Relieving Chronic Headaches
- Posted on: Sep 15 2018
Chronic headaches are no fun. They can include migraines, occipital neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, posttraumatic headaches, and postoperative headaches. Chronic headaches typically last for at least half of the month for at least three months.
Dr. Seruya can ease some cases of these headaches by relieving compression on the nerve triggering the pain.
What are the symptoms of a chronic headache?
Symptoms vary depending on the type of headache:
- Migraine headaches — They occur on one side and are accompanied by nausea, disturbed vision, sensitivity to light and sound. Some people can see flashes of light, have difficulty speaking, and may hear voices, as well.
- Occipital neuralgia — These involve aching, burning, and throbbing pain that starts at the base of the head and radiates up the scalp. Patients can report pain at the back of the head when lying on their back. Pain can also be felt behind the eyes.
- Trigeminal neuralgia — This is aching pain that occurs on one side of the forehead or temple.
- Posttraumatic or postoperative headaches —These can involve the forehead, the temple, or the base of the head, depending on the site of the injury.
Causes of chronic headaches
These headaches can have a variety of causes, everything from disturbances in blood flow to hormones to whiplash injuries to nerve compression. Dr. Seruya is expert in relieving nerve compression.
How are these headaches diagnosed?
Diagnosis can usually be made through hearing the history of the symptoms and with a physical exam. When nerve compression is the root cause, the patient will report tenderness at known sites. To verify the site, Dr. Seruya may use injection of a numbing medicine or muscle relaxant (Botox) to temporarily calm the compression.
If other treatments don’t seem to stop the headaches, and if the nerve compression site has been confirmed by temporary relief with injections, Dr. Seruya may need to perform nerve decompression surgery. The goal is to provide enough space around the nerve, by releasing some of the tight fascia, muscle, and/or swollen arteries compressing it. With these surgeries relief is often immediate, although in long-standing or severe cases, relief can involve gradual improvement over the course of many months.
If you have chronic headaches, they may be due to nerve compression. Call Dr. Seruya at (818) 241-4217 to schedule an appointment.
Posted in: Chronic Headaches