What Causes Headaches?

The original article can be found at Platinum Chiropractic.

Do you suffer from a lot of headaches? We will go over the most common headaches and the best natural treatment approaches. Also, we will cover the more dangerous signs that your headache may need to be addressed urgently.

Sonya was referred to our clinic by a friend who had also suffered from a lot of headaches. We did a thorough history and then conducted an orthopedic and neurological exam. Sonya was fit and healthy but found she was getting headaches often. She was spending at least one day every couple of weeks in bed.

She had already tried medication, but it made her tired and dopey. We found that she had two distinct sorts of headaches. She had a cervicogenic migraine that progressed over time to a severe cluster headache that would really knock her out.

Finally, having a diagnosis she was able to do her own research to find some of the triggers. The last time we saw Sonya, she hadn’t had a migraine for four months.

So let’s help you find out what sort of headache you have.

There are over 150 different types of headaches. You should get an expert opinion if your headaches are severe, have lasted more than two days or keep recurring. In this article, we will go over the most common headaches.

1. Tension Headaches

These are the most common headaches; they feel like a tightening around the head or like a dull pressure. The pain is mild to moderate and normally improves after a day. Underlying causes can be grinding your teeth- your dentist will let you know if you are doing this. To help hold your fingers like a claw, put the fingers in a fan shape around your temples and make small circles. This can help release some of the muscle tension.

2. Migraines

Migraines are most common in people 30 to 40 years old and often will improve in their 50s and 60s. Again, there are over 30 types of migraines, from abdominal migraines to Cluster Migraines, Traumatic Migraines and even hemiplegic Migraines.

Migraines can last anywhere from 3 hours to a few days, and they usually occur from once a month to 3 to 4 times per month. Along with head pain, people often are sensitive to light, noise or smells; they can have stomach pain, nausea or vomiting and often look pail and feel dizzy. The key with migraines is to find out what sort of migraine you have and then act quickly at the start of the migraine. This can often greatly reduce the severity and sometimes stop the migraine from progressing.

If it is a vascular type of migraine – that is, one that is a throbbing type of pain then often simple things like running cold water over your wrists and putting a cool, wet cloth on the back of the neck can help.

Please be aware that if your headaches wake you at night or you start to get weakness changes in sensation, or continue for extended periods, seek medical care urgently. Some very severe conditions like brain tumours can often first present as headaches.

Mixed Headache Syndrome

There is a mixed headache syndrome, which displays the Character of both a migraine and a tension type headache. Both adults and children can get these sorts of headaches.

Chiropractic care addresses migraines in several ways. Firstly, it addresses the muscle spasm that typically occurs with a migraine. This muscle spasm reduces the blood flow to the head and neck and often increases the severity of symptoms. In chiropractic treatment in our clinic, we also focus on whether it is your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight part) or your parasympathetic nervous system that is involved with the headache, and we give you techniques and procedures to help balance this out. As well as addressing this in our treatment approach.

3. Cervicogenic Migraine

is obviously from the neck, and around 40% of migraines are linked to the neck. We often find that improving the function of the cervical spine can make a major difference in the frequency of migraines as it removes a very common trigger, which is your neck position at night or during the day.

4. Cluster Headaches  

are severe headaches that often last just a few hours but can be so severe that people cannot sit still. People often get these a few times a day for weeks or sometimes months and then suddenly stop, only to recur months or years later. Chlorophyll supplements have been shown to help, as has L-Tryptophan. Some people feel breathing exercises help them deal with the attacks.

5. Sinus Headaches 

often feel deep in the head at the front or under the eyes. These will typically get better or worse with head position. Your head down increases the pain. Sinus drainage kits that flush the sinus with salty water or saline can help. If this is recurrent, you may have a deep-seated infection, as it is the best place for bacteria to grow. A course of antibiotics will help if this is the case.

6. Chronic Progressive Migraines

are sometimes called inflammatory headaches. These headaches tend to get worse over time and often become more frequent. They make up less than 5% of headaches generally but can be due to another illness or problem within the skull or brain.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, you can see that when you seek help for a headache, you must see the opinion of someone who has in-depth knowledge of the different types of headaches. You don’t want something serious going undiagnosed.

With modern treatment methods and an integrated approach to addressing the cause of your headaches, they don’t need to be something that stops you from doing the things you love.