Brain Pain

What Are Headache Treatment Barriers?

Over the years, I have seen many headache sufferers, some with success, but others with less success. This has led me to discover a series of obstacles or blocks that prevent headache sufferers successfully managing their headaches. Some of these headache blockages are personal. They are within the control of the headache sufferer. Others are global blocks, or ones that are beyond the patient’s control.


No matter if the blocks are personal or global, they are real and prevent many patients getting the upper hand in this debilitating disease. These blocks are what most headache patients who have made it through their treatment have overcome. Patients who have overcome world barriers successfully have received support from their family, friends, and health care providers.

Patients who don’t make progress are either unwilling or unable to overcome these barriers. These barriers are both personal and global. You may feel they are unfair. My point is that these barriers are real and must be faced if chronic headache sufferers are to experience lasting relief.

Chronic Headache

First, chronic headache sufferers often experience more than one type of headache. Note that I am referring to chronic headaches and not the occasional headaches that most people experience. Some headache sufferers may be able to use an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage their symptoms. They may need to rest while their medication takes effect, but they eventually overcome the invader.

Chronic headache sufferers, on the other hand, have many things wrong that need to be addressed. This group headache is often a sign of multiple underlying problems. Because multiple causes can cause headaches, effective treatment must include removing or reducing all of them. It’s like removing one stone from one’s shoes. The walker will still be able to walk if the other stones are removed. To walk normally, all of the stones must be removed.


The headache treatment must also outline a series of steps that will address the multiple issues. Multiple headaches require a thorough analysis of all possible causes. Each type of headache requires a different treatment approach. This requires patience, effort, and willingness to participate in the treatment process. A comprehensive evaluation of headache conditions is necessary to create a treatment plan.

Many times, chronic headache sufferers have analgesic rebound headaches. Analgesic rebound headaches can be caused by excessive pain relievers or analgesics. Treatment cannot begin until the problem is solved. Sometimes, analgesic rebound can be so severe that the patient must be admitted to a hospital so that the underlying condition can be treated. Chronic sufferers often have lower quality lives than those who don’t suffer from headaches. Their sleep quality is often poor and they often have mood disorders and low energy.


There are often three types of headaches: tension, vascular and neuralgia. Tension headaches can be a trigger for a vascular headache episode. There is often a “bidirectionality” to the headache conditions. It can be time-consuming to sort out different headache types. The patient may experience headaches throughout this time. If they are not satisfied with the progress made, they may abandon the treatment.

Chronic headache sufferers are often stigmatized for taking headache medicine. Examples of socially acceptable medicines include those for diabetes or heart disease. The society understands that illness can strike at any time and that medicine is needed to treat it. The support and understanding provided to chronic headache sufferers seems to be much lower. People who miss work or are unable to attend a major social event because of a headache often fail the social acceptance test.


Headache pain is real. It can be severe and debilitating. A family can be put under significant strain if they miss social events, are unable to work or have to do household chores. Simple tasks can become impossible for a headache sufferer in the midst a severe headache storm. My experience has shown that family members are often involved in the diagnosis and treatment of successful patients.

A strong positive effect of having a support person to help a patient deal with headaches is often found. Family members can reduce the stigma associated with headaches by showing empathy for the patient and explaining to co-workers, friends, and others that it is a serious and debilitating condition.