Headaches and What to Do about Them

Aug 22, 2018

Welcome to Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine! If you have been experiencing headaches, you are not alone. Headaches are a common health concern that can significantly impact our daily lives. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of headaches, their causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options. Trust our expertise and knowledge to help you better understand and manage your headache condition.

Causes of Headaches

Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors that differ from person to person. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for developing an appropriate treatment plan. Some common causes of headaches include:

  • Tension: Tension headaches are often caused by stress, poor posture, or muscle tension in the neck and scalp.
  • Migraine: Migraines are typically characterized by throbbing pain and can be triggered by certain foods, hormonal changes, or environmental factors.
  • Sinus: Sinus headaches occur when the sinuses become inflamed due to allergies, infections, or sinusitis.
  • Cluster: Cluster headaches are intense and usually affect one side of the head. They occur in clusters, often at the same time of the day.
  • Medication Overuse: Overusing pain medication can paradoxically lead to rebound headaches.
  • Other Causes: Other potential causes include dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, hormonal imbalances, and more.

Symptoms and Diagnosing

The symptoms of headaches can vary depending on the underlying cause. While most headaches cause pain, other associated symptoms may be present. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain: Headaches can cause dull, throbbing, or sharp pain sensations in different areas of the head.
  • Sensitivity: Light and sound sensitivity are common symptoms experienced alongside headaches.
  • Nausea: Some people may experience nausea or even vomiting during severe headache episodes.
  • Aura: Migraines often come with visual disturbances, such as blurred vision or zigzag lines.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Headaches can make it challenging to focus, affecting overall productivity.

If you are suffering from recurrent or severe headaches, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. They will evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and perform any necessary tests to identify the specific headache type and potential triggers.

Treatment and Management Options

Effective treatment and management of headaches depend on the underlying cause and individual factors. Here are some common approaches:

Lifestyle Modifications

Leading a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. Implement the following lifestyle changes:

  • Stress Management: Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to reduce stress levels.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in physical activities to improve overall well-being and reduce headache occurrence.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Identify and avoid trigger foods or additives known to cause headaches in some individuals.
  • Sleep Hygiene: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and ensure adequate restful sleep to minimize headache risk.

Medication Options

In certain cases, healthcare professionals may recommend the use of medications to manage headaches. This could include:

  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate mild to moderate headaches.
  • Prescription Medication: Stronger medications, such as triptans, may be prescribed for more severe migraines or other specific headache types.
  • Preventive Medication: In some chronic cases, preventive medications might be prescribed to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.

It is crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment options for your specific headache condition.

Alternative Therapies

In addition to conventional treatments, several alternative therapies can provide relief for some individuals. These therapies include:

  • Acupuncture: This ancient practice involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points of the body to help relieve pain and reduce headache frequency.
  • Chiropractic Care: Manipulative techniques employed by chiropractors can help alleviate tension and certain types of headaches.
  • Herbal Remedies: Certain herbal supplements, such as butterbur or feverfew, have shown promise in preventing headaches.
  • Essential Oils: Aromatherapy with specific essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, may offer headache relief for some individuals.

It's important to consult with trained professionals experienced in these therapies to ensure they are suitable for your specific condition.


Headaches can have a profound impact on our daily lives, but understanding their causes and appropriate management options can improve our quality of life. At Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine, we are dedicated to providing you with reliable and up-to-date information on various health topics. If you are experiencing recurring or severe headaches, don't hesitate to seek medical advice from our team of experts. Together, we can help you find effective solutions to manage your headaches and regain control of your health.

Bob Whitmore
This article provides valuable insights on headaches - their causes, symptoms, and treatment options. A great resource for better understanding and managing them!
Oct 18, 2023