Headaches

Headaches are a really a pain in the neck! At some point in our lives, virtually all of us battle headaches. Despite the fact that so many of us suffer from headaches and/or migraines, however, very few of us take the time to determine the root cause of our pain and take precautionary measures toward preventing future headaches. In this article, we summarize 5 common types of headaches and discuss how to handle them.

Tension Headaches

The most common and least severe, tension headaches are also the most common type of headache among adults.  While they can be uncomfortable, tension headaches typically do not impact your strength, balance, or vision, and should not prevent you from any of your normal daily activities.

Roughly 80% of the population in the US suffers from tension headaches at some point in their lives; with women being nearly twice as likely to suffer from them. While there is no sole cause, a number of factors are believed to have an impact on these common headaches. Hunger, anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, and posture have all been linked to tension headaches. Those who suffer more regularly may want to consider these factors in their own lives’ and try focusing to make improvements wherever necessary.

To treat recurring tension headaches non-medically, consider making changes to your sleep habits, diet, or mood. Be honest with yourself and consider the following: Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating enough meals and getting proper nutrition? How is your mood on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis? Try making changes wherever necessary and see if the issue persists. If these headaches persist, consider consulting your local chiropractor. Headaches and chiropractic go hand in hand, as the issue could potentially be related to spinal misalignment or increased muscle tension.

Cluster Headaches

Shorter in duration than tension headaches and typically more chronic, cluster headaches can be extremely painful and occur daily for weeks or months at a time. A common identifier of cluster headaches is one-sided pain; either on the left or right side of your head along with watering eyes or nasal congestion on that side of the face. Being seasonal in their nature, those who suffer from cluster headaches tend to battle them at similar times each year. This seasonal nature also leads to cluster headaches being incorrectly associate with allergies. While the cause is still largely up for debate, it is known that a nerve in the face is involved with the occurrence of cluster headaches (your trigeminal nerve, to be exact). In terms of severity cluster headaches are comparable to migraines, however they don’t last nearly as long.

As far as nerve pain is concerned, chiropractic care is a fantastic option for treatment. Pain stemming from the trigeminal nerve can sometimes be related to misalignment in the cervical region of the spine; where the nerve connects.  By properly aligning that region of the spine through a chiropractic adjustment, future cluster headaches can successfully be prevented in many instances if indeed misalignment was the cause of the nerve pain.

Sinus Headaches

Generally, these types of headaches come as a result of inflamed sinuses and are often joined by a fever, runny nose, or sometimes swelling in the face. Provided that the inflammation is a result of illness, sinus headaches aren’t generally chronic and subside when inflammation of the sinuses has been alleviated.

Nasal decongestants are often helpful in these instances if the problem is simply nasal congestion. To treat infections, it might make more sense to consider taking antihistamines or antibiotics. Non-medical treatments include considerable amounts of fluid, using a dehumidifier, or inhaling saltwater nasal spray.

Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are often a result of overusing painkillers. Despite being commonly linked with overuse of Motrin, Tylenol, and/or Advil, prescription drugs have also been known to cause such headaches if overused.

Likely a form of withdrawal, these types of headaches can most easily be avoided by carefully monitoring the use of painkillers.

Migraines

Frequently confused with tension headaches, migraines are actually quite different from any of the types listed above. Mainly differing in terms of pain intensity and symptoms such as vomiting or temporary vision loss, migraines can be not just painful, but practically debilitating. Other symptoms include pain being one-sided (but not in all instances), pain in temples, or extreme sensitivity to light.

In terms of causal nature, migraines and tension headaches are actually quite similar. Stress, sleep habits, diet, and muscular tension in the neck have all been known to impact ones’ likelihood of migraines. To prevent future onset, consider making positive alterations in these areas and if improvements in your health aren’t made, consider consulting a doctor. Other preventative measures include chiropractic adjustments to relieve muscle tension in the neck or acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Be aware, however, that overuse of over-the-counter drugs can lead to other health problems or even the onset of rebound headaches (discussed above).