No one headache is the same as the next some can be more debilitating than others. Knowing and understanding the different types of headaches can help tremendously in alleviating the pain. Headaches are one of the most common complaints chiropractors see in their office every day. Headache triggers can vary but the more common are from stress, environmental factors, food, dehydration, mechanical and soft tissue dysfunctions.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches can be caused by stress, anxiety, eyestrain, injuries, repetitive activities and poor posture…These lead to physical stresses in your neck and shoulders and can cause pain and tension that travels from the base of your skull to the front of your head.  Constantly looking down at your cell phone (text neck), or computer, driving for hours without rest, playing video games, clenching your jaw and sleeping positions can contribute to tension headaches. These activities overstretch, weaken and fatigue the muscles on the back of your neck, increasing your susceptibility to tension headaches.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are a bit of an inigma. They can be caused by genetic factors, stress, hormonal changes, allergies, sleep, physical and sensory factors, changes in the environment and certain medications. Migraines are described as intense throbbing or pulsing sensation on one or both sides of the head frequently accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. Migraines can be preceded by an “aura” that can present as a flash of light, blind spots or sometimes tingling.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches stems from the proper function of structures and soft tissue of the cervical spine. Pain can be triggered or worsened by neck movement and is usually on one side of the head. The pain can start at the base of the skull and spread to the front of the head much like tension headaches.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are similar to migraines with severe, stabbing, penetrating, burning or explosive recurring pain that is often located on one side of the head. Cluster headaches have a rapid onset and can frequently present in patterns or “clusters” over a certain period of time. Often described as starting around or “behind” the eye and can cause redness or watering of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, droopy eyelid, facial swelling or flushing and sensitivity to light and noise. It has been suggested that cluster headaches may be caused by problems in regulating temperature, blood pressure, hormones or sleep. Other causes or triggers proposed include alcohol, tobacco and drugs (e.g. nitroglycerin).

A Chiropractor is educated and trained to diagnose and recommend ways to help you manage your headaches. Evidence has demonstrated that chiropractic care; including spinal adjustments improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system. Depending on your findings, the chiropractor may recommend patient education and reassurance, adjustments and mobilization, soft tissue therapy, massage, modalities including cold laser therapy, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, rehabilitation, exercises, nutritional advice, ergonomic and lifestyle changes.

To find out if chiropractic can help your headaches and migraines, please call Campbell Chiropractic of Kanata or a chiropractor near you.

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