Types of Headaches
1. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are often described as “hat-band” tightness around the forehead, temples and back of head. When tension headaches are infrequent and relate to a specific stress, they are referred to as episodic.
However, when they occur most days over a period of one month or more, they are referred to as chronic and require active care.
Chronic tension-type headaches may be the result of stress or fatigue, but can also frequently be attributed to physical problems, psychological issues or depression.
2. Migraine Headaches
Migraines often begin as a dull ache, developing into a constant, throbbing and pulsating pain at the temples, and at the front or back of the head. They are usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.
Twenty per cent of migraines are Classic Migraines (with Aura); and 80 per cent are Common Migraines (without Aura). An Aura involves symptoms that precede the headache. These include visual symptoms (blurred vision, blind spots etc) and sensory changes such as pins and needles in the face or hands and arms.
Migraine headaches are thought to be vascular in origin. The aura is believed to be due to a constriction of the blood vessels leading to the head and brain with a corresponding decrease in the blood flow.
The head pain itself is believed to be due to the vasodilatation that follows and possibly the release of pain chemicals which are released during an attack, sensitizing the nerves in the region.
3. Cluster Headaches
Typically, these occur in clusters of a number of attacks of pain in the face or head, are usually short lived in duration and very severe with often many months between clusters.
The More Serious Headache
All headaches can affect your quality of life and often this improves with Chiropractic care. A relatively small percentage of headaches fall into the more serious category. You should always consult a Doctor of Chiropractic if you have the following symptoms:
- You have a stiff neck and/or fever in addition to a headache.
- Your headache is accompanied by shortness of breath, fever
- Your headache is accompanied by symptoms that affect your eyes, ears, nose, or throat.
- You are dizzy, unsteady, or have slurred speech
- You have weakness or changes in sensation (numbness and/or tingling) in addition to your headache.
- You experience confusion or drowsiness with your headache.
- Your headaches begin and persist after head injury.
- Your headache is triggered by exertion, coughing, bending, or sexual activity.
- Your headache keeps getting worse and won’t go away.
- Your headaches have changed in character.
- Persistent or severe vomiting accompanies the headache.
- You have your “first and/or worse” headache.
- Your headaches began after you reached the age of 50.