Pressure around the eyes, throbbing pain, a tight band around your head-we can all recognize the onset of common headache symptoms, but did you know that different types of headaches should be treated differently?
“Headache pain can be disabling and make it difficult to accomplish the simplest of tasks,” said Lindsey Stephens, pharmacist and director of best practices for Medicine Shoppe International, Inc. “Consulting your pharmacist with your headache symptoms will help ensure that you select the right medication and dosage to relieve your pain.”
Medicine Shoppe Pharmacists offer the following information to help headache sufferers determine the type of headache they suffer from and how to treat it:
Symptoms: Constant or throbbing pain, often accompanied by tight muscles in the neck or head
Causes: Tension, stress, eye or muscle strain, depression, sleep changes, weather changes, certain foods and medications
Treatment: Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, including aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Symptoms: Depending on the type of migraine, warning signs include flashing lights, colors and a prickly, hot or weak feeling on one side of the body followed by head pain, nausea, tiredness, depression or restlessness
Causes: Tension, bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, weather changes, fatigue, missed meals, smoking, emotional upset and certain food triggers
Treatment: OTC migraine medications that include a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine and/or prescription medications for migraines
Symptoms: Deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose that usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining
Causes: Sinus congestion and inflammation
Treatment: Focuses around relieving sinus pressure and possible infection with antibiotics, antihistamines, decongestants or anti-inflammatory medications
Because headaches can be caused by an underlying health problem, it is important to consult a physician if headache pain persists or becomes severe.
As with all OTC medications, side effects are possible. In some cases, possible side effects can be the same as headache symptoms. Your pharmacist can help you choose a pain reliever that will help relieve your symptoms without causing additional suffering. Your doctor or pharmacist can also counsel you on lifestyle changes, including stress management and relaxation therapy, to help diminish the frequency and severity of headaches.