migraineAll of us either know someone with chronic headaches or migraines, or we regularly experience them ourselves. Saying they are unpleasant is an understatement, but many people don’t know much about them beyond that. Dr. Paul Lenkowski of Roanoke Valley ENT & Allergy discusses what migraines and headaches are, what options exist for treatment, and how seeing an ear, nose, and throat doctor can provide you with fast relief from them. 

What is a Migraine, and How is it Different From a Regular Headache?

Migraines are characterized by episodes of intense pressure or pain in the head that can also be accompanied by nausea or sensitivity to light, sound, or movement. Migraines can also come with ear pain, dizziness, and seeing flashing lights. These symptoms may become so severe, a person will visit an emergency room for treatment. Typically, migraines only affect one side of your head, but they can cause unpleasant sensations on both sides. Migraines occur with triggers like bright lights, certain smells, loud sounds, or even some foods. 

Headaches, on the other hand, are a bit more general in nature. They are characterized simply by pain in the head, and usually don’t come with the other symptoms that can come with migraines. Headaches affect both sides of the head more commonly, but one type of headache, called cluster headaches, are only felt on one side. Headaches can come about when a person is under stress or in the presence of muscle strain. 

What Treatment Options Exist?

Typical treatment options for migraines and headaches can include the following:

  • Over-the-counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen or aspirin can be used occasionally 
  • Prescription pain relief medications when over-the-counter options don’t provide relief
  • Prescription anti-migraine drugs, commonly available as pills, injections, or nasal sprays
  • Anti-nausea drugs if migraines induce nausea and vomiting
  • Botox injections 

Work with your doctor to determine what treatment options will work best for you. Some prescription migraine medications come with risks for people who have other health conditions, and over-the-counter medications can also have unpleasant side effects.

Why Should I See an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor For Headaches or Migraines?

One of the main pillars of treating migraines is finding what triggers them and reducing the prominence of those triggers in a person’s life. An ear, nose, and throat doctor can help you identify what brings on painful migraines, and they can offer targeted treatments when they are caused by inner ear disease, sinus pressure, and other related conditions. Traditional migraine and headache treatments won’t work efficiently when they are caused by these issues, but your ear, nose, and throat doctor can provide other treatments that get to the root cause. 

Both migraines and standard headaches can prevent you from enjoying your regular daily activities, but they don’t have to hold you back. Scheduling an appointment with Dr. Paul Lenkowski is the first step in diagnosing the cause of and treating your migraine headaches. Contact us today and take the first step in feeling great!