Types of Headaches and Reasons

types of headaches

Over one in six Americans suffer some headaches every year. Symptoms vary between individuals, but many patients often complain of throbbing pain that can be debilitating and typically accompanied by nausea. Though you might use pain medication, lie down, and hope the pain goes away, you may seek a long-term solution to address your headaches. Here are different types of headaches and how chiropractic care can help:

What are Different Types of Headaches?

There are two main types of headaches, primary headache, and secondary headache. Primary headaches occur when the pain is the condition or not triggered by something else in your body, such as an illness or allergies. On the other hand, secondary headaches are symptoms that something else is wrong in your body. Pain relief typically results when the primary cause is addressed rather than the headache itself.

Primary Headaches

Tension Headaches

Anxiety headaches are often triggered by stress and a dull and aching sensation all over your head. A throbbing headache doesn’t accompany a tension headache. There is typically some tenderness or sensitivity around the neck, scalp, forehead, or shoulder muscles.

Cluster Headaches

The sign of a cluster headache is severe burning and piercing pain. A cluster headache typically occur behind or around one eye, or it could appear on one side of the face at a time. Other symptoms may include swelling, redness, flushing, and sweating on the side affected by the headache. Nasal congestion and eye tearing may occur on the same side where the headache is.

Thunderclap Headaches

A thunderclap headache is an extremely severe headache that comes rapidly and reaches intensity within a minute. A thunderclap headache may be benign, but it could also be a sign of a serious condition that requires medical attention, such as stroke, brain injury, vasculitis, blood vessel rupturing or blockages, and RCVS. If you encounter this type of headache, seek immediate medical attention.

Migraine Headaches

A migraine headache is an intense pulsing from within your head. The pain may last for days. A migraine pain may significantly affect your ability to carry on with your daily routine. People suffering from migraine headaches may also be sensitive to light and sound. This type of headache may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Visual disturbances may accompany some migraine headaches. Sufferers may see shimmering lights, flashing lights, stars, blind spots, and zigzag lines.

Ice Pick Headaches

Like its name, the pain is characterized by a short and intense stabbing pain in your head in a concentrated area that lasts for a few seconds. This pain may occur a few times a day and strikes without warning. It may feel like single stabs or multiple stabs. This type of headache may indicate an underlying condition if it consistently occurs in the same spot.

Secondary Headaches

Allergy or Sinus Headaches

A sinus headache sometimes happens after an allergic reaction or sinus infection. This headache is often concentrated in the sinus area in front of your head. Migraine headaches may sometimes be misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. The American Migraine Foundation points to most sinus headaches as migraine headaches instead of sinus symptoms.

Caffeine Headache

These headache disorders are caused when caffeine affects the blood flow to your brain. Having too much caffeine may give you a headache. If you have migraine headaches, caffeine may trigger the pain. You may also have caffeine headaches if you take caffeine intake out after getting used to it.

Medication Overuse Headaches

Also known as rebound headaches, these can feel like dull, tension headaches, or it may feel more like migraine headaches. A rebound headache may occur if you overuse over-the-counter pain relievers. Medication overuse headache may result if you use these OTC pain relievers for more than 15 days: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, and naproxen.

Hypertension Headache

A hypertension headache may occur when blood pressure becomes dangerously high. A hypertension headache often comes with a pulsating quality. This type of headache usually occurs on both sides of the head and intensifies when you move.

Exertion Headaches

An exertion headache, or primary exercise headache, typically follows periods of intense physical activity. Whether you are running, doing weight lifting, or engaging in sexual intercourse, these may trigger an exertion headache.

Spinal Headaches

A spinal headache happens when there is low cerebrospinal fluid pressure after a lumber puncture. Because of this, it is also known as a post-dural puncture headache. This type of headache may be felt in your temples, forehead, back of the head, or upper neck.

How a Chiropractor Helps Severe Headaches?

People typically take OTC pain relievers to relieve symptoms and move on with their day. However, this habit is dangerous and does not address the root cause of the headache. Without proper medical care and attention, addressing headache symptoms using OTC pain relievers will just let more serious problems harm you. A chiropractor seeks an accurate diagnosis prior to providing the appropriate chiropractic technique to address the cause of the headache. A thorough physical exam, interview, x-rays, and other methods are used to ensure the cause of your headaches. Once they are sure of the cause they will perform spinal manipulation, neck manipulation, and chiropractic techniques to relieve muscle tension in the back, neck, and shoulders and correct misalignments in the spine that affects the blood flow to your head, and thereby achieve head and neck pain relief.

Takeaways: Chiropractors Can Help a Vast Range of Headaches

Whether you are suffering from chronic migraine, menstrual migraine, or acute headache from various reasons, chiropractors are experts in addressing these. Many causes of headaches are caused by overworked shoulder and back muscles due to poor posture, injury, or stress. These headaches may also be caused by a sedentary lifestyle where people spend countless hours sitting in front of a computer or watching television. In case of lifestyle causes, a chiropractor can help address head and neck pain, help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, and prevent more serious diseases from occurring. To learn more about our chiropractic care and treatment, especially for headaches, you may call our chiropractor’s office in Mesa at (480) 969-6166. For Gilbert residents, you may call (480) 993-2223.


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