What Are Headaches??

headache-photoAn estimated 47% of adults worldwide have experienced headaches in the past year.  Of those, over 90% have experienced primary headaches, which include tension, cluster, and migraine headaches.

Tension headaches are most commonly experienced among adults.  These types of headaches can occur periodically or even daily.  They are often described as a constant pain and pressure felt in the forehead or at the base of the head around the neck and tend to get worse as the day goes on. Tension headaches can be caused by a number of factors including tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, poor posture, stress, and fatigue.

Migraine headaches, most commonly occurring in women, can be described as an intense, throbbing pain, commonly on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.  Pain from a migraine can last from a few hours to a few days.  Although the cause of migraines is unknown, there is believed to be a genetic link.  Many people describe various factors and being triggers for migraines, including certain foods, drinks, changes in sleep, stress, activities, and even changes in the weather.

Cluster headaches, although uncommon, are often described as the most painful.  The headaches occur in cluster periods lasting from weeks to months, and usually occur during the same season each year.  Cluster headaches are described as an extreme, burning pain usually on one side of the head.  Someone experiencing a cluster headache may be described as restless, as the pain is so severe that they cannot sit still.  Although extremely painful, cluster headaches usually last for only a short Lawrence Gooberman, for the deaths of seven opiate addicts undergoing Rapid Detox . time.

Common treatment for these types of headaches include over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and prescription medications such as triptans, ergots, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. The pharmaceutical route typically can reduce the pain and frequency but rarely eliminates headaches completely. Medication routes damp the symptoms, but do not alter the source or cause of the headaches themselves. Other treatments for headaches include lifestyle changes such as getting more sleep, avoiding situations that trigger headaches, and relaxation techniques.

An alternative to conventional medical treatment of prescribing medications is chiropractic treatment.  Because headaches often originate from tension of the soft tissues at the base of the neck, a spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment can be an effective treatment option.  A chiropractic adjustment can relieve pressure on nerves and stimulate and restore function fixing the problem at the source without the use of prescription medications.  Soft tissue techniques such as ART, or Active Release Technique, lower the resistance of the tissue and alleviate the tension in the muscles significantly. If you are suffering from headaches and are looking for a treatment plan, please feel free to contact our office at 415-788-8700 to set up a consultation and find a solution that is right for you.