with some experiencing mild discomfort while others are barely able to get up from severe headache. The pain may be confined to a single spot or region, but it also may radiate across the entire head, sometimes even affecting the back of the eyes, as well as the back of the neck. Headaches may also come with increased noise and light sensitivity, as well as nausea, and a few other symptoms. In some patients, headaches may also be felt as a throbbing sensation, or sharp jabs. Millions of individuals from all walks of life suffer from headaches, in forms such as cluster headaches, rebound headaches, migraines, and such, and is deemed the most common of nervous system disorders.
What causes headaches?
There are many reasons individual patients experience headaches. There are headaches classified as primary, the headache being the foremost health condition, and not caused by any other underlying disorder. Primary headaches are described to originate from overactive, or oversensitive pain receptors in the head which react to some of the brain’s chemical activities, or to occurrences on structures surrounding the skull such as the blood vessels and muscles. The exact mechanism of primary headaches are still not well understood, but the pain is nonetheless possibly debilitating. Physicians thus resort to observing triggers, and factors (e.g. dietary, weather, or lifestyle) that bring about headache attacks in individuals in order to help them prevent the actual attacks. Some of the common examples of primary headaches, with varying severity and duration, include migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, and chronic daily headaches.
Aside from primary headaches, there are also secondary ones, characterized by pain in the head caused by illnesses, diseases or injuries. The head contains many structures, such as the eyes, the brain, sinuses, teeth, and the ears. It is also in close proximity to very sensitive structures such as the spinal cord. All of these parts are susceptible to damage due to trauma, infections and inflammations, which may affect the head and bring about headache attacks. Secondary headaches could thus come from one of the structures in the head, or the spinal cord, ranging from simple cases such as headaches due to eye refraction errors to headaches from trigeminal neuralgia or meningitis.
How are headaches treated?
Headaches may originate from simple, acute causes, but may also indicate life-threatening illnesses. That being the case, consulting with a headache specialist would be beneficial, or even necessary, especially for patients who suddenly developed severe headaches, have seen an increase in frequency or severity of headache attacks, or have recently sustained head trauma. Headache specialists are medical practitioners who guide patients as they go through tests and evaluations for comprehensive diagnosis of their headaches, as well as in tailoring treatments for specific cases. Some of the treatment methods used for headaches include the following on the list:
- Lifestyle or dietary changes
- Pain relief medication
- Anti-depressants or opiods
- Physical therapy
- Cranial nerve stimulations
Where can I find a specialist for my headache in Los Angeles?
Are your headaches keeping you from functioning? Dr. Kevin Li, MD, a specialist on headaches in Los Angeles, may just be the doctor you need. With his exemplary training, more than a decade’s worth of experience in pain care, and his use of latest medical technology, he will be able to provide you with an in-depth diagnosis of the cause of your headaches, as well as recommend a treatment plan that will let you gain control of the pain, no matter the severity or frequency. Dr. Li’s holistic, individualized care guarantees only the best care for you. Call his L.A. clinic today at (626) 538 – 8950 to set an appointment, and take back your life again!