A surprisingly high number of patients visiting The Spine & Joint Centre, our chiropractic clinic in Ealing, mention that they experience frequent headaches. In many cases, their headaches are debilitating and prevent them from working or enjoying their favourite pastimes.
Certain types of headaches can respond well to chiropractic treatments. We work closely with our patients to determine if the headaches they are experiencing can be addressed with chiropractic care or if lifestyle adjustments and medication are also required.
To help you learn more about headaches, this post will share the 7 most common types of headaches and how they are treated.
Common Types Of Headaches
#1 – Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches tend to be long-lasting and very painful. This type of headache usually causes a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Other symptoms can include light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and sound sensitivity.
Many migraine sufferers find that their headaches are preceded by visual stimuli including stars, flashing lights and zigzag lines. Severely affected sufferers also report that they experience stroke-like symptoms before a migraine headache, including a tingling sensation and trouble speaking.
Migraine headaches are notoriously difficult to treat. Over the counter medication is not effective in general. However, medications including sumatriptan (Imitrex), rizatriptan (Maxalt, and rizatriptan (Axert) can work. Some migraine sufferers also find preventative medications like propranolol (Inderal), topiramate (Topamax) or metoprolol (Toprol) to be effective.
#2 – Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are one of the most common forms of headache reported by patients visiting our chiropractor in Ealing. This type of headache causes a dull, aching sensation which can be felt in several locations across the head. Sufferers can also experience tenderness around the neck, shoulder muscles, scalp and forehead.
Tension headaches are often triggered by muscular tension relating to stress. Anyone can experience tension headaches, from young children to the elderly.
If you experience tension headaches rarely, you can treat them with over the counter medications. However, if you experience tension headache every week or two, you should seek out chiropractic treatment.
A chiropractor will be able to determine if your tension headaches are being caused by subluxations of the spine, muscular tension or other musculoskeletal issues. They will then develop a treatment plan that addresses the root cause of your headaches, relieving you of any pain you have been experiencing.
#3 – Cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are rarer than tension headaches and migraines. They are a series of headaches that can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours each. Most people experience one to four of these headaches in a row, with headaches often occurring at the same time each day.
Each cluster headache causes a severe piercing pain and a burning sensation. The pain is often felt behind one eye or a particular side of the face. Other common symptoms include facial swelling and redness, sweating and nausea.
Doctors are unsure about the cause of cluster headaches. However, there are several effective treatments including calcium channel blockers, corticosteroids, topiramate (Topamax) and melatonin.
#4 – Hormone Headaches
This type of headache is common in women experiencing changes to their hormone levels from pregnancy, birth control pills or menstruation. Over the counter pain relief and prescription medications like frovatripan (Frova) are usually effective for treating it.
Alternative therapies like yoga, meditation and acupuncture can also be effective at reducing the number of hormone headaches experienced each month.
Women with a vertebral subluxation can be more likely to experience hormone headaches because a subluxation can inhibit the endocrine system’s ability to regulate hormone levels. Visiting our chiropractor in Ealing to receive a chiropractic adjustment is the best way to ensure you don’t have any subluxations which may be affecting your hormones.
#5 – Caffeine Headaches
Brits really love a good cup of tea! Unfortunately, the caffeine in tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can have some unforeseen consequences on our health. When you drink caffeine, it changes your brain chemistry and constricts blood flow to the brain. This can trigger a headache. Withdrawal from caffeine can also cause headaches.
Caffeine headaches typically result in a dull, throbbing pain. Keeping your caffeine intake at a steady level or quitting caffeine altogether will eliminate these types of headaches. Over the counter medications can also help you deal with them.
#6 – Allergy Headaches (Sinus Headaches)
Allergies can sometimes trigger headaches focussed on the sinus area. These headaches often have symptoms that are similar to migraines and are often misdiagnosed as being migraine headaches. The key to diagnosing if you have an allergy headache or a migraine is noticing if the headache is associated with other allergy symptoms.
These types of headaches can be treated by removing mucus that has built up in the sinus cavity using decongestants or antihistamines. A sinus infection can also trigger this type of headache, which can be resolved through the use of antibiotics.
#7 – Hypertension Headaches
This type of headache occurs when your blood pressure becomes very high. If you have this type of headache, it is advisable that to seek out medical treatment immediately, as your blood pressure has reach a dangerous level.
A hypertension headache usually has a pulsing quality and is felt on both sides of the head. It will get worse when you exert yourself or are in situations that cause your blood pressure to rise quickly. Other common symptoms include nosebleeds, tingling, numbness, shortness of breath and chest pain. Reducing your blood pressure should prevent these types of headaches from occurring.
I hope you found this article useful. You can find out more about Headaches and Migraines on our website here.
To book an appointment with our Ealing chiropractor, give us a call on 020 8900 9004.