Migraines and other types of headache, such as tension and sinus headaches, are painful and can rob you of quality of life There are several types of headaches. In fact, 150 diagnostic headache categories have been established! The most common are listed below.
- Tension headaches: Also called chronic daily headaches or chronic non-progressive headaches, tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents. These muscle contraction headaches cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time.
- Migraines: The exact causes of migraines are unknown, although they are related to blood vessel contractions and other changes in the brain as well as inherited abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, or odors; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and stomach upset or abdominal pain.
- Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.
According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. About 20% of children and adolescents also have significant headaches.
Common causes of headaches stress related to family and friends, work, or school; alcohol use; skipping meals; changes in sleep patterns; excessive medication use; and depression. Other causes of tension headaches include eyestrain and neck or back strain due to poor posture. Headaches can also be triggered by specific environmental factors that are shared in a family’s household, such as exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, strong odors from household chemicals or perfumes, exposure to certain allergens, or eating certain foods.
How Our Chiropractors Can Help
Headache pain results from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. A migraine begins when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to the blood vessels, causing constriction, followed by the expansion of these vessels and the release of serotonin and other inflammatory substances that are the source of the pain.
The Atlas Family Health Center uses a revolutionary healthcare procedure called the Advance Orthogonal technique. This procedure identifies subtle misalignments of the top vertebrae in the neck, and corrects them using a percussion-wave adjustment. Misalignment of the Upper Cervical vertebra results in many of the potential causes of headache. Due to the proximity of these bones to the brain stem, this procedure can effectively release the tension associated with compressed nerves in the brain stem and spinal cord area, ultimately providing lasting headache relief. In fact, a 2011 study in the BMC Journal of Musculoskeletal Disorders found that significant improvements were found in headache patients who received specific realignment of the upper cervical structures. Patients with headaches of all varieties have found long lasting and consistent relief from Advanced Orthogonal care at the Atlas Family Health Center.