Keystone Headache and Pain Management Center at Tyrone Hospital celebrates National Headache Awareness Week

‑Each year the National Headache Foundation (NHF) sponsors National Headache Awareness Week.‑The purpose of National Headache Awareness Week June 3-9 is to educate the public about headaches, treatments available, and to point people in the direction of resources to help headache sufferers.
‑“The majority of headaches people experience are not life threatening,” said John Johnson, M.D., Medical Director at the Keystone Headache and Pain Management Center at Tyrone Hospital. “But as anyone who suffers from headaches knows, they can interfere with work, everyday activities, and leisure pursuits.”
Dr. Johnson said many headache sufferers don’t know about their treatment options, or fail to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis.
With all the different headache types and the variety of symptoms among individual sufferers, the National Headache Foundation recommends seeing a healthcare provider as the first step in dealing with persistent and painful headaches.
“The first step is to see your primary care doctor,” said Dr. Johnson. “If someone has chronic headaches, they may also benefit from an evaluation at the headache clinic, a service we provide at Tyrone Hospital. There are a variety of oral medications as well as injections or a combination of the two that can be provided for headache relief.” ‑
Dr. Johnson said the pain clinic also uses a multidisciplinary approach employing and consulting different medical specialties such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, psychiatry and other specialties as needed to meet a patient’s individual needs.
‑There is no single cause of headaches. However, headaches are legitimate neuro-biological disorders and there are several different types of headaches.
• Tension-type – Approximately 78 percent of adults experience a tension-type headache at some point in their lives, making it the most common form of headache. The pain is often described as pressing or tightening, of mild to moderate intensity and occurs on both sides of the head. There are two general classifications of tension-type headache: episodic and chronic, differentiated by frequency and severity of symptoms.
• Chronic tension-type headache can be the result of anxiety or depression. Changes in sleep patterns or insomnia, early morning or late day occurrence of headache, feelings of guilt, weight loss, dizziness, poor concentration, ongoing fatigue and nausea commonly occur.‑
As common as tension-type headaches are, the causes and symptoms of these headaches are more complicated and unique than many might realize. Often people do not seek medical attention when they should because they assume that the cause of their headache is “just” tension.
• Migraine – More than just a “bad headache” migraine pain and associated symptoms affect 29.5 million Americans.‑ Both men and women experience migraines, although women are three times as likely to suffer from them.
Migraine is characterized by throbbing head pain, usually located on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Most migraine occurs episodically; however, 10 million Americans have chronic headache (15 or more days per month). Many of these people experienced episodic migraine that evolved over time to chronic migraine.
Many things may trigger a migraine.‑ Triggers may include one or more of the following categories: diet, stress, environment, odors/perfumes, emotions, medications and hormonal fluctuations.‑With proper diagnosis and treatment, migraine can be effectively managed.
‑According to the American Migraine Study II (AMS II) which was conducted for the National Headache Foundation, fifty-two percent of the people whose headaches fit the medical definition of migraine remain undiagnosed. And nearly 57 percent of people with migraine continue to rely solely on general over-the-counter pain relievers or on no medications at all to relieve pain. The study also revealed that migraine is often mistaken for sinus or tension-type headache.
• Cluster – There are an estimated one million cluster headache sufferers in the United States; about 90 percent of these sufferers are male. Cluster is one of the least common types of headache, and the cause is unknown.
Cluster headache refers to the characteristic grouping or clustering of attacks. The headache periods can last several weeks or months and then disappear for months or years. Sufferers are generally affected in the spring or autumn, and, due to their seasonal nature, cluster headaches are often mistakenly associated with allergies.
With typical cluster headaches, the pain is almost always one-sided, usually localized behind the eye or in the eye region and may radiate on the same side to the face or neck. The eye lid may droop and the sinuses become congested on the side of the head where the pain occurs.
Cluster sufferers report that even small amounts of alcohol or smoking will precipitate an attack during a cluster cycle but not during cluster-free times.
‑• Secondary Headaches – Organically Caused-An organically caused headache is not a disease itself; rather it is a symptom of another disease or disorder. Organically caused headaches can include tumors, infection, high blood pressure, diseases of the brain, eye, ear and nose, blood clots, and aneurysms to name a few. These conditions can be life-threatening so immediate evaluation by a doctor is recommended. Some signs that the headache is related to a serious disorder include change in headache pattern; headaches associated with a medical problem or neurological symptoms such as focal weakness, loss of consciousness or confusion; pain that becomes progressively more severe or is the ‘worst’ headache ever experienced.
‑Dr. Johnson said in addition to medications and injections, other forms of treatment may provide relief for headache pain. “Treatments such as counseling or psychotherapy, relaxation training,‑ physical therapy or massage are among the forms of treatment that can be considered. Different things work for different people and some may find a combination of treatments is needed to bring relief.”
‑In recognition of National Headache Awareness Week, an information table about headaches and the services available at the Keystone Headache and Pain Management Center is located in the main lobby at Tyrone Hospital. A variety of information is available for pick-up.‑
‑If you are experiencing headache pain that affects your ability to function in everyday life, ask your doctor about a referral to the Keystone Headache and Pain Management Center or call 684-6374. For more information on headache causes and treatments, contact the Keystone Headache and Pain Management Center at Tyrone Hospital at 684-6374 or visit the National Headache Foundation’s web site at or call 1-888-NHF-5552.