Headaches

Headaches

Dr. Bushra Malik

St. Luke's Headache Center

The St. Luke's Headache Center uses a team approach to diagnose and treat all types of headache disorders.

Conditions Treated

  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic daily headaches
  • Post-traumatic headaches
  • Menstrual headaches
  • Facial pain

Headache Center Team

  • Neurology
  • Psychology
  • Physical Therapy

 To make an appointment, please call 484-426-2626.

What are Headaches?

Headaches are episodes of pain that happen:

  • Above the eyes or ears
  • Behind the head
  • In the upper neck area

While there are several different types of headaches, there are three primary types. Other headaches - called secondary - are caused by disease.

Types of Headaches

The following are symptoms and causes of the three primary headaches:

Tension headaches

The most common type, these headaches cause a dull and steady pain. The pain usually is on both sides of the head and can range from mild to severe. Tension headaches can be caused by:

  • Stress
  • Mental or physical fatigue
  • Foods
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Eye strain

Migrane headaches

Marked by severe head pain, migraines have five stages, as follows:

  • Warning signs – Marked by changes in behavior, mood, energy and/or appetite
  • Beginning symptoms – Changes in vision, hearing or smell
  • Headache – Dull pain in the temple and side of the head that becomes throbbing, and can nausea and sensitivity to light/sound
  • Pain ends – Headaches can last for hours or days
  • Fatigue – May last for hours or days

While the exact cause of migraines in unknown, trigger factors are thought to include:

  • Stress
  • Changes in weather
  • Bright lights
  • Altitude
  • Certain foods and medications

Migraine risks include:

  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Gender (females more commonly get migraines)
  • Other conditions, including allergies, epilepsy and asthma

Cluster headaches

These are groups of severe headaches that can last for weeks. The attacks tend to happen once or twice-a-day. The pain usually is around one eye, or behind or on one side of the head. They tend to happen during nighttime sleep. The headache comes suddenly, peaks quickly and can last up to three hours.

Cluster headaches may cause:

  • Red, teary eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Nausea

Other facts about cluster headaches:

  • When the daily headaches stop, the clusters may not reappear for weeks or months.
  • Although cluster headaches are rare, men are much more likely to suffer cluster headaches (90 percent happen to men).
  • The risk of cluster is greater for men older than 30, smokers, people in stressful jobs, and those who suffer from sleep apnea or who have had a head injury.

Treatment

Treatments for tension headaches include:

  • Medications, including Botox 
  • Stress reduction
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Physical therapy

Treatments for migraine headaches include:

  • Medications
  • Counseling
  • Stress reduction
  • Behavior therapy
  • Physical therapy

Treatments for cluster headaches include:

  • Drug therapy
  • Oxygen use
  • Physical therapy

Prevention

To decrease the chance of tension headaches, avoid the causes noted above.

There are no known ways to prevent a first migraine headache, but a doctor can recommend ways to help prevent future migraines.

There are no known ways to prevent cluster headaches.

Learn More

 

 Talk With Your Doctor

Watch the following
Talk With Your Doctor
television programs:

2013

 - Brain Injury 
 - Rehabilitation

2012

 - Parkinson's Disease
 - New Concepts in Neurosurgery