Headaches are a real pain in the…Well, the head!
There are many different reasons one may suffer from pain associated with a headache, although a less-known fact is that there are many types of headaches. Each of these can have a distinct cause and unique symptoms that can help you treat the pain.
"So what?" you might say, "it's easy to stop by a pharmacy to pick a pain reliever" You could also decide to sleep it off! But have you ever wondered about the real causes of headaches? If your system was normal and okay, you shouldn't be having headaches, right? I think we need to look inward, we need to know better.
So...What are they?
You can describe a headache as the symptom of pain in any part of the head or neck. Most headaches are not caused by major illnesses. Sometimes dehydration, poor posture or stress can induce them.
Other times it could be due to pain from bone structures or muscles of the neck. While medication can relieve the pain, you may need Chiropractic treatment. In essence, drugs numb the pain temporarily. But Chiropractic care would take care of the root problem in many instances.
There are several types of headaches, categorized into Primary and Secondary. A primary headache is a condition itself, it is not caused by another condition. Meanwhile, a secondary headache is usually a symptom of something else.
We shall be looking at them holistically. We will also highlight the most common types, how you can identify them, and possible methods for prevention and treatment. This will help you identify the exact type of headache you're dealing with. Furthermore, it will also help you get relief.
Types of Headaches
Tension headaches occur due to tension in the neck and face muscles. You may feel a dull aching sensation all over your head. Also, you may feel pain around your neck, scalp, or shoulder muscle. Pains can be felt on both sides of the head, forehead, temples, and sometimes the back of the head.
Triggers include stress, anxiety, eyestrain, poor posture. This could be a result of sitting for long hours in front of a computer or behind the wheel.
What you can do:
- Low-load craniocervical mobilization – Involves applying a gentle force to the joints of the neck. This allows for rhythmic movement of the cervical segments. Stretching is also usually part of this Chiropractic therapy.
- Pain-relieving drugs can be helpful in less severe cases.
- Try to avoid or limit stressful events.
- Take breaks to stretch when you've sat down in a particular posture for so long.
- Drink at least 8-ounce glasses of water to help avoid dehydration.
- Sleep on your back or side with a pillow. Also, try to put your neck in a neutral position.
This stems from the neck or cervical spine structures. It is often due to problems with the vertebrae at the top of the spine. The pain is usually on one side of the head. It can start at the base of the skull and spread to the front of the head, which is accompanied by neck pain and stiffness. It also can cause pain around the eyes.
Careless neck movements can provoke this kind of headache. Also, jobs that involve straining of the neck, like manual labor or driving. Injury to the neck, tumors, fractures, or infections can also cause it.
What you can do:
Chiropractic treatment is usually the best remedy for Cervicogenic Headaches. This is because it has to do with the spine and neck. Pills will not help much.
The chiropractor uses their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a specific joint of your spine. The cervical spine (upper part of the spine) is usually the focus during this therapy.
Here the health practitioner calmly moves your joints. The purpose is usually to improve movement and reduce pain.
Deep neck flexion exercises
The goal here is to stretch the deep neck flexor muscles that play an essential role in supporting the neck.
Migraines come with an intense throbbing sensation on one or both sides of the head. They are accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound. Nausea and vomiting can also occur. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have an increased risk.
Triggers include excessive stress and sleep disruptions. Hormone fluctuations and exposure to chemicals are some other possible triggers.
What you can do
Multidisciplinary care intervention
This combines physical therapy exercises, relaxation techniques, stress management, and dietary counselling. All these can be done under the guidance of a Chiropractor.
This massage focuses on trigger points within the back, shoulder, neck, and head. It does a lot to relieve symptoms of migraines.
Medications can also relieve migraines
Your doctor can prescribe triptans. These are drugs that decrease inflammation and change the flow of blood in your brain. They could be in the form of nasal sprays, pills, and injections. Also, in less severe cases, pain-relieving drugs can suffice.
Cluster headaches cause a severe, stabbing, penetrating, and piercing pain on one side of the head. It can cause redness and watering of the eyes, as well as a stuffy or runny nose. Like Migraines, it also causes sensitivity to light and sound.
Triggers include excessive intake of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Blood pressure and sleep disorder.
What you can do:
- Consult your doctor. He could recommend oxygen therapy or local anesthetic to provide pain relief.
- Calcium channel blockers can also relieve your cluster headaches
This kind of headache happens when cavities in your head known as "sinuses" get inflamed. You may likely feel severe and constant pain in your forehead or on the bridge of your nose. Also, you may have symptoms like runny nose, fullness in the ears, or fever.
Triggers include allergic reactions or sinus infections are the primary triggers.
What you can do
- Thin out the mucus that builds up and causes sinus pressure
- Antibiotics may also help to clear out the infection and ultimately the headache.
- OTC (over-the-counter) decongestants can also clear this out.
Wrapping Up: Know the symptoms (And how to treat them!)
Headaches may be common, but it doesn't mean you should pay any less attention to them. Less severe headaches sometimes go away without medication. Other times they will persist. It is then up to you to know the symptoms, so you know what actions to take.