Headaches are very common conditions and are suffered by people all over the world. There are many different types of headaches, and many different causes of headaches. You might get a headache from eating your ice-cream too quickly or drinking to much alcohol. Or it could be from something more sinister. But you can relieve Your Headache by Learning the Triggers
Headaches are generally classified as primary or secondary. Primary headaches are usually based on their symptoms and how they present, whilst secondary headaches are based on their etiology or cause.
The 3 types of primary headaches are Migraine, Tension-type and cluster. Listed below are the main signs and symptoms of these headaches.
|Tension Headache||Cluster Headache||Migraine|
|Mild to moderate dull or aching pain||Severe Pain, usually sharp and stabbing||Moderate to severe pain, usually pulsating or throbbing|
|Duration of 30mins to several hours||Duration of 30mins to 3hrs||Duration of 3hrs to 4 days|
|No timing or pattern||Happens multiple times in a day for weeks or months, then periods of no headache||Periodic occurrence, several per month or several per year|
|Located as tightness or pressure (band-like) across head||Located on one side of the head near temple or eye||Located on one or both sides of the head|
|No nausea/vomiting||No nausea/vomiting||Nausea, sometimes with vomiting|
|Usually no sensitivity to light/sound||May have runny nose or tears, usually on one side||Photo/Phonosensitivity|
There are an enormous amount of secondary headaches, and chances are you’ve probably suffered from at least one, if not many of these headaches at some stage in your lifetime. Some examples of secondary headaches are; cervicogenic (usually from injury such as whiplash or from repetitive micro-trauma like poor head posture at work), sinus headaches, concussions, medication overuse, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (smoking) or dental/tooth pain causing headache.
Treatment of a headache depends on the underlying cause. Some primary headaches respond well to manual therapy, including manipulation, massage and stretching. In the case of migraine headaches they will usually have some kind of ‘trigger’. Best management is to find out what these triggers are and avoid them! Common triggers include things like chocolate, red wine, coffee. Some triggers are unavoidable though (menstrual cycle, seasonal changes) so these are best managed in consultation with your GP.
Pain relief medication for other types of headache often offer some relief, but they are only masking the symptoms of headache, not fixing the cause of the headache, so it is important to see a health professional to get a proper diagnosis and management!
Article written by Dr Josh Murphy (Chiropractor)