Kim Lenz, R.Ph. - Med-Dose Location

Q: What are headaches and why do I get them?

A: There are 150 different headache categories, with over 45 million Americans suffering from chronic headaches.


Some of the most frequently seen headaches are:

Tension Headaches are caused by muscle contractions that create mild to moderate pain which comes and goes over a long period of time. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache experienced. Some causes are life stress, erratic eating patterns, and eyestrain.

The exact cause of Migraine Headaches is unknown. What we do know is that many sufferers experience a throbbing/pounding migraine 1 to 4 times a month, with symptoms that may include sensitivity to light, noise, or odors, nausea and vomiting, even abdominal pain along with moderate to severe head pain. Migraines can be inherited, with certain situations triggering an episode. Eating certain foods especially aged foods - red wine, cheese and chocolate are common triggers among suffers. Strong odors such as chemical cleaners, perfumes and second hand smoke can also be triggers.

Typical sinus symptoms such as a runny nose, pressure over the sinus area, and a fullness in the ears usually accompany aSinus Headache. The pain is described as deep and constant around the sinus area. Hormone Headaches are experienced by women with hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause. They can be chemically induced from birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.


Q: What should I do for my headache?

A: If you experience frequent headaches or suddenly start having headaches it is best to be seen by your family doctor for a check up and headache evaluation. Treatment will depend on a variety of things including your health and headache history. Further testing may be necessary. Your physician will then recommend treatment which may include medication and lifestyle changes.


Q: What medications are used for migraines?

A: Your physician may recommend an over-the-counter product containing acetametaphin, aspirin, or ibuprofen. There are also prescription products he/she may prescribe. As with any medication, remember to follow the dosage guidelines.


Q: Are there basic things I can do to prevent headaches?

A: Keeping a headache diary might help you identify what situations seem to cause your headaches. Noting details about time of day, what you've eaten, what is going on around you when a headache starts might show a pattern. Some basics include a regular sleeping routine, avoiding strong odors, limiting red wine, cheese and chocolate in your diet. If your headaches are tension induced working on how you deal with stress may be of help. Consider a yoga class, relaxing breathing techniques, or even a brisk walk.

Natural products that some people have found relief with are B6, Feverfew, and powdered magnesium. Homeopathy is another natural remedy, there are many different formulas to choose from depending on the type of headache - the staff at your local Ritzman Pharmacy can help you choose the one that is right for you.