Do you suffer from headaches?
If you have had a headache, or suffer from on-going headaches, you not alone. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
Headaches have multiple causes. These may be brought on by ingesting certain foods, environmental stimuli such as noises, lights or stress and/or behaviors such as insomnia, excessive exercise, or blood sugar changes. About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, cluster, or cervicogenic headaches.
What are the causes and symptoms of a particular type of headache?
A tension headache is often due to tension in the muscles of the neck or face which produces pain. Factors associated can include stress, anxiety, eyestrain, poor posture, injuries and others. Symptoms of a tension headache include constant, dull and achy pain that is felt on both sides of the head, forehead, temples and back of the head. It has been described as feeling like a tight band around the head.
While the cause of a migraine headache is still unknown, there seems to be a relationship between individual genetics and the environment. These types of headaches are commonly associated with certain “triggers.” These can include hormonal changes, food and additives, stress, sleep, physical and sensory factors, changes in the environment and certain medications. The pain experienced with a migraine has been described as intense throbbing or pulsing sensation on one or both sides of the head frequently accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. A migraine can be preceded by an “aura” that can present as a flash of light, blind spots or tingling.
Similar to migraines, the cause of cluster headaches is unknown. It has been suggested that cluster headaches may be caused by problems in regulating temperature, blood pressure, hormones or sleep. Other causes or triggers proposed include alcohol, tobacco and certain drugs such as nitroglycerin. The pain associated with a cluster headache has been described as severe, stabbing or penetrating recurring pain that is located on one side of the head. This type of headache has a rapid onset and can frequently present in patterns or “clusters” over a certain period of time. Often described as starting around or “behind” the eye and can cause redness or watering of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, droopy eyelid, facial swelling or flushing and sensitivity to light and noise.
A cervicogenic headache is a headache arising from a neck disorder, including degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or a compressed or pinched nerve. They will present with or without neck pain, are often brought on by increased stress, improper posture or following a trauma to the neck. Pain experienced with this type of headache is usually felt on one side of the head. Often, the pain can start at the base of the skull and spread to the front of the head.
How can chiropractic care help?
Following a thorough consultation and a chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological examination, the chiropractic doctor will determine the cause of the headaches and come to a diagnosis and make treatment recommendations.
Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive and effective approach to treating the cause of the headache and is aimed at restoring proper spinal alignment with the ultimate goal of improving functionality and alleviating the stress on your system, reducing nerve irritability, restoring range of motion as well as decreasing muscle tensions in the neck.
Do you want to take a step to start alleviating your headache pain?
To learn more about how chiropractic care can help to alleviate your headache pain please contact us to book an appointment.