There is no such thing as a "normal" headache!
A headache is your body's way of letting you know that there is something wrong. There are many types of headaches. The first step in knowing what to do about your headache is to understand the various types:
Cervicogenic literally means "originating in the cervical region (spine, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves)." Symptoms of cervicogenic headaches vary, but one of the distinguishing signs is that the pain starts at the base of your neck and then starts to move up into your head. Another commonly reported symptom of a cervicogenic headache is a decrease in pain tolerance. Chiropractic is extremely effective in the management of this type of headache (4). It is critical to restore the proper position of the head and neck to allow muscles to function optimally in a balanced state, reduce inflammation and subsequent irritation to the nerves that are responsible for the pain signals.
A migraine is a chronic neurolgical disorder defined by bouts of moderate to severe headaches with associated autonomic nervous system symptoms. Migraines may be classified into two primary types: classical and common migraines.
Perception of an aura, sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and typically pain is increased with physical activity. May be associated with vomitting.
This type of migraine accounts for 60-80% of all migraines. This type lacks of an aura, has a tendency towards nausea photophobia, phonophobia and is often relieved by sleep.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults. They are commonly referred to as stress headaches. A tension headache may appear periodically ("episodic," less than 15 days per month) or daily ("chronic," more than 15 days per month). An episodic tension headache may be described as a mild to moderate constant band-like pain, tightness, or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck. Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck (3).
A cluster headache is one-sided head pain that may involve tearing of the eyes and a stuffy nose. These types of headaches are four to five times more frequent in men than women, and are typically triggered by substances such as alcohol and foods high in nitrites (preserved meats, bacon).
If you or someone you now suffers from headaches, we would be happy to do an evaluation to determine if it is the type of problem that we deal with.
1. Tuchin PJ. Pollard H. Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 Feb;23(2):91-5
2. Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow Patterns and Velocities of Migraine Subjects Following an Atlas Correction. Utilization of phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging to measure hemodynamic changes before and after a NUCCA Atlas correction - A case series.
3. McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001), Duke Evidence Report
4. Boline et al. (1995), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics