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

Pulsating Headaches

Gabriel Santos - Friday, January 10, 2014

Payman Sadeghi, MD

Enduring Pulsating Headaches

A pulsating or throbbing headache is enough to bring life to a standstill and make you feel miserable for as long as it lasts. The pain is a pounding, explosive sensation in the head that may affect all or just a portion of the head. What makes it worse is that the pain can extend to the neck, arms, eyes and facial muscles as well. Some may get the headache due to food allergies. Sometimes staring at the computer for too long can be the trigger. Loud noise, caffeine withdrawal, hangovers and stress can all be causes of a pulsating headache.

What Causes a Pulsating Headache?

  • TENSION HEADACHE: This is often a dull headache that starts at the back of the head and then extends to the rest of the head. It occurs due to muscle tension felt in the scalp, neck and shoulder. It is related to underlying stress and generally occurs in people who stare at the computer and work for a long time keeping the same position.
    • Migraine: Pulsating headache is one of the most common symptoms of a migraine. Like in the case of most headaches, the exact cause behind the pain is unknown but the trigger is likely to be some irregular activity in the brain. Migraines are more common among women than men, and can be hereditary. These headaches are accompanied with vomiting, nausea, and light and noise sensitivity.
    • CLUSTER HEADACHES: Pulsating headaches are common with cluster headaches. Not only are they quite painful, they can last for months together. The pain is sudden and is felt on one side of the head. Smokers and drinkers are most prone to cluster headaches.
    • Sinus Infections: Pulsating headaches can also be a symptom of sinus infections that affect the front of the head. 

More often than not, pulsating headaches are only a result of the above few conditions and can be cured or reduced with a treatment plan. However, if the headache is recurrent and medicines do not seem to be working, it is important to check for more serious secondary causes such as meningitis, stroke or brain tumor. This is a rare thing to happen, however, it is best to rule out any possibility of an underlying ailment.

How To Relieve a Pulsating Headache?

Lying with one's eyes closed in a dark room can help get rid of the headache. Massaging the neck and scalp area can also bring relief. Over-the counter medicines are safe and effective as long as you do not take them too often. Following a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a good diet go a long way in keeping headaches at bay. 

The New Jersey Headache Institute has been specializing in the treatment of all kinds of headaches. Equipped with a fine team of doctors, you can be assured of personalized care and the latest treatment plans that will effectively help in tackling your pulsating headache. Call us at 908.315.5707 and book a consultation today.

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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