The headaches are incurable but preventable. Although there is no cure for the headaches, they can be prevented, and their impact on everyday life can be minimized. Nonetheless, many people will continue to get headaches despite best treatments.
Some people are predisposed to get headaches, while others will never get them. The main [grossly oversimplified] difference lies in how responsive the brain cells (neurons) are to various internal and external stimuli.
In an individual predisposed to headaches, the neurons appear to be more irritable and react stronger to certain stimuli. This neuronal hyperreactivity eventually sets off the chain of events resulting in headache, with or without other symptoms.
In addition to genetic predisposition, other factors contributing to the neuronal hyperreactivity and headaches include inflammatory, biochemical, mechanical, structural, environmental, and other processes.
The psychological wellbeing, ability to respond to stress without nervous breakdown, personal lifestyle choices (sleep, hydration, nutrition, exercise, screen time, etc.) – all these play an important role as well.
Approach to Treatment
For the treatment of headaches to be successful, it is necessary to understand the problem, come up with appropriate diagnosis, identify contributing factors, discuss the findings and plan of care.
It is equally important to establish that the headaches are not due to a potentially life-threatening condition (ie, brain tumor).
While there are genuine genetic and physiological factors affecting the frequency and severity of headaches, relying on the medications to treat or prevent pain is often inadequate.
It is necessary to evaluate and treat other contributing factors as well.
Some factors cannot be changed naturally (ie, genetics). Other factors may be amenable to modifications with variable rate of success.
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