Headaches

Experienced by 90% of the population every year, headaches are a common condition with a spectrum of causes and variable symptoms. There are many structures and tissues in your head, face and neck that can produce headache like symptoms which makes determining the cause of the headache a more complicated process. For many with repeat headaches they can begin to see a cause and effect relationship build. They may see a relationship between stress, activities, nutrition or other factors and their headaches. 

 


Common types of Headaches

  • Migraine headache: Often seen as the most severe headache, migraines often cause moderate to severe pain with a pulsating quality, it can be aggravated by routine physical activity and is associated with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. 
  • Tension type headache: these generally result in mild to moderate pain with a non-pulsating pressing or tightening quality, routine activity won't aggravate these headaches and they can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. These generally don't result in nausea or sensitivity to light or sound. 
  • Cervicogenic headache: this type of headache presents similarly to tension type headache while the pain is generally felt unilaterally and often behind the forehead or eye. These headaches are often associate with or preceded by neck pain. 
Care for headaches
Those who suffer from regular headaches often develop a routine to deal with their headaches. These strategies include pain killers, rest, ice packs, exercise and so on. A key step is working to discover both the type of headache and if possible its cause. For many this involves keeping a headache journal where they take note of each of their headaches and details like what they ate beforehand, activities, mood, stress level, weather etc. A complete history and examination performed by your chiropractor or family doctor will help correctly diagnose the type of headache and find its cause.
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Although few headaches are require emergency care if you are experiencing dizziness, double vision, feeling faint, having difficulty speaking, have never had a headache this intense, have recently fallen or struck your head or feel that your headache requires immediate care please contact your local emergency services immediately.

1. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia (2004) vol. 24 Suppl 1 pp. 9-160

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