Friday, July 9, 2010

Sleep and Headaches

Although I did not go this year, I saw that the American Headache Society Annual Scientific meeting recently occurred. I received an update from Medscape about the importance of screening for sleep disorders in chronic headache sufferers. This goes along with my clinical experience treating patients with sleep disorders.

There is an association between sleep and headaches, but it's not been entirely worked out. Headaches can disrupt sleep, and sleep disorders can worsen headaches. A common referral I get is waking up with headaches, which sometimes can be from a sleep-related breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Migraine headache patients seem especially vulnerable to disorders that break up sleep.

Most headache physicians know the importance of adequate sleep in treating patients with chronic headaches. Hopefully, the recent Headache meeting will remind headache specialists to consider sleep disorders as they attempt to manage their headache patients.

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