Sports-related concussion symptoms linger twice as long for adolescent girls

Adolescent female athletes suffer concussion symptoms twice as long as their male counterparts, according to a new study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Researchers found the extended recovery period may be due to underlying conditions including migraines, depression, anxiety and stress.

The research analyzed the medical records of 110 male and 102 female athletes, ages 11 to 18, with first-time concussion diagnoses. The median duration of symptoms was 11 days for boys and 28 days for girls. The data also showed that symptoms resolved within three weeks for 75 percent of boys, compared to 42 percent of girls.

“These findings confirm what many in sports medicine have believed for some time,” said lead researcher John Neidecker, DO, a sports concussion specialist in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It highlights the need to take a whole person approach to managing concussions, looking beyond the injury to understand the mental and emotional impacts on recovery when symptoms persist.”

Full story at Science Daily

Do headaches worsen with weather?

As if the havoc rain wreaks on my hair weren’t sufficient… how many times can I suffer actual physical pain — in the form of a throbbing, debilitating headache — during a thunderstorm before I can officially blame the weather for it?

Considering that more than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from excruciating migraines, verifying the possible link between seasonality and headaches is no joke (especially since I’ve already cut out other well-known triggers, such as red wine and chocolate — to no avail).

I asked pain management experts to weigh in on this connection: Do weather changes spur on my migraines, or is this rumor full of hot air?

The verdict: Weather definitely causes some headaches

If you suffer from headaches, then warm weather, drastic temperature changes, low barometric pressure and even lightning bolts are not your friends. Scientists are still trying to figure out the precise mechanism behind weather-induced migraines, but the link is genuin

Full story of headaches and the weather at CNN Health

Headache docs list top 5 tests and treatments to avoid

Doctors who specialize in treating head pain, such as chronic migraines, are out with a list of five procedures and treatments they think have risks or costs that may outweigh the benefits.

The American Headache Society’s list is part of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Choosing Wisely campaign that has seen cancer doctors, eye doctors and chest surgeons naming the overused or unproven practices their peers should avoid and patients should question.

The newest Choosing Wisely list was published Thursday in the journal Headache.

“The article and recommendations identify situations that are felt by experts to be cases where patients and doctors should think very carefully before they decide to use that particular treatment or intervention,” said Dr. Elizabeth Loder, an author of the new recommendations.

Loder is the president of the American Headache Society, and chief of the Division of Headache and Pain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Full story of headache treatments at NBC News

Painkillers May Worsen Headache After Concussion

Too much pain medication may have been part of the problem for teens reporting chronic headache months after suffering concussions, researchers reported here.

Nearly half of adolescents with post-concussion headaches lasting 3-12 months showed either complete resolution of symptoms or a reduction to pre-concussion levels after discontinuing their analgesics, according to Geoffrey Heyer, MD, and Syed Idris, MD, both of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Because withdrawal of painkillers alleviated these patients’ headaches, a diagnosis of medication overuse headache may be made under International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) criteria, the researchers indicated in a poster presentation at the Child Neurology Society annual meeting.

The findings emerged from a retrospective chart review of 104 consecutive adolescent patients treated at Nationwide Children’s for concussion. Of these, 77 reported chronic headache after the injury, and 54 of this group were deemed to have “probable” medication overuse headache.

Under the ICHD, medication overuse headache may be diagnosed in patients with frequent headaches (at least 15 days per month) that either developed or worsened while using headache medications such as over-the-counter or prescription analgesics. The diagnosis is considered “probable” if either such medications have not yet been withdrawn or if the headaches continued for up to 2 months after medications were stopped.

Full story of painkillers and concussions at Med Page Today

When a Splitting Headache Is a Migraine (VIDEO)

It feels like “somebody stabbing me through the eyeball with a knife,” “pencils stabbing my ears,” or “explosions going off in my head.” These are some of the ways that Dr. Audrey Halpern’s patients have described the vascular headaches known as migraines. The pain is so severe that it can “cause disability,” said Dr. Halpern, a clinical assistant professor of neurology and migraine expert at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Even if you can make it to work or a social event with a migraine, most of the time you’re not going to be functioning at full capacity.”

The National Headache Foundation (NHF) estimates that more than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines. Women are three times more likely than men to have migraines, which usually strike people between the ages of 15 and 55. While research continues to shed new light on what causes migraines and what they do to the brain, many people don’t understand how debilitating a migraine can be or what makes it different from a bad headache.

According to the NHF, a migraine is generally diagnosed after a patient has had at least five previous headaches that lasted between four and 72 hours. Migraine-related pain is usually felt on one side of the head, and it can be accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia).

A number of things can trigger migraines including lack of sleep, sunlight, certain foods, hormone levels, noises, staring at a screen, and stress. Brain cells set off the release of chemicals that cause blood vessels around the brain to swell and transmit pain signals.

Full story of headaches and migraines at Everyday Health

How to manage chronic pain without pills

Q: I’ve had shoulder pain for a couple of years, and the constant low-level agony is making me nuts. What should I do? — Johnny M., Akron, Ohio

Managing Chronic Pain Without PillsA: More than 100 million North Americans live with chronic pain, and, as you indicated, it does a lot more than just make you feel achy. Chronic pain is associated with a three- to fourfold increase in the rate of depression and anxiety, and most folks also have problems with sleep, memory, attention, high blood pressure and resulting cardio problems, not to mention sexual dysfunction. Chronic pain actually can damage your most valued relationships.

The most common sources (not related to cancer) are degenerative spine disease, lower-back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis (perhaps in your shoulder), fibromyalgia, HIV, migraine, nerve pain and complications of shingles.

The first step is to get the right diagnosis from a specialist (maybe a second opinion, too). If pain medications are suggested, ask about a pain-management specialist who knows how to do nerve-dampening blocks and how to safely put you on (and take you off of) potentially addictive drugs.

But we’re huge fans of using wellness to control pain!

Full story of chronic pills without pills at the News Sentinel

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Best treatment of your headache varies with the cause

Life can be a pain at times, literally. Every day, one in 20 adults suffers a headache. Stress is usually to blame, but headaches can be caused by a number of things such as dehydration, hormones or environmental factors.

Treatments for Different Headaches and CausesThere are many different types of headaches, and while most are nothing to worry about, you should be aware of symptoms that could signal a serious problem.

Sinus headaches are common and typically accompany allergy symptoms (sneezing, runny nose). Pressure behind the eyes and in the forehead worsens when the head is tilted forward. Over-the-counter medications will relieve symptoms, but the underlying allergy needs to be treated along with any resulting sinus infection.

Tension headaches are the most common. Dull pressure or tightness is felt in a band around the head, resulting from tension in scalp and neck muscles. Over-the-counter medications are a quick fix, but finding ways to relax and avoid stress is recommended. Patients sometimes will need preventive medications to help reduce frequency and severity of these headaches.

Full story of treatments for different headaches at TB 10 News

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Why you should take headaches more seriously

Taking Headaches More SeriouslyA headache can be caused by localised conditions like a toothache, infection in the ear, problems or infections within the nose and other structures on the face, intracranial problems (problems within the skull) which are the major contributors of headaches and vascular causes – popularly known as a migraines. Other causes include high blood pressure, strokes, aneurysms etc. It is the commonest cause for worry amongst patients and often causes so much discomfort that in severe cases it may hamper a person’s day to day activities. (Read: Headaches – why you should take them more seriously)

The symptoms provide clues

The type of headache often indicates the cause for the headache. Headaches, with vomiting and weakness of the limbs often signify a space occupying lesion in the head. Those that are shifting in nature and with an aura are can indicate a migrainous headache and those that occur in the front of the head, and increases on bending would indicate frontal sinusitis (infection of the frontal sinus). (Read: Migraine: Facts you should know)

They affect children too

Headaches were earlier the prerogative of adults. We now find that a larger number of children suffering from  headaches. In most cases they suffer from stress headaches, that are usually due to emotional issues at home, problems with friends at school, tension to perform and the peer pressure syndrome. Other factors include, problems in proper visual acuity or being able to see things clearly, squinting (or slight squint in the eyes) etc. Here is where it is important that the child get his/her eyes tested.  Another startling fact is that there is a marked increase in the number of children suffering from migraines. The positive aspect is that headaches in children are usually without a brain disorder, and can be taken care of fairly easily.

Full story of taking headaches seriously at Health India

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Headaches are common, but they are not all alike

Headaches Are Not All The SameThere’s no escaping the headache. At one point in your life, you will have one — probably more than one.

“Headache is a very common thing,” says Dr. Heidi Nicola, who added she has seen a multitude of patients for headaches.

But not all headaches are created equal and some can be a sign of something more serious. We talked to Nicola, an internal medicine specialist with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, for more information. Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

Q: What are some common causes for headaches?

A: For me, when I think of headaches, I think about headaches as two main causes — the headache that is the symptom and the headache that is the diagnosis.

Tension headache, migraine headache, cluster headache and over-medication headache are the four most common types of headaches. When the headache is a symptom it might be more dangerous (it could be a brain bleed or a tumor in the brain) and it has different characteristics.

Full story of headache differences at the Chicago Tribune

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Migraine With Aura May Be Linked to All Stroke Types

Migraines Linked to All Stroke TypesWomen who have migraine headaches with aura are at increased risk for stroke, a new study indicates.

Migraine with aura is a migraine that’s preceded or accompanied by visual effects such as flashes of light or blind spots, or by tingling in the hand or face.

 

A study of almost 28,000 women in the United States found those who had migraine with aura were at greater risk for all types of strokes, according to the researchers, who are scheduled to present the findings Wednesday at a meeting of the International Headache Congress in Boston.

“Migraine with aura has been consistently linked with increased risk of ischemic stroke and there is also some evidence that it increases risk of hemorrhagic stroke,” lead author Dr. Tobias Kurth, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a congress news release.

An ischemic stroke is caused by blocked blood flow to the brain while a hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain.

“In this study we sought to determine the importance of migraine with aura in stroke occurrence relative to other stroke risk factors,” Kurth added.

Full story of migraines linked to strokes at U.S. News Health

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/