Almost everyone out there has had a headache at some point in their life. For some of us, it’s once in a blue moon, but for others it’s something we experience on a weekly or even daily basis. Some people have gotten so used to getting a headache around 4:00 every afternoon, they have just accepted this as normal! Headaches come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, such as migraines, tension headaches, chemical induced (aka hangover), cluster headaches, etc. My job as a chiropractor is to figure out when it comes to these headaches, is what is causing the problem, and if anything can be done to fix it! Sure taking medication or an anti-inflammatory might temporarily help with the pain, but is a lack of medicine what was really causing your symptoms in the first place?
Sorting Through the Types of Headaches
Tension Headache- These are the most common type of headache. They often start in the back of the head at the base of the skull, and work their way around in a hatband type of distribution. Tension headaches are often related to trigger points in neck, posture, or TMJ dysfunction.
Migraine- a true migraine often begins with an aura, or visual changes like tunnel vision. They can be on one of both sides of the head. They typically last from 4-72 hours, and are often associated with visual and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Cluster Headache- an abrupt and severe, but short lived headache that usually happens between 1-3 times a day over a 4-8 week period. It usually feels like a severe stabbing pain over one eye.
Hypertensive Headache- a pulsating headache that typically begins in the morning and subsides over the course of the day. It is associated with high blood pressure, obesity, stress, lack or exercise, and a high salt diet.
Sinus Headache- Usually felt over forehead and cheeks, and comes from swollen sinuses and increased pressure.
Now the big question, what can I do if I’m suffering from one or more of these? Obviously, it depends on which type of headache you’re suffering from. Of the 5 types listed above, the tension headache responds best to chiropractic care. In our office, we use spinal manipulation in combination with Active Release Techniques (ART) to quickly treat both the joints and the muscles involved in the problem. These same techniques in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes are also very helpful in treating the other headaches listed above.
If you or someone you love is suffering from headaches, let them know that this isn't something they should have to live with. Call (630) 448-0255 with any questions or to schedule a consultation.