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Headaches affect millions of American each day. There are several different types of headaches and many various causes for headaches but they all have one thing in common- the debilitating pain that accompanies them. Chiropractic can be a useful tool in alleviating your headaches. Headache pain results from signals interacting between your brain, blood vessels and surrounding nerves. A headache is triggered when nerves in your blood vessels or head muscles are activated, sending a pain signal to the brain.
The three primary types of headaches can be classified as tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches.
Tension headaches, also referred to as chronic daily headaches, are the most common type of headaches experienced by adults and adolescents. The pain of tension headaches, caused by muscle contractions at the base of your skull, can be mild to moderate and can come and go over a period of time.
Migraine headaches would be another commonly experienced type of headache. Unfortunately, the exact cause of these is still unknown but is theorized to originate when abnormal brain activity is triggered, resulting in changes in the blood vessels in the brain. This is commonly referred to as the neurovascular theory. The pain of migraines is moderate to severe and can last several hours or days. Symptoms can include sensitivity to light and noise as well as odors. Nausea and vomiting can also be experienced, as well as appetite loss, abdominal pain and upset stomach.
Mixed headache syndrome refers to people who suffer from a combination of tension headaches and migraine headaches.
Cluster headaches are the least common but most severe form of primary headaches. The pain is described as severe, often leading to the desire to pace around. A constant, throbbing pain is present and often described as burning or piercing. The pain will be located behind one eye or eye region and will not change sides. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that this type of headache tends to appear in a cluster of attacks- occurring once or more a day during a period of time.
Other forms of headaches include acute headaches, sinus headaches, hormone headaches, and chronic progressive headaches.
Acute headaches occur suddenly in children and are seen for the first time. They do not typically last a long time. The most common cause of acute headaches is sinus or respiratory infection.
Sinus headaches are typified by a deep and constant pain in the forehead, cheekbones and bridge of the nose. Sudden head movement and straining tend to intensify the pain of a sinus headache. Other sinus symptoms such as fever, nasal discharge, facial swelling and a feeling of fullness in the ears are common when experiencing a sinus headache.
Hormone headaches occur in women as a result of the changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. Other triggers can include birth control pills, which also induce hormone changes in women.
Chronic progressive headaches are the rarest of all headaches, accounting for less than 5% of headaches in adults. As the name suggests, they are chronic and progressively get worse over time. They can also be referred to as traction headaches or inflammatory headaches. They may be the result of an illness or disorder of the brain or skull.
Every day, our office successfully treats patients suffering from headache pain. Chiropractic is a gentle and effective form of treatment for patients looking to relieve the pain associated with headaches.