Headaches are defined as pain in any part of your head. They may be on one or both sides of the head, can be in a certain location, radiate from one spot to another, or have a vice-like quality. Headaches may begin as a throbbing, sharp pain, or they may be dull and achy. Headaches may start slowly and gradually begin to worsen, or they can come on suddenly and last from an hour to a few days.    

There are two main types of headaches: primary and secondary.

  • Primary headaches: These are headaches due to overactivity or issues with the pain-sensitive structures in your head. They are not a symptom of another condition. The components playing a role in primary headaches are chemical activity in the brain, the nerves or blood vessels in the skull, the muscles of your head and neck, or a combination of any of these.
  • Secondary headaches: A secondary headache is a symptom of another condition or disease that activates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. These can be a wide range of illnesses which vary in severity and lead to these types of headaches.

The Different Types of Headaches

There are many different types of headaches. Let’s explore some and then we will talk about one way to care for them that has been proven successful.

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  • Rebound headaches: You may have heard how the overuse of sinus decongestant can cause your nose to be stuffy rather than cleared up. Rebound headaches are similar to that because using too much medication can create more headaches. Regularly taking any kind of pain relievers like Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin more than two times a week, or taking triptans for more than 10 days in a month’s time, puts you at risk for these headaches
  • Tension headaches: This is the most common kind of a headache and is described as a constant aching or pressure on both sides of the head or at the back of the head and the neck. These headaches can be triggered by stress, anxiety, clenching your jaw, and poor posture. They can be chronic although they are usually not severe.
  • Dental headaches: There are many dental-related conditions that may lead to headaches or face pain such as bruxism and TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). TMD can be caused by improper jaw alignment, poor posture (like sitting at a computer all day), arthritis, or stress.
  • Cluster headaches: These are one-sided headaches that only last 15 minutes to 3 hours but are excruciating. These headaches are so painful they are sometimes referred to as suicide headaches. Cluster headaches happen on a regular basis, sometimes a few times during the day, over a certain time period. They then will be followed by a period of headache-free and symptom-free months or even years. Cluster headaches are often accompanied by redness and tearing in one or both eyes, they are more common in men than women, and they can be triggered by alcohol, cigarettes, high altitudes, and certain foods.
  • Migraines: These are severe headaches that are seen three times more often in women than in men. The cause is unclear although it is suspected that genetics play a role as well as brain cell activity, blood vessel and nerve function, and chemical imbalances. Common triggers include changes in hormones, stress, and changes in sleeping and eating habits.
  • Caffeine headaches: If you all of a sudden start drinking less or more coffee during the day, this can lead to headaches.  
  • Early morning headaches: Migraines are known to happen more often in the morning. The amount of your daily medication may be less in your body at this time, also. Sleep apnea sufferers have more headaches in the morning.   
  • Sinus headaches: These headaches are often over-diagnosed. People who have migraines often mistake them for sinus headaches. In fact, one study revealed that 88% of people with a history of sinus headaches probably actually have migraines. Symptoms such as sinus pressure, watery eyes, and nasal congestion are seen in both migraines and sinus headaches. However, a true sinus headache is related to an infection and will be accompanied by a nasal discharge that is green or tinged with red. These headaches often require antibiotics in order to resolve.  

Finding Natural Relief for Headaches

There have been numerous case studies that have proven the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care for headaches. There is evidence suggesting a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine may influence whether a person gets headaches or not. The weight of the head rests on the C1 vertebra. The head can weigh up to 14 pounds, and if the neck bones are misaligned, the spinal column becomes stressed. A misalignment in this area of the neck can also cause the brainstem to not function properly. If the brain and the body are not communicating efficiently, headaches can occur. The third factor to headaches can be due to the fact that a misalignment acts as a kind of blockage to the proper flow of cerebrospinal fluid and blood both leaving and entering the brain — another major cause of headaches.

Here at 1st Place Chiropractic in St. Charles, Illinois, we use a gentle method that encourages the bones of the neck to move back into place naturally. We are not required to pop the neck or crack the spine to get positive results. Rather, the adjustment ends up lasting longer and requires fewer visits to our office in the long run. Our patients and those in case studies often see relief in only one or two adjustments.

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