What Kind Of Headache Do I Have?

Headaches come in MANY different sizes, shapes, and colors. So WHY is this important? Very simply, if we know the type of headache you have, we will be able to provide you with the proper treatment.

Headaches are classified into two main groups: primary and secondary headaches. The primary headache list includes: 1) Migraine; 2) Tension-type; 3) Cluster; 4) “Other primary headaches,” of which eight are listed. One might think that with this simple breakdown of the different types of headaches it should be easy to diagnose a type of headache. Unfortunately, that’s NOT true! In fact, a 2004 study published that 80% of people with a recent history of either self or doctor diagnosed sinus headache had NO signs of sinus infection and actually met the criteria for migraine headaches! So, the more we can learn about the different types of headaches, the more likely that we will arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

Tension-Type Headaches: This is the most common type affecting between 30-78% of the general population. It is usually described as a constant ache or pressure either around the head, in the temples, or the back of the head and/or neck. There is typically NO nausea/vomiting, and tension-type headaches rarely stop you from performing normal activities. These headaches usually respond well to chiropractic adjustments and to over-the-counter medications like Advil, aspirin, Aleve, and/or Tylenol, though we’d prefer you first reach for an anti-inflammatory herb like ginger, turmeric, bioflavonoid, and the like as these have less stomach, liver, and/or kidney related side-effects. These headaches are typically caused by contraction of the neck and scalp muscles, which can be result of stress, trauma, lack of sleep, eyestrain, and more.

Cluster Headaches: These are less common, typically affect men more than women, and occur in groups or cycles. These are VERY DISABLING and usually arise suddenly and create severe, debilitating pain usually on only one side of the head. Other characteristics include: a watery eye, sinus congestion, or runny nose on the same side of the face as the headache. An “attack” often includes restlessness and difficulty finding a pain-reducing, comfortable position. There is no known cause of cluster headaches, though a genetic or hereditary link has been proposed. The good news is that chiropractic adjustments can reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of cluster headaches!

Sinus Headaches: Sinusitis (inflamed sinuses) can be due to allergies or an infection that results in a headache. This may or may not include a fever, but the main distinguishing feature here is pain over the infected sinus. There are four sets of sinuses. Many people know about the frontal (above the eyes on the forehead) and maxillary (under the eyes in our cheeks) but the two sinuses deep in head (ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses) are much less known or talked about. These two deep sinuses refer pain to the back of the head, and when infected, it feels like the back of the head could explode. Lying flat is too painful so sitting up is necessary. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the sinuses, upper neck, and lymphatic drainage techniques work GREAT in these cases!

Rebound headaches are the result of pain killer overuse. Of course, one would think of pain killers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) as well as many prescription drugs as being “friendly” and commonly reached for when a headache or any other ache or pain occurs. But, as the old saying goes, “…too much of a good thing can be bad!” These culprits, instead of helping, can actually hurt you! One theory for the cause of rebound headaches is that too much of these meds can cause the brain to shift into an excited state that triggers the headache. Another theory is that these headaches result from too sudden of a drop of the medicine in the bloodstream, which would only occur if the medication was being taken at a high dose for a relatively long period of time. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, EVERY 10 SECONDS, someone in the United States goes to the emergency room with a migraine or headache due to the intense pain, severe nausea or dehydration, drug interactions, or side effects from headache medications! DON’T BE ONE OF THEM!!!

As mentioned last month, PLEASE FIRST try an anti-inflammatory herb like ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), Feverfew, passionflower (Passiflora alata), Peppermint (menthe piperita), ginko (ginko biloba), caffeine (Coffea Arabica), black or green tea, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lime or Linden (Tilia spp.), horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), and more!

So what triggers headaches? Here are a few of the more commonly researched triggers: weight [in females, a BMI of 30 (mild obesity) = 35% greater risk, and BMI of 40 (“severe obesity”) = 80%]; personality (traits such as rigidity, reserve, and obsessivity); “let-down” or weekend headaches (breaking your routine, like staying in bed until noon); odors and fumes (e.g., fresh paint); dehydration (drink water AND eat fruits / veggies to get more water); skipping meals (hunger is a common trigger); physical exertion (certain sports like running, weight lifting); too much caffeine (small amounts help, but too much can trigger headaches); inactivity (sedentary lifestyles trigger – 30 min./day cardio, 5x/week is ideal); sleep deprivation (those averaging six hours have more frequent & severe headaches); and certain foods like red wine, beer, MSG, chocolate, aged cheese, sauerkraut, and processed meats like pepperoni, ham, and salami. Foods that can reduce headaches include those high in magnesium—spinach, tofu, oat bran, barely, fish oil, olive oil, white beans, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. In addition to GOOD CHIROPRACTIC CARE, headache management requires a multidimensional approach for best results!

Content Courtesy of Chiro-Trust.org. All Rights Reserved.

Special Neck Adjustment and Oxygen Treatment

Though medication, injections, and even surgical options exist, manipulation applied to the small joints of the neck, especially in the upper part where C1-3 exit, works really well so why not try that first as it’s the least invasive and, VERY EFFECTIVE! In some cases, a combination of approaches may be needed but many times, chiropractic treatment is all the patient needs for a successful outcome.

If you have been experiencing headaches, please stop in for our special Neck Adjustment and Oxygen Treatment. the doctor will realign your cervical vertebrae and the oxygen will flush your system with pure 98% O2. You will walk out clear headed, energized, and feeling great!

We have limited appointments available for online booking.If you do not see a convenient time for you, Please Call or Text 469-585-9346 to schedule your pain relief.

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