Almost all of us experience headaches of some kind from time to time. Normally, it can be written up to just being tired, maybe sick, or just a good old fashioned headache. Stress is so out of control with things being what they are, it’s easy to write off a headache as just a, well, pain in the head. However, the most common form of headache is called a tension headache. Because headaches are so common, most people don’t talk to their doctors about why they may be getting them and if there is treatment. Additionally, there are certain kinds of headaches you simply cannot ignore
A tension headache is very common, and it’s most often experienced by pressure in the forehead and maybe the back of the head. It’s something of a dull ache – as opposed to a short one – and doesn’t usually come with other symptoms. A migraine, on the other hand, is a sharper and more insistent pain (although it’s true that each person experiences headaches differently and at varying levels of intensity). With a migraine almost always comes sensitivity to light, sound and often smell. Along with that, migraine sufferers experience nausea and maybe even vomiting.
There are other types of headaches that require emergency medical attention. If you experience a sudden, very painful headache that feels intensely painful (referred to as a “thunderclap” headache), there could be something else going on. It’s important to pay attention to any headache that is accompanied by a severely stiff neck, confusion or mental confusion. Be especially careful also if your headache also brings double vision or speaking difficulties. If you’ve recently suffered a concussion or other head injury, however mild, and you have a persistent headache, this could also be a concern. If any of these things explain your headache, please talk to your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
However, if you are suffering from tension or migraine pain, there is a medication called Fioricet that can help. You still need to talk to your doctor, as it is only available by prescription, but this medication may eliminate your worst pain. Your doctor will tell you if it’s right for you, and if you can take it in combination with your other medication or medical conditions. It is a combination of acetaminophen, Butalbital (a barbiturate) and caffeine. This medication is not without side effects, such as potential liver damage or drowsiness, but used with care it can help get rid of or reduce your pain.