At Body Wellness Center, we understand how aggravating a headache can be, especially if it is persistent or severe. Headaches can range in severity from dull to downright debilitating and affect as much as 90% of the American population. Unfortunately, headaches and migraines can be somewhat elusive because there are several different kinds, as well as numerous triggers that vary from person to person. Thankfully, chiropractic care is one way to manage not only the symptoms but the source of some headaches.
There are numerous types of headaches, but the most common include:
Tension headaches are generally described as feeling like a dull, tight, pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck. They can be episodic (occurring fewer than 15 days per month) or chronic (occurring more than 15 days per month). Typically, tension headaches begin gradually and can last less than an hour or up to several days, especially if they are the chronic kind. While specific triggers aren’t well understood, stress seems to be the most significant commonality, particularly if it is a persistent part of your day.
Cluster headaches are usually very severe and are characterized by affecting one side of the head and occurring in clusters – sometimes as many as 8 per day. The pain is described as a burning, “hot poker” sensation, usually behind the eye. Additionally, you may experience symptoms on the affected side like a teary eye, runny or stuffy nostril, and flushing or sweating on the face. In some cases, cluster headaches may trigger symptoms like a constricted pupil or drooping eyelid on the affected side.
Unfortunately, not much is known about what causes cluster headaches. They are categorized as being episodic if they occur in periods between 1 week, but not more than 1 year, and are followed by pain-free periods of at least 1 month. Cluster headaches are considered chronic if they occur for longer than 1 year without at least 1 month of remission.
Migraines are a recurring kind of headache, ordinarily affecting one side of the head and characterized by their severity. They often have unique symptoms like sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, weakness, and visual anomalies like arcs of light. These symptoms are usually exacerbated by movement, and many find some relief by laying in a dark, quiet room until the migraine subsides. Afterward, during a period called the “postdrome,” you may feel exhausted, weak, and even confused for up to a day.
Migraines are known to have several triggers, and vary widely from one person to another. These triggers are not limited to, but may include:
- Hormonal changes
- Bright/flashing lights
- Sudden weather changes
- Lack of sleep or too much sleep
- Loud noises and strong smells
- Medication or migraine medication overuse
- Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
- Fermented, pickled, or aged foods
Chiropractic care is one way to alleviate some of the pain associated with headaches. Especially if you suffer from chronic headaches, a gentle spinal adjustment can correct misalignment that may be putting undue stress on your system. Additionally, we are happy to offer nutritional recommendations that may help with the frequency or severity of your headaches.