Understanding Headaches

Did you know that there are many different types of headaches?

Many people just think of migraines and tension headaches when they think of headaches but there are many more kinds including: cervicogenic headaches, cluster headaches, chronic daily headaches, exertional headaches, eyestrain headaches, hypertension headaches, post-traumatic headaches, TMJ headaches and many more!

The treatment for any type of headache is different so it is important to know what type of headache you have. So how do you know?

Let’s go through some of the more common types of headaches based on their symptoms and how they can be treated.

1. Tension Type Headaches
This is probably the most common type of headache we see. Tension type headaches present with a dull non-throbbing pain, are usually bilateral and have a feeling of “tightness” around the head.

These are often successfully treated with chiropractic care. Soft tissue techniques can decrease the tension in the upper trapezius, levator scapulae and suboccipital muscles in combination with mobilization or adjusting and together can decrease the tension and usually relieve the headache quite quickly.

2. Migraines
There are two types of migraines: with and without auras. With auras means that there are warning signs that the migraine is coming on such as visual disturbances or numbness. Without auras means that there are no warning signs. Migraines are usually one sided and present with a throbbing pain. They are usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to sound and light.

These can be treated with medications, ice, diet changes, herbs vitamins and chiropractic care.

3. Cluster Headaches
These are kind of bizarre headaches that present with excruciating pain around the eye which usually causes tearing of the eye and running of the nose. They last for up to several hours, and occur often and then can disappear for up to a year.

These types of headaches are sometimes misdiagnosed and can be treated with oxygen, nasal sprays or medication.

4. TMJ Headaches
These are a “muscle contraction” type of headache with pain in the temples and in front of the ear. They are often associated with clicking of the jaw.

These can be treated with muscle work for the muscles of the jaw including massester, temporalis and the pterygoid muscles and relaxation techniques. Many people are unaware that this is a condition that can be successfully treated through chiropractic care.

There are only some of the many different types of headaches. Be sure to ask us if you have any questions about headaches or how they can be treated!

Reference: National Headache Foundation. Web site. Available at: http://www.headaches.org/2008/12/11/the-complete-headache-chart/. Accessed July 21 2017

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