Here’s When You Should See a Doctor About Your Headaches

Headaches are a common ailment – so common, perhaps, that many of us just accept them as part of life.

“When I do routine physicals, I’ll ask about headaches,” says Michael Munger, a primary-care physician in Overland Park, Kan.

He is always surprised that many of his patients report frequent headaches when asked but never bring them up otherwise.

“Some people just live with it.”

Tension headaches, sinus headaches and migraine headaches are among the most common varieties.

Tension headaches affect 30 to 70 percent of the population, says Nauman Tariq, director of the Headache Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

These are usually mild and can be alleviated with nonprescription pain relievers.

Migraine headaches affect 12 to 27 percent of people, Tariq says.

These range in severity and frequency, “from two headaches a year to daily headaches,” he says.

Over-the-counter drugs are used for migraines, as are prescription drugs such as the triptan group of medications including Imitrex, Zomig and Maxalt.

Sinus headaches are a result of excess mucus in nasal passages and are typically associated with allergies, colds or flu. Antihistamines or decongestants can relieve the pressure and pain.

Munger, who is also the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says headaches often are innocuous, but they can be symptomatic of more-serious conditions such as brain tumors or aneurysms.

“You don’t want people to overreact, but you also don’t want them to underreact.”

So, should you see a doctor for your headaches?

It depends, of course, on frequency and severity – how much they interfere with your life and whether you can manage them through self-care or by taking over-the-counter analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen.

However, these drugs come with their own risks.

“Over-the-counter drugs seem safe, but not so when they’re taken frequently,” Tariq says.

“Long-term or frequent use can be more damaging than the headache itself.”

For instance, aspirin and ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and kidney problems with long-term use; Tylenol can cause liver damage with high doses.

When to see a doctor? Munger advises the rule of twos: “More than two headaches a week for more than two weeks.”

That rate of occurrence doesn’t mean it’s an emergency, he says, but it’s worth checking out.

A doctor’s visit is likely to include questions about the individual’s headaches – when they happen, what they feel like and what triggers them.

When headaches happen can lead to indications about triggers. Munger says patients often have some clue about these already.

“The goal is to avoid triggers,” Tariq says, citing some common ones (not all of which can be avoided): certain foods, dehydration, alcohol, sleep deprivation, weather changes, menstrual cycle, work and stress.

The location of pain on a patient’s head gives clues as to the type of headache. Tension headaches derive from muscle tension, and they “start at the back of the head, then radiate up and over the crown,” Munger says.

Sinus headaches, in contrast, tend to affect people on the face, commonly above or below the eyes. Migraine or vascular headaches often are localised to one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and visual oddities such as flashes and blind spots.

Munger says some patients report very specific locations for their migraines, such as “on the left side of my head over my ear”.

Doctors will look for red flags, too, asking about numbness or tingling, nausea, speech disturbances or memory problems. Such symptoms may indicate – or rule out – a more serious condition.

They may ask about conditions associated with headache. For instance, “50 percent of people with chronic headache also have anxiety and depression,” Tariq says.

“Addressing those issues, with psychotherapy and/or meds, can help headache.”

Your doctor may suggest a prescription medicine, such as a muscle relaxant for tension headaches or one of the migraine drugs. Steroid or antihistamine nasal sprays may be recommended for sinus headaches.

Drugs are not the only solution. Tariq says certain procedures interfere with the transmission of pain.

With a treatment called nerve block, an injected deadening agent – anesthetic, steroids or Botox – can quiet nerve activity.

Alternatively, neurostimulation techniques use vibration or cold to compete with pain messages, he says.

For tension headaches – or, as Munger calls them, muscle headaches – neck and shoulder massage can help, as can changing the position at your desk. Studies have shown the benefits of certain physical therapy techniques in easing headaches.

Stress relief plays a role, too, Munger says.

“If you’re under an inordinate amount of stress, try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.”

Traumatic events increase headaches and migraines

Fabric softener is the #1 cause of indoor air pollution.

Fabric softener ads often portray an image of comfort, freshness and sweetness. Yet most fabric softeners contain a grim list of known toxins which can enter your body through the skin and by inhalation, causing a wide range of health problems, particularly for young children.

Here are some of the harmful ingredients commonly found in liquid or sheet fabric softeners include:

• Chloroform: This substance was used as an anesthesia in the 1800s up through the early 1900s when its potential for causing fatal cardiac arrhythmia was discovered. A carcinogenic neurotoxin, it is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Inhaling its vapors may cause loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, vomiting, and/or dizziness, drowsiness. It may aggravate disorders of the heart, kidneys or liver. Its effects worsen when subjected to heat.

• A-Terpineol: Causes Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, meaning problems relating to the brain and spine such as Alzheimer’s disease, ADD, dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, strokes, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Early symptoms of CNS problems include aphasia, blurred vision, disorientation, dizziness, headaches, hunger, memory loss, numbness in face, pain in neck and spine. A-Terpineol also irritates the mucous membranes and, if aspirated into the lungs, can cause respiratory depression, pneumonia or fatal edema.

• Benzyl Alcohol: This upper respiratory tract irritant can cause central nervous system (CNS) disorders, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and dramatic drops in blood pressure.

• Benzyl Acetate: This substances has been linked to pancreatic cancer. Its vapors can be irritating to eyes and respiratory passages and it can also be absorbed through the skin.

• Ethanol: Another fabric softener ingredient which is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and linked to CNS disorders.

• Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.

• Ethyl Acetate: This substance, which is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list, can be irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. It may also cause severe headaches and loss of consciousness, as well as damage to the liver and kidneys.

• Camphor: Another substance on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. It is easily absorbed through body tissue, causing irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Camphor can also cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions.

• Linalool: A narcotic known to cause respiratory problems and CNS disorders. In animal testing, exposure to linalool has resulted in death.

• Phthalates: Used in scented products to help the scent last longer, phthlates have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive system problems.

• Limonene: This known carcinogen can cause irritation to eyes and skin.

• Also, if you follow a vegan lifestyle, you should be aware that many fabric softener sheets are made using tallow, a form of animal fat.

Manufacturers are aware that the products contain toxic chemicals. The packaging on many brands include a warning that the product should not be used on children’s sleepwear. Since some of the same brands also have large images of children and toys, however, consumers may miss the small print message.

Making your own fabric softener is very easy and cost effective . Additionally, using   homemade cleaning products helps keep harmful chemicals away. Vinegar is cheap and nontoxic. It naturally removes soap residue, and helps with static reduction during drying. Vinegar contains small amounts of sodium and  potassium, which help soften hard water. Homemade fabric softener ingredients are combined with water to make a solution you can store in a container and use each time you do the wash.

Natural  Homemade Fabric Softener


Mix ingredients together and pour into a storage container.

Migraines May Signal Vitamin Deficiency; What You Should Eat To Fortify Yourself Against Headaches

Migraines symptoms strike like lightening in the heads of 38 million men, women, and children in America. The causes can be mysterious. But recent research presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society revealed that screening for vitamin deficiencies may be the key to unlock a quieter, calmer brain. Migraines can be debilitating. Every 10 seconds someone in the United States goes to the emergency room because of throbbing head pain, adding up to 1.2 million visits a day. When researchers tested 7,691 patients for vitamin deficiencies, they found those who suffered from frequent migraines were significantly more likely to have low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B2, folate, and co-enzyme Q10. Because each vitamin plays an integral role in producing energy in cells, researchers theorize that not getting enough needed vitamins could trigger a migraine, prompting the brain for help. Migraine “Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Suzanne Hagler, a research fellow at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in a statement.   Previously, a 2012 study linked magnesium deficiency to migraine. Those who suffer from migraines regularly have been found to have low levels of magnesium compared to those who don’t experience any migraines or headaches at all. Since then, doctors have recommended combining magnesium with a multivitamin when migraine symptoms first appear. These new findings may add to the list of necessary vitamins. It’s difficult to consume all of the dietary vitamins necessary to keep their body running efficiently, which is why many people turn to vitamin supplements for help. However, it’s best to try to weave in vitamin-rich food items in order to help stave off looming migraines. According to The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is plentiful in salmon, tuna, swordfish, and also cheese and eggs. But the best options to turn to are either milk or orange juice fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin deficiencies could be the reason behind why millions of people suffer from migraines.Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain When it comes to vitamin B2, soybeans, spinach, turkey, almonds, and yogurt are ideal foods to incorporate into the diet. Folate is also found in many dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, along with chickpeas, beans, and lentils. Co-enzyme Q10 can also be found in broccoli, dark leafy greens, but also nuts, fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, and beef. Lastly, for a boost of magnesium, eat almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, bananas, cashews, and flaxseed, and drink milk.

Deficiency of this Vitamin Causes Migraines and Headaches.


Migraines are really bad. They are horrible. You can’t do anything when a migraine is in full force.

You would do anything to get pass them. You can’t deal with them anymore. The pain became immune on the pills you take.

There could be a solution to this.


Have you ever heard that your headaches could be a result of vitamin deficiency?

Yep, if you have Vitamin B deficiency there are higher chances your headache won’t stop.

Studies show how Vitamin B deficiency leads to the higher occurrence of migraines. It comes slowly and it takes time to be developed. The symptoms come really slow and you often say it’s nothing.

Like this study here that comes from Harvard.

All these symptoms often result with a headache. This means that taking pills for a headache was wrong all the time. Even though they work, periodically.

Another study tested 52 people who regularly get migraines. It showed that people who were given vitamin supplements noticed a migraine reduction.

The others who were given placebos did not notice reductions at all.

For this study, Professor Griffiths said:

“The success of our trail has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients.”

Migraines are not just a common pain in your head. There are other symptoms, too. Some of them include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound and light, anxiety, etc.

If Vitamin B deficiency is what causes your migraines, you need to keep that vitamin B level up at all cost.

You can do that by taking supplements or foods rich with this vitamin.

Here is a list of foods you need to consume:

  •      Broccoli
  •      Spinach
  •      Asparagus
  •      Fresh and Dried Fruit
  •      Vegetables
  •      Liver
  •      Chicken
  •      Peanuts
  •      Potatoes
  •      Milk
  •      Fish
  •      Rice

If you don’t suffer from migraines, you probably know someone who is. Share this with them. They could finally find the cure.

If You Are a Cancer Survivor, This Is a Must Read .

Getting through cancer treatment successfully is something to celebrate. To stay in good health, doctors say you need to watch for other symptoms, including vision changes, headaches and problems with balance.

What many cancer survivors don’t realize is that 25 percent of people who survive some common cancers go on to develop a brain tumor. These brain tumors don’t originate in the brain but are actually cancerous cells from the original tumor that travel to the brain through the bloodstream. When this happens, doctors call these tumors brain metastases.

“About one-third of patients with the most common cancers — lung, breast and kidney cancer and melanoma — are at risk of developing brain metastases,” says Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon Gene Barnett, MD.

When this happens, the resulting growth needs early treatment. Dr. Barnett says early detection can help people get the right treatment at the right time to avoid serious complications. This is why you need to be vigilant and pay attention to your symptoms.

Watch for these 9 signs

If you’ve had cancer and experience these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor:

  1. Vision changes (such as double vision or partial vision loss)
  2. Headaches (possibly with nausea)
  3. Numbness or tingling in part of the body
  4. Paralysis or difficulty moving any part of the body
  5. Inability to walk
  6. Difficulty with balance and an increased incidence of falls
  7. Difficulty speaking (including slurred words or incoherent speech)
  8. Problems with mental acuity (such as not being able to read or tell time)
  9. Seizure or convulsions

Metastatic brain tumors tend to develop gradually, although severe episodes can occur. No matter what, it’s important to tell your doctor immediately so he or she can evaluate you and treat you early as needed.

Treatable brain tumors

For years, doctors believed that brain metastases were uniformly fatal. Treatment could only to relieve symptoms. Today, they know that such tumors are treatable, thanks to technological and medical advances. The key is early detection.

To help in this fight, Cleveland Clinic teamed with the Northern Ohio American Cancer Society to establish the B-Aware Program. “Our goal is to educate at-risk cancer patients so that brain metastases are detected as early as possible, when they have the greatest number of treatment options,” says Dr. Barnett.

Many treatments available

We’ve come a long way from the days when the only treatment option available for brain metastases was whole brain radiation. This often failed to control the tumors. Today, aggressive and precisely delivered treatments produce better outcomes with fewer side effects.

Treatment options depend on the location, type and extent of the tumor, and include:

  • Radiosurgery. Radiosurgery directs highly focused beams of radiation at the tumor with extreme precision. This will not destroy the tumor, but may succeed in stopping tumor growth. Surgeons deliver this radiation so precisely that they can spare the surrounding brain tissue. Gamma Knife surgery is a common form of radiosurgery.
  • Minimal access surgery. This type of surgery allows doctors to remove the tumor in a faster, simpler way. Surgeons make a very small incision in the skull or hidden in a nearby structure. This reduces postoperative complications, minimizes pain and scarring, and shortens recovery time.
  • Localized radiotherapy, or radiation therapy. Radiotherapy exposes the cancerous cells to ionizing radiation that injures or destroys them. Doctors often use radiotherapy before or in addition to radiosurgery.
  • Medical therapies. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill tumor cells that are dividing most rapidly. Many drugs used successfully for tumors in the body cannot penetrate into the brain. However, in certain cases, chemotherapy or other medical treatments may secure control of certain brain metastases.

“We want to help patients ‘be aware’ of all management options, so they don’t blindly agree to a proposed treatment which may not be in their best interest,” says Dr. Barnett. “They always have the right to seek a second opinion.”