House Calls Questions

Dr. Santos


Recently, I have experienced increasingly frequent and painful headaches. Should I have my head examined?

Answer: Anytime a headache is different, sudden, severe or interferes with work and daily activities, you should see your physician. While headaches are very common and most are the result of stress or tension and can be treated with over-the-counter medications, an evaluation may be needed to determine the cause of frequent, painful headaches.

The most common type of headache I treat is a migraine. Patients with migraines, who are mostly women, usually experience nausea, vomiting and light and sound sensitivity. Migraines may last for hours or even several days, making it difficult or impossible to perform daily activities. Patients often need prescription medications to relieve migraines.

Reducing stress, which is a major risk factor for both tension headaches and migraines, is usually recommended. I suggest that patients develop good sleep habits, stay hydrated, exercise, prioritize tasks, avoid burnout and take time to nurture important relationships and personal spirituality.