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9 Treatments for Chronic Headaches

Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including dehydration, stress, and illness. Most everyday headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medications, or pass once you overcome the underlying illness causing them.

However, for some people headaches can be persistent and have a real impact on their quality of life. Here at Integrated Pain Solutions in Stamford, Connecticut, Dr. Halina Snowball offers safe and effective ways to treat chronic headaches.

Whether you’re suffering from tension headaches, sinus headaches, migraines, or cluster headaches, chronic headaches can be difficult to treat and exhausting to experience. Luckily, the following nine treatments can help you find relief. 

1. Anti-seizure medications

Some anti-seizure medications are effective at treating headaches. While researchers are still looking to understand why, it’s thought to be related to the link between migraines and epilepsy.  

Those suffering with one condition are twice as likely to suffer from the other. That’s why treatments for epilepsy such as anti-seizure medications have proven to be effective against migraines.

2. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors

CGRP inhibitors are a recently identified treatment for headaches. CGRP is an amino acid that’s naturally present in your body and associated with certain pain processes. 

Researchers have found that CGRP is released during a migraine. CGRP inhibitors work by reducing the amount of CGRP released, thereby preventing migraines.

3. Muscle relaxants

For many people suffering with chronic tension-type headaches, the cause is muscle tension around the neck and head. The causes can vary widely, from squinting to stress to poor posture. 

As expected, muscle relaxants can reduce the tension in the muscles that are causing the headaches in order to reduce severity or frequency.

4. Tricyclic antidepressants

Usually prescribed to treat depression, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline can be effective against migraines and tension-type headaches. They work by changing the levels of specific chemicals in your brain, most notably serotonin. 

5. Electrical and magnetic pulse technologies

The body's pain systems operate through electrical messaging. These can be stimulated through the use of targeted electrical or magnetic pulses, which work by modifying pain pathways to reduce migraines. 

These treatments have been shown to be highly effective. Moreover, they can be self-administered using hand-held devices, making them a safe and convenient option for migraine sufferers.

6. Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are a type of hormone used to fight inflammation and support your immune system. They’re produced naturally within your body. 

When administered as a treatment, they can make chronic headaches milder. As a naturally occurring hormone, most people can take glucocorticoids for a short period. However, they can cause health problems if used for a longer time.

7. Beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers 

Some people may be familiar with beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers because they are usually used to treat angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. However, they can also be used to treat certain types of headache and migraine. 

These medications do have side effects and require careful supervision and dosage monitoring. 

8. Steroid trigger point injections

Trigger points are areas of muscle tension that can cause tension-type headaches when they affect muscles in the neck, head, and shoulders. 

Steroid trigger point injections involve injecting a steroid medication directly into the trigger point. This reduces inflammation and swelling of the muscle, preventing your chronic tension headaches. 

9. Relaxation and biofeedback

As with many other treatments for tension-type headaches, relaxation and biofeedback work by relaxing the tension in muscles that causes headaches. 

These methods work by understanding how to control processes in your body that are usually involuntary. For example, tension headaches might be caused by raised blood pressure or muscle tension.

Biofeedback involves connecting electrodes to the skin to provide blood pressure, heartbeat, skin temperature, and other information about your body. We can then help you understand when your body reacts to various factors and show you how to modify these reactions. 

Learning to recognize these signals and how to relax when you notice them can be effective at treating and preventing headaches and migraines.

Other treatments for chronic headaches

In addition to the above treatments, we offer nerve block injections for neuralgia and Botox for migraines

While it can feel impossible to treat chronic headaches, there are cutting-edge treatments available no matter what type of headache you suffer from. 

Speak with us to find out more by calling 203-293-0549 or requesting an appointment online today.

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