PKD Clinic

Polycystic Kidney Disease& Kidney Cysts


Not all patients with PKD have headache, but headache indeed is a symptom of PKD. Generally, it can be managed with medications and a healthy lifestyle. >Brain Aneurysm (Cerebral Aneurysm)


Headache is one common symptom in the clinical. About seven out of ten people have at least one headache per year. Most headaches are life-threatening and can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. The headache caused by some severe diseases may be difficult to be treated. The cause determines headache treatment.

What is a headache?

Oh my aching head! Nearly everyone has suffered from a headache, which is a pain or discomfort in the head, scalp or neck. It is one of the most common locations of pain in the body and has some types of headaches.

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What are the types and causes of headaches?

There are mainly three types of headaches: tension headaches, cluster headaches and migraines.

◆ Tension headaches

Tension headache is the most common type of headaches and tends to be on both sides of your head. They often start at the back of your head and spread forward. Your shoulders, neck, or jaw may also feel tight or sore.

Its exact cause is not known, but the most likely cause is contraction of muscles that cover the skull. Tension headache occurs due to physical or emotional stress placed on the body. These stresses can cause the muscles surrounding the skull to clench the teeth and go into spasm.

◆ Cluster headache

Cluster headaches are a type of non-throbbing vascular headache, and the pain is severe, burning and penetrating. It tends to occur several times a day for months and then go away for a similar period of time.

The cause of cluster headaches is uncertain. It may be that certain parts of the brain begin to malfunction for an unknown reason. The hypothalamus, an area located at the base of the brain is responsible for the body's biologic clock and may be the part of the brain that is the source of the cluster headaches.

◆ Migraines

Migraines are considered a neurological disease and they are caused by the activity of nerve pathways and brain chemicals. They are a type of throbbing vascular headache that typically involves one half of the head. Migraines is often the most severe and complex headache.

Migraines are usually caused by complex interactions between the nervous system and the vascular system as well as alterations in brain chemicals. During migraine headaches, the sympathetic nervous system, which controls primitive response to stress and pain, in the body is stimulated.

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What are the symptoms of the headaches?

The pain symptoms of tension headaches are:

* The pain begins in the back of the head and upper neck.

* Most often, the pain is described as pressure with the most intense pressure over the eyebrows.

* The pain is usually mild and bilateral but not associated with an aura, nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound.

* This type of headaches can occur frequently and even daily in some people.

The pain symptoms of cluster headaches

* The pain typically is located around or behind one eye.

* The pain sometimes is describes as a hot poker in the eye, and the affected eye may become red, inflamed and watery.

* The nose on the affected side may become runny.

* The pain attacks the patients about the same time every day and often causes sleep problems. In addition, each episode of pain lasts from 30 to 90 minutes.

The pain symptoms of migraines.

* The pain usually is described as an intense, throbbing or pounding pain that involves one temple.

* The pain often is unilateral, and it begins when the sufferer is awake.

* The pain easily is aggravated by the daily activities such as going upstairs.

* Migraines always accompany with some other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, facial pallor, cold hands, cold feet and sensitivity to light and sound commonly accompany migraine headaches.

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How is the headache diagnosed?

The accuracy diagnosis is needed to begin a correct treatment. Early visits to doctor are made to establish what type of your headache.

Headache history

Headache history is one of the most important parts of the headache diagnosis. You headache can be diagnosed more accuracy if you can tell your doctor:

* How old you were when your headache began.

* How long you have been suffering from it.

* How often does the headache occur?

* Is there any other person in your family also having headache.

* What are the symptoms of your headache?

* Where is the pain located, if you can feel?

* What does your headache feel like?

* How long does the headache last?

* How was your headache treated before?

Physical and neurological examinations

After completing the headache history portion of the evaluation, the doctor will perform a complete physical and neurological examination to look for signs and symptoms that might be causing the headaches, such as nausea, vomiting, high fever, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, etc.

Additional diagnostic tests

Additional diagnostic tests might be needed to detect out other medical conditions, and these tests include blood test, CT scan, MRI, X-ray, EEG, Ophthalmology evaluation and Lumbar puncture or spinal tap. An exact diagnosis can guarantee the correct treatment for your headache.

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How is headache treated?

The treatment for headache varies according to the cause. Most tension headaches are successfully treated through taking over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, and so on.

Cluster headaches may be very difficult to treat. When the cluster headache occur everyday, there are two treatment needs. The initial treatment options, including inhalation of high concentrations of oxygen, injections of some medications, caffeine, etc, are used to control the first episode of the pain. The other treatments, including calcium channel blockers, diltiazem, prednisone, antidepressant medications, lithium, valproic acid, divalproex and topiramate , are used to prevent the next cluster headache.

Migraines usually are treated by some treatments such as stress reduction, biofeedback, elimination of food triggers, exercise, and medication. Preventive treatments, such as sumatriptan, are also used when headaches occur three or more times per month.

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How does traditional Chinese medicine help treat your headache?

Acupuncture and Moxibustion, as one kind of the traditional Chinese medicine, has been part of medical mainstream throughout the world. It can treat your headache effectively through inserting the related point, without any side effect. In addition, some Chinese herbs can also help treat your headache by the oral taking medicine. You can choose the correct treatment, according to your specific condition.

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