Headaches are a pain, literally. Almost everyone gets them and 95% of them are primary non complicated pains in our heads. The pain and/or discomfort can be felt any place, including but not limited to the forehead, temple, back of the neck and behind the eyes. Primarily and most commonly there are no related conditions that are causing them. Rarely, they are caused by a deeper underlying problem such as meningitis, brain tumors or strokes.
Let’s talk about how to differentiate your headaches! For example if you are reading this post and your head starts to hurt, perhaps your eyes are not tracking correctly or your computer screen isn’t positioned in a way that your body is able to relax while reading. As a matter a fact, let me re-position myself off of the floor and to the kitchen table where my eyes are directly across from the computer screen and my shoulders are not hiked and my neck is not bent forward. Most headaches if bad enough come with nausea and some sort of sensitivity to either light, sound or smells, but here are a few simple factors that will help you determine what kind of headache you are having:
MIGRAINES: usually pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, light-sensitive, and being a woman. Yes, women, we are predisposed to migraines.
SINUSES: the sensation of pressure around the eyes and cheeks, nasal congestion and frequently discharge of the sinuses into the back of the throat, ears or nose.
HORMONE HEADACHE: mostly in pregnant or women on oral contraceptives. The fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone triggers these throbbing headaches. You may also feel nausea, light sensitivity, smell and sound sensitivity and experience vomiting.
CLUSTER: SEVERE pain in head and around the eyes and cheeks associated with nasal congestion. These usually come frequently with little relief from medications.
Now that we know about the most common kinds of headaches, let’s think about WHY are we getting them?
MIGRAINES: usually are caused by the enlargement of a blood vessel that supplies blood to your brain. Our miraculous know that this could be a dangerous situation so our sympathetic nervous system releases chemicals to potentially rid the body of the enlarged blood vessel. The release of the chemical is what causes the headache pain and inflammation. The side effect of the chemicals are the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased blood circulation.
TENSION: muscle strains in the neck and head cause tension headaches. This may lead to a steady ache in the sides of the head. When the eyes get strained this is also a common cause of a tension headache.
CLUSTER: The exact cause of this type of severe headache is widely misunderstood. Changes in blood circulation could be involved.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. How can you rid yourself of these annoyances called Headaches? Reducing the amount of muscle tension in the neck greatly reduces your chances of getting headaches. The most common type of headache is caused by muscle tension. Muscle strains can be treated through Chiropractic manipulation. Studies have shown that manipulating the spine (getting adjusted) may be even beneficial long-term and have fewer side effects than medications when treating headaches. Chiropractic therapy is very helpful for people who sit in one position for extended periods of time or are required to perform repetitive movements for their job.
Luckily our office has TWO nutritional therapists that can provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet or the addition of complex vitamins and supplements. The herb feverfew, and nutrients such as riboflavin and magnesium are a few of the more popular natural remedies to combat head pain. Our Chiropractors also provide information on posture, work postures, exercise and relaxation techniques. Keeping our patients informed about the numerous ways to decrease joint irritation and muscle tension will help reduce the amount of headaches permanently!