There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with recurring headaches. They can be extremely painful and make it difficult to carry on with day to day life.
In some cases, headaches can be so severe that they become debilitating and force headache sufferers to lay down in a darkened room for several hours to recuperate. They can make otherwise healthy people retreat from the world in a haze of pain.
Fortunately, there are a variety effective headache treatments available. In this post, our Ealing chiropractor shares some information about the different types of headaches that can occur and how visiting a chiropractor in Ealing may help.
Most Common Types Of Headaches
Understanding which type of headache you are suffering from makes it easier to identify the right treatment. Here is a short summary of the most common headaches:
Migraines are often recurrent and can be quite severe. They typically cause a throbbing or pulsing sensation on one side of the head, which can be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms including nausea and lethargy.
- Moderate to severe pain on one side or both sides of the head
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Visual disturbances (flashing lights, stars, blind spots, shimmering lights)
Tension headaches are a common type of headache that can be caused by many factors including stress, muscular tension, poor posture, fatigue, anxiety, eye strain, and dehydration.
- Can be episodic or chronic
- Begin at the back of the head and move forward
- Mild to moderate pain which feels like a tight band around the head
- Affects both sides of head
- Dull pain
- Sore muscles in neck, shoulders, and jaw
- Tenderness on scalp, neck or shoulder muscles
Cervicogenic headaches can feel like migraines. The key difference between the two headaches variants is that a migraine headache is caused by an issue in the brain, while a cervicogenic headache is related by a problem with the cervical spine (neck) or area near the base of the skull. This type of headache can respond well to chiropractic treatment.
- Neck stiffness
- Pain on one side of the face or head
- Pain near the eyes
- Pain whenever you cough or sneeze
- Certain neck movements can trigger a headache
Cluster headaches are very painful headaches characterised by a burning or piercing pain. The pain often feels like it is behind an eye or on one side of the face. Doctors are unsure what cause of these types of headaches.
- Sudden onset of burning or piercing pain
- Pain often behind the eyes
- Red or watery eyes
- Forehead sweating
- Several headaches happen consecutively
Other Types Of Headaches
There are many medical conditions, lifestyle factors, and activities which can trigger other types of headaches including:
- Allergy headaches
- Caffeine headaches
- Hormone headaches
- Hypertension headaches
- Exertion heads
- Rebound headaches
- Post-traumatic headaches (caused by injury)
How Visiting A Chiropractor In Ealing Can Help
Chiropractors offer a wide range of treatments which can help with various types of headaches. They include:
A chiropractor will use their hands or a device to apply controlled force to your spine in order to correct any misalignments. This will improve nervous system function, which can also eliminate certain types of headaches. When applied to the cervical spine, it can be effective at treating cervicogenic headaches and tension headaches.
The chiropractor will passively move the joints in order to improve movement or reduce pain. This treatment can be used to target the cervical spine, reducing the frequency or severity of certain types of headaches.
Deep neck flexion exercises
A chiropractor can explain how to perform deep neck flexion exercises to stretch the muscles in the neck. These exercises are useful for treating both tension and cervicogenic headaches.
Some patients find modalities like electrical stimulation, acupuncture, and ultrasound beneficial for treating their headaches. Chiropractors can explain how these treatments work and help you discover if they might be an effective option for dealing with the type of headaches you experience.
Neuromuscular massage (trigger point therapy)
A chiropractor can perform neuromuscular massage, which targets points of tension on muscles in the back, shoulder, neck, and head. This treatment can improve blood flow, relieve stress, eliminate muscle tension, and decompress the nerves sending pain signals to the brain.
Low-load craniocervical mobilisation
This treatment uses less force than a typical spinal manipulation treatment. It is ideal for working on the joints in the cervical region of the spine and particularly useful for dealing with tension headaches.
In addition to treatments listed above, a chiropractor can also offer advice on exercise, relaxation techniques, stress management, and nutrition. This advice can help you prevent many types of headaches and improve your general health.
Referral and co-management
If your headaches prove to be persistent even after chiropractic treatments, a chiropractor can provide you with a referral to a specialist.
Finding a viable treatment for recurrent headaches can be difficult. There are many causes of headaches and your chiropractor may be able to treat the cause of your headache. Your chiropractor can also advise you of lifestyle changes tat may help you.
Your Chiropractor has the training and experience to determine if Chiropractic treatment is not appropriate for the cause of your headaches. Your Chiropractor will refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional such as GP or Consultant Neurologist.