When Nerves are Causing Chronic Headaches

  • Posted on: Mar 15 2021
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Any headache is an unwelcome part of being human. Chronic headaches, particularly to the extreme level of a migraine, are a bane. To get a handle on your chronic headaches, Dr. Seruya may need to perform nerve decompression.

What makes your headaches chronic?

Chronic headaches include migraines, occipital neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, posttraumatic headaches, and postoperative headaches. To be categorized as “chronic,” the patient needs to experience these headaches for at least 15 days every month for at least three months.

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. Nerve compression can occur in any of the passageways throughout the head and neck formed by arteries, fascia, and/or muscle. The passageways can become narrower if a person develops spasms or tightness of the head and neck muscles or an increase in the size of their arteries. Dr. Seruya is expert in relieving nerve compression.

How is this surgery performed?

The first course of treatments usually involves removing possible triggers, such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. Medications such as birth control pills may need adjusting. Muscle inflammation can be reduced.

But when these measures don’t solve the chronic pain, nerve decompression surgery with Dr. Seruya may be necessary. 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 (310) 423-2129 to schedule an appointment.

Posted in: Chronic Headaches

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