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Expert advice on advanced diagnosis and treatment of painful headaches and migraines from the leading headache clinic in New Jersey.

Headaches and Smoking

Gabriel Santos - Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another Great Reason to Quit

There are many great reasons to quit smoking. Smoking messes with your sinus cavity and nasal passages, circulation, and blood pressure. It increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and, of course, lung cancer. But aside from their potential to kill you slowly, smoking cigarettes can also lead to headaches. The bad news for non-smokers is that second hand smoke can have a similar effect. Tobacco use has been linked to migraines and cluster headaches, so now there is one more reason to give up one of the most damaging of all vices.

How Smoking Triggers Headaches

A number of the effects of smoking tobacco can lead directly to headache pain. Nicotine, one of tobacco’s primary components, causes blood vessels in the brain to narrow or constrict. Meanwhile, the smoke itself is an irritant to the nerves in the back of the throat. Both of these can act as headache triggers in smokers and non-smokers alike. The increase in carbon dioxide caused by smoking results in less oxygen getting to the brain. Cigarettes are also full of other toxins that make their way to the brain when the smoke is inhaled. That’s two more headache triggers.

If you are already suffering from a headache, whether it is brought on by smoking or not, you may be surprised to learn that smoking could reduce the effectiveness of your pain medication. If your over the counter pain medication does not seem to be having an effect, try cutting out the cigarettes and see what happens.

What You Can Do

There is no way around it, the best course of action to reduce headaches and improve your health is to stop smoking. Removing the stimulus of nicotine will relieve headaches. If you are a smoker suffering from cluster headaches, quitting smoking should be your first course of action. For non-smokers with a high sensitivity to cigarette smoke things might be a little trickier because your headaches are not caused by your own direct actions. Avoiding second hand smoke is the only option. Luckily, laws and changing societal views have made most of our public spaces smoke free.

The doctors at New Jersey Headache Institute are here to help you with smoke related headaches or any type of headache you may be suffering from. We specialize in headaches of all types and will diagnose and determine the cause of your headache so that together we can rid you of headache pain. Call New Jersey Headache Institute today to schedule your consultation.

Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the co-founder of the New Jersey Headache Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas.  Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi's medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.

Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.

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