What is a headache?
At some point in our lives we all experience the uncomfortable pain of a headache. Although they are not entirely understood, there are a variety of causes that have been postulated such as diet triggers, joint restrictions, trauma, vascular issues, jaw problems, sinus problems, nerve irritation, etc. In this blog we will focus on three of the most common types of headaches.
What are the different types of headaches?
Tension Type Headache- Thought to be the most common type of headache. A tension type headache feels like a a pressing or tightening sensation around the entire skull . It is considered to be mildly painful and the intensity does not change with physical activity. It can be tender to the touch and generally lasts anywhere from 30 mins- 7 days. Often thought of as being stress headaches. These headaches can be treated with trigger point therapy and figuring out different ways to reduce stress such as yoga, exercise, meditation, etc.
Cervicogenic Headache– This type of headache is moderately painful in nature and is typically on one side of the head. Symptoms can often be brought on by sustained awkward neck positions, certain neck movements, or external pressure on given neck and shoulder structures. Everyone is different, so triggers can vary between people. It commonly starts at the base of the skull and will wrap around the head to the persons eye. Often times there is a lack of motion in the upper cervical vertebrae where the majority of cervical movement occurs. There can also be weakness in the deep neck flexor muscles, which are on the front part of the neck.
Migraine- These headaches cause moderate to severe pain to the individual and are more commonly found on one side of the head. If the person is only suffering pain in a migraine patter, this is referred to as a migraine without an aura. A migraine with an aura can come with other symptoms along with pain following a migraine pattern. This includes aversions to light and sound, visual disturbances, such as, blind spots (scotomas), zigzag lines, shimmering spots, nausea, and even temporary decreases in vision. Although not entirely understood, theories as to why migraines occur include genetics, chemical imbalances, food triggers, and vascular issues.
How can chiropractic help?
Chiropractors are trained at recognizing and diagnosing a variety of headache types. The headache types listed here are just the more common headache types and headaches that shows evidence of chiropractic being beneficial for patients. Depending on the individual and their symptoms, a chiropractor will look at contributing factors such as, trigger points in muscles, dietary triggers, environmental factors, joint movement, and water intake. A chiropractor will be able to help identify, treat, and properly refer you to another medial professional if necessary.