If headache pain stops your day, you're not alone. About 90% of people in the U.S.get headaches at some point, and 15% each year have severe headaches.
They can affect you at any age and may worsen over time.
You might feel headache pain in the head or face. They're the most common form of pain and can last hours or days.
In the U.S., about 42 million people live with headache disorders such as migraine.
If you need to know how to get rid of a headache, the UPMC Headache Center headache specialists are here. We can help you manage your headache pain and symptoms.
Our headache doctors treat all types of headaches, such as:
Some common headaches we see are primary headaches, which aren't due to other health problems.
Migraines cause throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head. You may have nausea and vomiting and be sensitive to light, sounds, and smells.
A migraine attack can last 4 to 72 hours.
Cluster headaches cause intense piercing pain around the eye or one side of your head. Attacks come in groups with pain that wakes you up at night.
They can last 15 minutes to 3 hours.
Tension headaches are dull, aching pain on both sides of your head or stiff muscles behind your head and neck.
The pain is typically mild or moderate, steady, and non-throbbing, without nausea or light sensitivity.
Sinus headaches come with pain, congestion, and pressure around your nose, cheeks, and forehead.
They're usually linked to a sinus infection so you may have yellow or green drainage and a fever.
Your headache can sometimes signal a serious problem.
See a headache doctor if:
The UPMC Headache Center offers:
Your doctor may suggest one or more treatments to treat your headaches.
With a whole-person treatment approach, our headache clinic:
Your doctor will have you stop taking over-the-counter pain medicine if it no longer helps.
Prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be the next step. NSAIDs reduce inflammation and pain.
UPMC neurologists study the newest advances in prescription medicine.
Your doctor may prescribe medicine to stop the pain, prevent it, or both. They may also prescribe anti-nausea drugs.
Some migraine medicines were initially made to treat other health issues:
Migraine medicine to stop or prevent your headache pain may include:
Your doctor may suggest medicine to prevent headaches, such as:
The goal of a nerve block is to block pain signals coming from the nerves of the head and neck.
Pericranial nerve blocks are for migraine and cluster headaches. The shots target the seven main branches of the pericranial nerves in the scalp.
Doctors mostly use nerve block shots as needed, but some people get them every three months. The shots are less invasive, quick, and safe.
Trigger point shots treat migraine, cluster, and tension headache pain from the muscles. With shots at UPMC, your doctor tailors the dose and placement for your pain.
Cycle breaker drugs can break the pain of a headache that won't stop for days.
Your doctor can call or send in a prescription for various drug options. These drugs will break the headache cycle and keep you out of the ER.
An oxygen tank and face mask at home can relieve a cluster headache. When you inhale pure oxygen, it reduces blood flow to the brain. This works quickly to stop the pain.
At the UPMC Headache Center, we may use oxygen therapy with a sumatriptan shot for quick pain relief.
At the UPMC Headache Center: