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How many pills have you taken for a headache this week?

Woman with headacheSo, you have a headache.

Odds are it doesn’t indicate a serious health issue. But it could. It depends on how it feels, how long it lasts, where it’s located, and if and how often it reoccurs.

We admit this is less than specific, but headaches are one of those symptoms that can mean so many things. This is arguably the one symptom people most often reach for a pill.

We used “symptom” twice in the preceding paragraph. It can’t be emphasized enough – a headache is a symptom of something else.

When should you take action?

That something may be a minor irritant that can be resolved with rest or stress relief. But other times, it isn’t. Persistent and reoccurring headaches indicate your body has a problem that is not getting resolved and could in fact be getting worse.

What can we do as Chiropractors? The first step if you have recurring headaches is to work with you to achieve an accurate diagnosis. Depending on that outcome, we may be able to help.

Sinus headache

First, let’s talk about the sinus headache. These may be caused by allergies, cold or flu, or a sinus infection. The headache manifests as deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of your nose. In this case, the trigger can sometime be clearly defined.

Tension headache

The most common type of headache is the tension headache. These are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck. Mild to intense pain is felt in the head, neck, and behind the eyes. It may feel like having a band clamped around your forehead.

Tension headaches may be triggered by cold weather or emotional stress, alcohol, caffeine, strained or dry eyes, fatigue, smoking, cold or flu, or a sinus infection.

Cervicogenic headache

A cervicogenic headache originates in the neck and may often be the result of an injury or trauma, such as a bad hit in sports or an auto accident. It may also arise as a result of forward head tilt – the loss of your neck’s natural curve from too much time at a desk or over a mobile device.

That means a cervicogenic headache is also a symptom of the kind of neck issue we regularly address here in our clinic. If we determine that you have a cervicogenic headache, treatment may involve spinal adjustments, in addition to specific spinal rehabilitation exercises.

Migraine headache

Chiropractic care has also been known to reduce the severity of migraine headaches.
While the exact cause of migraines is not understood, they may result from overactive nerve cells that cause blood vessels in the lining of the brain to swell. This inflammation causes pain. Common triggers are stress, hormonal changes, food additives like MSG and nitrates, caffeine, fatigue, bright lights, and weather changes.

Rebound headache

And let’s not forget the rebound headache. This is a headache that can occur because of an overuse of pain medications. That’s why it is important to seek medical attention if you have recurring headaches, to diagnose and to address the root cause. As we have written before, common pain medications also have a long list of potential side effects and health risks.

This is a complex area of healthcare

There are many other types of headaches that some people suffer from on a regular basis. These include Cluster, Thunderclap, and Icepick. This post is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subject. Headaches are a complex area of healthcare with many different root causes, diagnosis methods, and treatment options. In many cases, Chiropractic may help, but in others, it cannot. The first and most important step is to seek professional advice and get an accurate diagnosis.

If you have any questions please give us a call today!

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