Types of Headaches

Tension headaches occur in 90% of adults and are characterized by a tight band of pressure felt on both sides of the head. Tension headaches are precipitated by stress. Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that are caused by irritation or injury to structures in the upper neck. This results in neck pain as well as referred pain to the areas around the temples, cheeks, and forehead. These headaches are often initiated or aggravated by head or neck movement, slouching, and stress. Migraine headaches, less common but more severe than other headaches, are in most cases accompanied by nausea and light sensitivity. Women get migraines more frequently than men. Migraines are often initiated by triggers, which can include chocolate, wine, dairy products, and MSG. Approximately 80% of headache sufferers will find relief through chiropractic treatment.

Neck pain and headaches can result in disability, absence from work, and decreased quality of life, as well as frequent use of medication. The multimodal approach used in chiropractic care is an effective method of treatment for neck pain and headaches. Spinal mobilization and manipulation have been proven safe and cost-effective in treating both migraine and cervicogenic headaches, as well as chronic neck pain. The chiropractor will often prescribe exercises to help preserve motion and alleviate pain. It has been demonstrated that people who received chiropractic care for their headaches or neck pain report decreased number of hours with headaches, decreased headache severity, and decreased use of medication.

Some more serious reasons for headaches include brain tumor, hematomas (bleeding following trauma to the head) or stroke (blood clot or blood vessel rupture). Although you should always go to a health practitioner for correct diagnosis and proper treatment, seek immediate attention if your headache is:

  • severe

  • different from usual headaches

  • starts suddenly after exertion

  • associated with persistent nausea/vomiting

  • associated with

    • stiff neck

    • fever

    • dizziness

    • blurred vision

    • slurred speech

    • unsteady gait

    • weakness or unusual sensation of arm or leg

    • excessive drowsiness or confusion

    • seizures

    • recent head trauma or fall

    • not responding to treatment and is getting worse