Headaches and Migraines

Headaches are common and are usually benign, but can be very disruptive for some patients.

Headache management begins with thorough neurologic evaluation of a cause. Although most of the time we find no cause, it is initially imperative to make sure that this is so. Over 25 years of practice, Dr. Itkin has learned that though it may be rare, a patient’s headache can be a manifestation of a serious condition. Our Chicago area clinic specializes in headache and migraine management.

Fortunately, most headaches are not life-threatening, but can disrupt the quality of life. While not all headaches can be prevented, medical treatment can help you manage the symptoms.

Types of Headaches

Nearly all people experience headaches at one point or another. In most cases, those headaches are not indicative of a serious condition. The most common headache types are tension, sinus and migraine. The most common headache causes are stress, fatigue, hunger, or caffeine withdrawal.

There are categories physicians use to classify different types of head pain. These broad groups include:

  • Tension headache – Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache. They may manifest as a tight band around the head, pressure or a dull ache. Tension headaches can cause anywhere from mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head, and the frequency varies (anywhere from occasional to more than half the month). Tension headaches are often manageable with over the counter painkillers. Prescription medication can also help, as can stress management therapies.
  • Migraine headache – Migraines typically cause moderate to severe pain, and may be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, and activity worsening the pain. The pain typically pulsates and affects only one side of the head. Migraine treatment aims to relieve symptoms and help prevent additional attacks. An important step is identifying migraine triggers so that you can better avoid them. Prescription medication can help improve migraine symptoms and reduce frequency of attacks.
  • Cluster headache – Cluster headaches are not common, but are quite severe. These headaches tend to manifest in clusters, with multiple headaches during a 1-3 month period. The pain affects one side of the head, with the eye becoming red and watery, the eyelid drooping and the nose becoming congested. There are a variety of treatment options depending on the patient’s case, including nose drops, injections and prescription medications.

Finding Effective Headache Treatment in Chicago

If you have been struggling with head pain, request an appointment to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Itkin and begin pursuing a diagnosis.