One of the most common conditions we encounter as chiropractic physicians are headaches. There are many classifications of headaches, but some of the most common are tension and migraine headaches. Up to 80% of the adult population in the United States will suffer from tension headaches. Approximately 39 million people in the United States and 1 billion worldwide suffer from migraine headaches. Are you one of the many who find yourself dealing with consistent headaches? How do you know which type of headaches you suffer from? Knowing which type of headache you have can get you the help you need. Here are some facts about each type of headache:
- Dull and achy pain
- Tight band or squeezing pain around head
- May start in the upper neck or back which then leads to tension in the head
- Often includes tension in shoulders, neck, and jaw
- Triggers include, but are not limited to the following:
- Stress, poor posture, lack of sleep, anxiety, and neck strain
- Often pain on both sides of head
- Usually start slowly
- Severe and throbbing
- Sometimes cause nausea, vomiting, and light or sound sensitivities
- Can be one side of your head or both
- Worse with physical activity
- Will often start with an aura. An aura could be small light rings, flashing lights, spots, or blurry vision. Approximately 20% of migraine sufferers will have auras.
Chiropractic Care and Headaches
Many patients seek chiropractic care for headaches. Research has shown that treatment of the cervical spine can provide headache relief 1. When the joints in your neck are not moving properly, it causes unnecessary muscle tension. This muscle tension may lead to headaches. If you or someone else you know suffers from chronic headaches, let them know about the benefit of chiropractic care.
- Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011; 34: 274-89.