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Headaches & Migraine Relief

If you or someone you know suffers from migraines or chronic headaches, you understand the impact these conditions can have on your quality of life. At Rutland Regional we use an individualized approach to headache and migraine treatment, offering a range of options to help you reduce headache days and get back to living.

Do you have headaches or migraines?

Many people often confuse migraines with headaches. It is important to understand the differences in these conditions to help with treatment and prevention.

What is a headache?

A headache is an unpleasant pain in your head that can cause pressure and aching. The pain can be mild to moderate and usually occurs on both sides of your head. Headaches may occur most frequently in your forehead, temples or the back of your neck.

Types of headache include:

  • Tension headaches. Triggers for this headache type include stress, muscle strain or anxiety.
  • Cluster headaches. These headaches occur on one side of the head, but aren’t as severe as migraines. Other symptoms include runny nose, a watery eye or nasal congestion.
  • Sinus headaches. Sinus headaches cause facial pressure and pain and can accompany a sinus infection, allergies or a cold.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is a severe headache that usually causes pain on one side of the head. Migraines often have other symptoms in addition to head pain, including:

  • Pain behind one eye or ear
  • Seeing spots or flashing lights
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Nausea and vomiting

Some migraine sufferers experience sensations before they have a migraine. This is called migraine with “aura.” The sensations usually occur anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes before a migraine attack and can include:

  • Having trouble thinking
  • Seeing flashing lights or unusual lines
  • Tingling or numbness in the face or hands
  • Unusual sense of smell, taste or touch

Treatment for Headaches

The causes and treatments for different types of headache can be different for each individual. At Rutland Regional, our specialists take the time to identify your specific condition and understand your risk factors before recommending a treatment strategy. 

Headache treatment options vary based on the kind of headache you are experiencing and may include:

Tension-type headaches

These can be treated with over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®, others). Certain prescription medications may also be effective. In addition, alternative therapies aimed at stress reduction may help. 

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches tend to subside quickly, so treatments need to be fast acting. Treatments may include prescription medications such as nasal sprays or injectable medications, oxygen therapy, or preventive medications.

Sinus headaches

Sinus headache treatment usually addresses both the cause and the symptoms of the headaches. For example, sinus infections are treated with antibiotics; while the headache pain may be treated with decongestants and over-the-counter pain relief medication.

Treatment for Migraine

Several treatment methods may be used to treat migraines, including:

Lifestyle modification

Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the occurrence of migraines. These include avoiding triggers such as certain foods or odors; reducing the amount of caffeine or alcohol you drink; quitting smoking; getting enough sleep; eating regularly; maintaining a healthy weight; exercising regularly; and controlling stress.

Preventive medication

Specific drugs are used to prevent migraine episodes. Taken regularly, they may help reduce the number of migraine days you experience as well as reduce the severity of the migraines when they occur.

Rescue medication

These medications are taken during a migraine attack to stop symptoms that have already begun.


RUTLAND REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER160 Allen Street, Rutland, VT 05701802.775.7111

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