Headaches

Condition

Definition: Headache is pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a vise-like quality. A headache may be a sharp pain, throbbing sensation or dull ache. Headaches may appear gradually or suddenly, and they may last less than an hour or for several days.

Causes: A primary headache is caused by problems with or overactivity of pain-sensitive structures in your head. A primary headache isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease. Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels of your head outside your skull, or muscles of your head and neck — or some combination of these factors — may play a role in primary headaches. Some people may carry genes that make them more likely to develop such headaches.

-Mayo Clinic

Treatments

Nerve blocks: Nerve blocks are used for pain treatment and management.

Often a group of nerves, called a plexus or ganglion, that causes pain to a specific organ or body region can be blocked with the injection of medication into a specific area of the body. The injection of this nerve-numbing substance is called a nerve block.

There are different kinds of nerve blocks used for various purposes:

  • Therapeutic nerve blocks are used to treat painful conditions. Such nerve blocks contain local anesthetic that can be used to control acute pain.
  • Diagnostic nerve blocks are used to determine sources of pain. These blocks typically contain an anesthetic with a known duration of relief.
  • Prognostic nerve blocks predict the outcomes of given treatments. For example, a nerve block may be performed to determine if more permanent treatments (such as surgery) would be successful in treating pain.
    Preemptive nerve blocks are meant to prevent subsequent pain from a procedure that can cause problems including phantom limb pain.
  • Nerve blocks can be used, in some cases, to avoid surgery.

Various areas of pain require different nerve block types. Below are a few of the available nerve blocks and some parts of the body where they are used:

  • Trigeminal nerve blocks (face)
  • Ophthalmic nerve block (eyelids and scalp)
  • Supraorbital nerve block (forehead)
  • Maxillary nerve block (upper jaw)
  • Sphenopalatine nerve block (nose and palate)
  • Cervical epidural, thoracic epidural, and lumbar epidural block (neck and back)
  • Cervical plexus block and cervical paravertebral block (shoulder and upper neck)
  • Brachial plexus block, elbow block, and wrist block (shoulder/arm/hand, elbow, and wrist)
  • Subarachnoid block and celiac plexus block (abdomen and pelvis)

From: WebMD

Nerve ablation: Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.

RFA can be used to help patients with chronic (long-lasting) low-back and neck pain and pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis.

The degree of pain relief varies, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from RFA can last from six to 12 months and in some cases, relief can last for years. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief.

From: WebMD

Botox: Botulinum toxin, is a natural, purified protein that is used to temporarily relax facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. It can also be used to treat medical conditions such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Botox is the original and best-known brand name and the most tested product on the market. It is the result of many decades of studies and has been used extensively in medicine. It is the safest product, and it is certified in the medical and cosmetic field.

While there is no real downtime associated with this treatment, it is important to note that you may encounter some slight bruising and swelling directly after treatment, due to the needle. This can easily be masked by makeup. There are no long-term side effects of having wrinkle injections, meaning patients can resume their usual activities straight away, and can also fly post-treatment.

This treatment can be used on a wide range of patients, and is primarily used for skin rejuvenation and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Botulinum toxin is injected into muscles and used to improve the look of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) for a short period of time. It can also be injected into the area around the side of the eyes to improve the look of moderate to severe crow’s feet lines.

From: Marie Claire

Staff

Jonathann Kuo, MD
Pain Medicine / Executive Director
Alexander Rances, DO
Pain Medicine / Medical Director
Robert Zhang, MD
Pain Medicine / Anesthesiology

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