Headache Specialist

Nebraska Pain Institute

Pain Management Specialist

At some point in time, and maybe more often than you’d like, you’ve had a headache. In most cases, you can take care of head pain at home. But if your headaches are chronic and disrupting your everyday life, Dr. C. Weston Whitten at the Nebraska Pain Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska, may be able to offer pain relief options. For more information about treatments for headaches, call the office or use the online scheduler to book an appointment.

Headache Q & A

What is a headache?

Pain you feel in any part of your head is considered a headache, including pain on one side, all around, or isolated in one particular spot. Headaches can come on gradually or quickly, and last less than an hour or up to several days.

Headache pain also varies and can be dull or sharp, viselike, or throbbing.

What are the types of headaches?

There are several different types of headaches, including:

  • Tension: brought on by stress; pain varies

  • Migraine: intense pain that can last hours or days
  • Cluster: pain that comes on suddenly and lasts for up to 90 minutes; may happen at the same time every day
  • Rebound headache: occurs in relation to medicine or substance abuse; most often strike in the morning
  • Sinus: caused by sinus congestion

Tension headaches are the most common and develop when the muscles in your neck, shoulder, head, or jaw are too tight. Stress, anxiety, and depression often cause tension headaches. Not getting enough sleep, poor eating habits, and alcohol use may contribute to them as well.

What causes headaches?

Knowing the cause of your headaches may help Dr. Whitten determine the appropriate treatment, and giving him a thorough description of your symptoms helps him provide an accurate diagnosis.

Headaches are divided into two categories to help determine cause and treatment.

Primary headaches are caused by overactivity or pain sensitivity in the head. They include tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines.

Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying illness or medical condition, such as sinus congestion or a concussion.

If Dr. Whitten determines that you’re experiencing a secondary headache, he aims treatment at the underlying cause.

How are headaches treated?

Over-the-counter medications may be your first line of defense when trying to reduce pain caused by headaches. If over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help, Dr. Whitten may be able to prescribe other medications, such as antiepileptic drugs, beta blockers, or tricyclic antidepressants. These medications can take up to six weeks to improve head pain.

Making changes to your daily habits may also provide some relief from chronic headaches. You can try lifestyle strategies such as:

  • Regular exercise or meditation to reduce stress
  • Eating a healthy diet and not skipping meals
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Following a regular sleep schedule

What is a migraine headache?

A migraine is a headache that causes intense pain, usually on only one side of your head, that can last for hours or even days. In addition to the debilitating head pain, migraines may also cause nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and other symptoms.

For people living with chronic migraines, pain and other symptoms can severely affect work, relationships, and overall quality of life.

How are migraine headaches treated?

Dr. Whitten can also treat migraine headaches with over-the-counter pain medications. However, if your migraines are severe or chronic, other medications may be an option, such as:

  • Opioids
  • Triptans or ergots
  • Antinausea medications
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Botox® injections

If you need relief from migraines or other types of headaches, call the Nebraska Pain Institute or book an appointment online.