What is headache? Here we will try to understand headache with a case history. Cheryl was really getting tired of having migraines. She had started to get them almost every weekend. The headaches felt like a jackhammer working overtime on the right side of her head. They were so painful that she had to cancel plans whenever they attacked. She hated missing time with her friends, but there was no way she could have any fun with a migraine. Plus, sometimes she threw up when she had a migraine and she didn’t want anybody seeing that! Cheryl’s mom had taken her to see two different doctors for her headaches.
What Doctor Do?
The first doctor wouldn’t give her any medication. He suggested that Cheryl was only saying she had a headache so she wouldn’t have to go to school. That upset both Cheryl and her mother. Her mom also had periodic migraines and knew that Cheryl wasn’t faking anything. The second doctor thought that Cheryl most likely had migraines. This physician said that everything about her headaches fit the migraine pattern. He gave Cheryl some pills to stop a migraine when it hit, but so far the pills weren’t working. Her friends were asking questions about why she was always backing out of plans.
Cheryl was scared they wouldn’t include her anymore, so she told them the truth, Now they all had suggestions for treating her migraines. At first Cheryl listened to their ideas. But some of them sounded pretty crazy. She doubted that changing her brand of lipstick would help, as her best friend had suggested. Other ideas actually frightened her, such as holding her head underwater during the migraine.
Her grandma thought that Cheryl had a brain tumor. She had been reading about pollution and said that Cheryl had probably been exposed to a toxic level of poison. Cheryl knew she hadn’t been exposed to any more pollution than her brother, and he didn’t have migraines. Sometimes, though, when she was lying in bed and her head was pounding, she thought about the possibility of a tumor. Or maybe cancer. It had to be something bad to make her feel like this.
Cheryl’S mother was taking her to a different doctor tomorrow. Cheryl was pretty sick of all of it. She knew
her family and friends meant well, but their advice was annoying. They all seemed to think they knew so much more about her pain than she did! She was tired of listening to them. She was tired Of shuffling between doctors. She was tired Of canceling plans. But most of all, she was tired Of getting migraines. More than 45 million Americans suffer from migraines or other headaches. These headaches can range from minor discomfort to crushing head pain. Most of these sufferers see their doctors each year about their head pain. Together, they spend more than 4 billion dollars on pain medication.
More than 57 million days of work and school are missed each year due to headaches. Countless additional days and
plans with family and friends are cancelled. Migraines and headaches are one of the most commonly reported ailments today. They are also one of the most frightening. Head pain can make even the most courageous person cower in a corner. There are no visible wounds to bandage—only invisible, crushing pain.
Thousands of people are driven to their beds each day, wondering when the pain will end. Others try to get through a school or work day, often feeling sick and unable to concentrate because of the pain. Trying to sort through advice from well-meaning family members and friends, different doctors, and advertisements for pain relief can be difficult. One of the best ways to try to cope with your head pain is to arm our self with knowledge. Familiarizing yourself with your symptoms can help both you and your doctor treat your specific condition.
Understanding how scientists believe a headache works can also help significantly in trying to ease your suffering. It can help to know what a headache is a sign of or what it is not. Understanding how a headache works can also aid in understanding different medication and treatment options.