Chronic Headaches in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL
Everyone experiences headaches, but chronic headaches may indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment. Your family physician may not have the expertise to properly diagnose the cause of chronic headaches. Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists serves Tampa, Spring Hill and surrounding communities in Florida, and our doctors are board-certified in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, so they have the in-depth knowledge you need to treat your chronic headaches.
What Are Chronic Headaches?
Chronic headaches are defined as headaches that occur at least 15 days out of the month for three months in a row. The types of chronic headaches include:
- Chronic Migraines: These involve pain that ranges between moderate and intense and can include throbbing or pulsating sensations and sensitivity to sound and bright light. For many people, nausea and vomiting occur as well. Chronic migraines can be caused by food sensitivities or sinus infections (sinusitis).
- Chronic Tension Headaches: These headaches cause a sensation of pressure or squeezing in the head. They sometimes involve sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.
- New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH): These headaches take only a short time to become constant. They are characterized by pain that occurs on both sides of the head with a sensation of extreme pressure.
- Hemicrania Continua: These are continuous and occur on a daily basis, causing constant pain that ranges between moderate and intense. In many cases, they are also accompanied by redness and excessive tear production in one eye, contracted pupils and a stuffy nose.
What Causes Chronic Headaches?
In most cases, our physicians recommend comprehensive tests and examinations to discover the reason for a patient’s chronic headaches. Your physician may determine that your chronic headaches are associated with:
- Head injuries
- Cancers of the neck and head
- Nerve inflammation or injury
- Jaw disorders
- Blood vessel inflammation
- Chronic sinusitis and obstructions or structural defects of the sinuses
- Sleep apnea
Benefits of Chronic Headache Treatment
Chronic headaches prevent people from functioning normally in their everyday lives. The headaches also interfere with concentration and make even the simplest tasks a hardship. To make matters worse, chronic headaches can be a sign of serious underlying medical conditions, some of which are potentially life-threatening. Seeking treatment for your chronic headaches can help you rule out potentially dangerous complications and start getting your pain under control.
How Are Chronic Headaches Treated?
Treating chronic headaches typically involves relieving symptoms and eliminating any infection. Treatment may include antibiotics to resolve the infection and a course of antihistamines or decongestants to address the other symptoms. You may also use a decongestant nasal spray, but these should be used for no longer than three days. Extended use tends to cause symptoms to become more severe.
Chronic headaches may also be treated using non-steroidal pain relievers. However, if they’re not effective enough, you may be prescribed corticosteroid medication to suppress further inflammation. In cases where exposure to an allergen results in sinus trouble, patients are often recommended to undergo preventative allergy therapy.
At-home treatments such as increasing water intake, running a humidifier and using a saline nasal spray are often effective for managing sinus headaches.
If taken too frequently, pain relievers and decongestants may also cause chronic headaches. If you use a medication for long-term headache relief, you’re advised to talk with your doctor about the risks. In addition, decongestants can cause blood pressure to rise. Consult your doctor before taking a decongestant if you have hypertension.
Preparing for Chronic Headache Treatment
Before your appointment, monitor for potential headache triggers such as foods, weather changes or your activities. Consider what improves or worsens it. Be sure to write this information in a journal, which should also contain the following details:
- When and where you developed a headache
- What symptoms you experienced
- Which treatments helped
- Anything you suspect as a potential cause
In some cases, chronic headaches can stem from head injuries. If you think this might apply to you, write a thoroughly detailed account of the injury so it can be reviewed by a Suncoast ENT.
Chronic Headache Treatment Recovery
Treatment options for chronic headaches are as numerous as the causes for the headaches. Potential treatments can include a variety of things from drugs to surgery. Once a plan of treatment is developed, you’ll be notified on what you’ll need to do during your recovery period.
Is Chronic Headache Treatment Right for Me?
If you experience headaches for more than 15 days every month, neglecting treatment may result in disastrous effects on health. We recommend that you take the necessary steps to avoid the risk of severe and potentially fatal complications by seeking medical treatment as soon as possible.
Chronic headaches not only affect your day-to-day life, but may also indicate serious and complex health conditions that require immediate treatment. To learn more about our treatments for chronic headaches, schedule a personal consultation by contacting our office in Tampa or Spring Hill.