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Vascular Headaches: Treatment

Treatment for vascular headaches:

Specific treatment for vascular headaches will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • severity of the symptoms
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • drug therapy (medication)
  • biofeedback training
  • stress reduction
  • evaluation of certain foods in the diet
  • regular exercise, such as swimming or vigorous walking
  • using cold packs
  • pressure applied to the bulging artery found in front of the ear on the painful side of the head

Drug therapy and vascular headaches:

There are generally two ways to treat vascular headaches with medication, including the following:

  • prevent the attacks before they occur
  • relieve symptoms after the headache occurs

Medications for headache relief:

It is advised that you consult your physician before taking any type of medication. Medication for headache relief may include any of the following, based upon the recommendation of your physician:

  • analgesics
  • caffeine
  • antidepressants
  • prescription medications

Biofeedback and relaxation training for vascular headaches:

Biofeedback is a technique that may give some people better control over such functions as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, and brain waves. Either of these may be combined with relaxation training, in which patients learn to relax the mind and body. Consult your physician for more information. The following are two types of biofeedback:

  • thermal biofeedback - a patient learns to consciously raise hand temperature, which has been shown to reduce the number and intensity of migraines.
  • electromyographic (EMG) feedback - the patient learns to control muscle tension in the face, neck, and shoulders.

Foods in the diet and vascular headaches:

Some healthcare professionals believe that a small percentage of headache sufferers benefit from a treatment program that eliminates certain headache-causing foods and beverages. Other patients may be helped by a diet that helps prevent low blood-sugar (hypoglycemia), a condition that can occur after a period without food. Low blood-sugar can cause the blood vessels in the head to dilate.

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