COVID-19 Information. Get vaccinated. Get tested. Learn more.

embracehealth

When Is A Headache More Than A Headache

Statesman Journal Living Well – May 2015

Few common maladies can derail your day quite like a headache. Though painful and inconvenient, sinus and tension headaches are generally easily managed with over-the-counter remedies, rest and increasing one’s water intake. But when a headache lasts for hours or days and seriously affects one’s quality of life, it becomes clear: All headaches are not created equal.

According to Migraine Research Foundation, about 18% of American women and 6% of men suffer from migraine headaches, which can last from several hours to several days. Pain can be moderate to severe, as in other types of headaches, but migraines are marked by additional symptoms.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Worsened by activity

The exact causes of migraines are unknown, but it is generally regarded that migraine sufferers have genetic predisposition to specific triggers.

  • Food triggers
  • Menstrual cycle and hormonal changes
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Stress or fatigue
  • Fragrance

“I recommend patients keep a headache journal to track the food and environment that were encountered just before a migraine occurs,” says Tyson Graves, RN. ” This can help someone identify and limit their specific triggers.”

While migraine food triggers are different for everyone, there are some common culprits.

  • Chocolate
  • Aged or fermented cheese
  • Soy
  • Nuts and citrus fruit
  • Vinegar
  • Sulfites in beer, red wine, dried fruits and processed foods
  • Nitrates contained in cured, smoked, pickled or canned meats
  • Food additives such as MSG and yeast extract
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine

Patients that have severe or recurring headaches should talk to their primary care provider to rule out migraine or other conditions, says Tyson Graves, RN.  While migraines cannot be cured, knowing one’s triggers can help avoid them or lessen their duration.

Preventive medications can be prescribed in some cases – a daily medication to help stave off migraine occurrence. And in the event of an acute migraine attack, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may alleviate mild symptoms.

For migraine sufferers, it’s also a good idea to have an emergency plan.  “If the pain becomes unbearable, often after a prolonged time, patients often seek help in the emergency room,” says Tyson Graves, RN.  Emergency departments are equipped to rule out life-threatening conditions and to help reduce immediate suffering. Treatment received in an emergency situation will not offer long-term relief.

“If you are a migraine sufferer, it’s best to have a relationship with a provider that specializes in migraine care,” says Tyson Graves, RN. “Know your triggers and discuss preventive medication options with your provider, including a rescue medication.”

“For migraine disorder, the best medication is prevention.”

About Santiam Hospital

Santiam Hospital is a not-for-profit, 40 bed acute-care hospital located in Stayton, Oregon, which is a short 12-mile drive east of Salem, and serves more than 30,000 people annually from the communities of Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Mill City, Jefferson, and the surrounding areas.

Request An Appointment

  info@santiamhospital.com

  503.769.2175

  1401 North 10th Ave.
Stayton, OR 97383

Latest Blog Posts

Popular Posts

Preventing ER Visits During the Holidays

Preventing ER Visits During the Holidays

Osteoporosis & Reducing Your Risk

Osteoporosis & Reducing Your Risk

Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Back to School Safety

Back to School Safety

Find a Doctor by Specialty

OR

Search By Name

Featured Locations

Santiam Hospital
Santiam Orthopedic Group
Aumsville Medical Clinic
Cascade Medical Clinic
Sublimity Medical Clinic

Santiam Hospital

1401 N 10th Ave, Stayton, OR 97383

503.610.4186
FAX: N/A

Santiam Orthopedic Group

1401 N 10th Ave, Stayton, OR 97383

503.610.4186
FAX: N/A

Aumsville Medical Clinic

205 Main Street
Aumsville, OR 97325

503.749.4734
FAX: 503.749.3745

Cascade Medical Clinic

1375 N. 10th Ave., Suite B
Stayton, OR 97383

503.769.7546
Fax: 503.769.8563

Sublimity Medical Clinic

114 SE Church St.
Sublimity, OR 97385

503.769.2259
Fax: 503.769.8049