Common Headache Symptoms
Dull Head Pain
Sharp Head Pain
Tightness Around Head
Throbbing Head Pain
Headache Types, Causes and Natural Treatment for Headache Relief
Unfortunately headaches affect nine out of ten people at some point. Pain may be felt in one part of the head or behind the eyes, some headaches cause a pounding sensation inside the head. Tightness, like a band or dull ache around the head, may be experienced in other headaches. The pain may be dull or sharp and last for a few minutes to a few days. Rarely do headaches have a serious cause, but those that do require immediate medical attention. Headaches are commonly treated with gentle chiropractic treatment to address the underlying condition of your discomfort
Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, lights, stress, noises, lack of sleep, blood sugar changes, excessive exercise, alcohol, and more. Only about five percent of all headaches are a symptom of a primary condition. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary, like tension, migraine and cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease, the headache itself is the main concern.
Tension headaches are the most common and account for about 75 percent of all headaches. A tension headache is often described as a constant dull, achy feeling either on one side or both sides of the head, or the feeling of a tight band or dull ache around the head or behind the eyes. Usually tension headaches do not cause throbbing, nausea or vomiting. Tension headaches usually start slowly and last for only a short time or days. They tend to begin in the middle or end of the day. In some people, chronic tension headaches may last for months.
The most common cause of tension headaches is a misalignment, or subluxation, in the upper neck. When these cervical vertebrae are out of their normal position or have restricted motion, a small neck muscle, called the rectus capitis posterior minor (let’s call it RCPM), goes into spasm. The problem is that this little muscle has a tendon that goes between the upper neck and base of the skull and attaches to a pain sensitive tissue, called dura mater, which covers the brain. Even though the brain has no feeling, the dura mater is highly pain sensitive.
Tension headaches may also originate lower in the neck or upper back. Misalignments from posture, sitting for long periods of time, and emotional stress irritate the nerve roots in the neck. This irritation in the nerve roots of the neck can cause headaches, as well as the tightening in some vessels that supply blood to the brain.
Women experience about 75 percent of migraines. Migraines are intense and throbbing headaches that may cause nausea and sensitivity to light or noise. They can last from a few hours to a few days. Many people with migraines have visual symptoms called an “aura” right before an attack that is described as seeing flashing lights or dream-like objects.
People whom suffer from migraines usually have their first attack before age 30, and they tend to run in families. Migraines may occur several times a month, or less frequently such as once a year. Many people experience migraine attacks less frequently and less severe as they get older.
Migraine headaches are caused by a constriction of the blood vessels in the brain, followed by a dilation of blood vessels. During the constriction, there is a decrease in blood flow, which is what leads to visual symptoms or other symptoms that a migraine is building. Once the blood vessels dilate, there is a quick increase in blood pressure in the head. This increased pressure causes the pounding headache. Each time the heart beats, it sends another shock wave through the carotid arteries in the neck up into the brain.
Cluster headaches usually only last a short time, but are very painful and felt on one side of the head or behind the eyes. Cluster headaches, unlike migraines, are much more common in men. This type of headache tends to occur at night. The reason for their name is that they tend to occur one to four times per day over a period of several days. After one cluster of headaches is over, it may be months or years before they occur again. Similar to migraines, cluster headaches are likely related to an abnormal dilation and constriction of the blood vessels in the brain.
Duke University Study Indicates Almost Immediate Headache Relief After One Treatment
Numerous research studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments are very effective for treating headaches, especially headaches that originate in the neck.
According to a Duke University study, "spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headaches than commonly prescribed medications." This study also found that those who stopped chiropractic treatment after four weeks continued to experience continued benefit in contrast to those patients who received pain medication.
With studies showing that most headaches are caused by a small misalignment, or subluxation, in the spine, it is no surprise that chiropractic adjustments are the most effective treatment choice. Doctors of Chiropractic are the only healthcare practitioners trained to adjust spinal misalignments.
Headaches are one of the top three conditions Dr. Winchell treats everyday. His gentle approach to chiropractic treatments avoids the unnecessary twisting of the neck muscles associated with traditional “cracking” type adjustments. Using a calculated tap of pressure from a handheld mechanical device, he is able to precisely realign your spinal vertebrae and relieve your nerve constriction. Utilizing Erchonia low-level laser therapy and electrical stimulation, Dr. Winchell’s treatments stimulate your body to heal quicker for faster pain relieve and recovery of irritated tissues in the surrounding area.
You are invited to book a complimentary consultation and exam to find out if Dr. Winchell’s treatments are the best choice for your headaches.