Health Plus: Headaches - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Headaches

Migraine attacks interrupt life for millions of Americans every day.

But many of these severe headaches go undiagnosed and untreated.

In Health Plus, how to know when your headache requires a doctor's visit.

Penny Porter's migraine headaches are so severe, she has to literally shut out the world to cope.

"Horrible. We're talking in the bedroom with the curtains closed. No sound, no light."

The 42-year-old has been experiencing severe headaches for more than twenty years, some lasting up to three days.

"You can't see behind you, just forward. And some times I'll get tingling in my hands. My speech some times gets a little hard for me to talk."

And with a 12-year-old daughter, she turned to a neurologist for relief.

"We would be able to diagnose why do they have headaches. If they have tension headaches, we do have good physical therapy and exercises they can do. If they have migraines we do have medications to prevent the migraines from coming on," says Dr. Sangeeta Goel with Covenant Clinic's Iowa Spine and Brain Institute in Waterloo.

Doctor Goel says if you use an over-the-counter medication for headache pain relief at least nine times a month, you need to see a doctor.

"Taking any kind of pain medication for more than nine days a month causes rebound headaches which is really difficult to treat."

So many things can trigger headaches, both minor and severe, some times lifestyle changes in your diet, sleep cycle and stress level may need to happen in addition to prescription relief.

"It's not in your head. It's a medical issue that I think goes often untreated."

Fortunately for Penny from Grundy Center, migraine treatments are available to help her handle the demands of being a mom.

In Waterloo, Tara Thomas, Iowa's News Channel Seven

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