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Headaches and face pain

St. Joseph Health medical professionals can diagnose, treat, and help you manage migraines and other headaches, including post-traumatic and cluster headaches, using advanced non-surgical and surgical therapies. Our specialists can provide acute and preventive treatment options based on your particular case and personalized to your needs.

Types of headaches

  • Tension headaches are the most common type and are often caused by stress and muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. 
  • Migraines are a more severe type of headache that often causes throbbing pain on one side of the head, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. 
  • Cluster headaches are a rare type of headache that causes intense pain around the eye, and often occur in clusters over a period of weeks or months. 
  • Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation and pressure in the sinuses, and often occur alongside other sinus symptoms. 
  • Hormonal headaches are linked to changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during menstruation or pregnancy. 
  • Rebound headaches are caused by overuse of headache medications, and can occur in people who frequently use pain relievers for headaches.


Symptoms of headaches

The symptoms of headaches can vary depending on the type of headache and the individual experiencing them. Common symptoms of headaches include:

  • Pain or pressure in the head
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue


Simple ways to get rid of a headache

  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration can cause headaches, so drinking water may help alleviate the pain.
  • Rest in a quiet and dark room: A calm environment can help reduce stress and tension that can contribute to headaches.
  • Apply a cold or warm compress: Placing a cold or warm compress on your forehead or neck may help relieve headache pain.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathingmeditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and tension that can cause headaches.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief medication: Medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin may help relieve headache pain.


How to prevent headaches

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause headaches, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can contribute to headaches, so aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Manage stressStress can trigger tension headaches, so try stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Avoid trigger foods: Some foods such as processed meats, aged cheese, and alcohol can trigger migraines, so try to avoid these if they are a trigger for you.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and tension, which can contribute to headaches.
  • Practice good posture: Poor posture can strain muscles in the neck and back, leading to tension headaches, so be sure to maintain good posture throughout the day.


Causes of facial pain

  • Dental problems
  • Sinusitis
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraines
  • Facial trauma
  • Nerve damage


In some cases, facial pain may also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or certain types of cancer. It's important to consult with a health care professional if you experience frequent or severe facial pain to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of facial pain

The symptoms of facial pain can vary depending on the underlying cause but may include:

  • Aching, dull, or sharp pain in the face
  • Stabbing or shooting pain in the face
  • Burning or tingling sensations in the face
  • Swelling or inflammation in the face
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in the jaw or neck
  • Headaches, including migraines or cluster headaches
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears
  • Nasal congestion or discharge
  • Vision changes or eye pain


Treatment options for facial pain

The treatment options for facial pain depend on the underlying cause of the pain.

  • For dental problems, treatment may involve procedures such as fillings or root canals.
  • Sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics or nasal sprays.
  • TMJ disorder may be managed with self-care measures such as rest, ice or heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain relievers, or with more advanced treatments such as physical therapy or surgery.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with medications, injections, or surgery.
  • Cluster headaches and migraines may be managed with a combination of preventive and acute treatments such as medications, nerve blocks, or oxygen therapy.
  • In some cases, nerve damage or other underlying medical conditions may require specialized treatments.

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