Gallagher RM. Headache Pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2005;105(suppl_4):S7–S11. doi: .
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The headache problem with its debilitation and pain has been noted throughout medical history. It is one of the most common outpatient complaints and affects more than 45 million Americans. The lost days to work and family and the immeasurable suffering of patients can be lessened with the understanding and knowledge of a caring physician. Osteopathic physicians with expertise in holistic and musculoskeletal concepts are particularly well prepared to help.
The establishment of an accurate diagnosis through a careful history and physical examination is essential before the physician can develop an effective treatment plan. Treatment can be abortive, prophylactic, or symptomatic, or a combination. Abortive treatment is geared to reverse the headache once begun; prophylactic treatment usually involves the use of daily medications to prevent, decrease frequency, or lessen severity of attacks; and symptomatic treatment is for relief of pain or accompanying symptoms.
Most headaches experienced are of the tension type, whereas most debilitating headaches are of the migraine type. Cluster headache, though experienced by a small percentage of sufferers, is especially severe, and is useful in differential diagnosis.
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