We’ve all had that moment when all we can think about is the incessant pounding that is managing to envelope our minds.We’re talking about headaches. Headaches are a nuisance and having them frequently can be a real pain. Pardon the pun. But how do you know what is causing your headache without even knowing what type of headache you have. That’s right, there are different kinds of headaches and they all feel a little different.
Once you are familiar with all the different types and their causes, it then becomes easier to treat and prevent them. There are four different types of headaches and they all go by different names. There are cervicogenic headaches, cluster headaches, migraines and tension headaches. Below we have put a full description of each one and how they tend to come about.
These headaches usually are a result of something going on in the neck, either due to prior trauma, sustained neck postures or repetitive neck motion, or a joint dysfunction in the neck. Any of these factors will cause strain in the muscles surrounding the neck and sometimes this will refer to the head, resulting in headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches typically present on one side, with pain under the skull, instigated by neck movement or sustained head positioning. The pain may radiate to the forehead, temples, ears and around the eye.
Cluster headaches are usually sudden in onset, with pain located behind one eye. It can be described as ‘piercing’, ‘penetrating’, ‘deep’ or ‘boring’. They normally last 5 mins to 3 hours, with frequent attacks than can occur once every other day, up to 8 times a day. Cluster headaches commonly occur at night and can disrupt sleep.
Some other symptoms include: one-sided facial sweating and flushing, tearing and blocking of the nose. Triggers may include: stress, extreme temperatures, glare from lights, allergies, alcohol and tobacco.
There are two types of migraines: with or without an aura. An aura is a symptom of the nervous system and can be visual, sensory or motor. Auras usually precede a migraine, which tend to develop within an hour. An aura typically begins as a hazy spot, followed by shimmering light of different patterns.
Most people experience migraines without an aura. At any rate, migraines usually have a history of some sort of triggering factor, such as stress, hormonal changes, rapid blood sugar changes, seasonal allergies and certain foods (red wine, cheese, nuts, chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol as well as processed foods and preservatives like MSG). Some individuals will be sensitive to light or sound.
Migraine headaches are described as moderate to severe throbbing or pulsatile, one-sided and located in the front/near the temples and/or around the eye. These can build up over a period of 1-2 hours and last several hours to an entire day.
Tension headaches are ‘vise-like’ in the sense that they feel like there is a tightness and squeezing sensation. This is experienced on both sides of the head, with a duration of 30 mins up to 7 days. Most people have associated tightness in the neck, upper back and shoulder muscles. Tension headaches can present chronically or in episodes.
Potential causes include general stress, lack of sleep, prior neck injuries and muscular stress.
Regardless of your type of headache, a manual therapist can help relieve the pain caused by these. Massage therapy is effective, as well as spinal manipulation and proper stretching protocols.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at the Avenida Wellness clinic where our doctors are practiced experts when it comes to relieving pain. You can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 403-271-6611.
Carnes, MA and Viziak, NA. Headaches. Conditions Manual, 3rd Edition. 2011. Professional Health Systems, Inc. Pages 24-33.