A headache is your body’s way of letting you know that there is something wrong. There are many types of headaches; which do you have and how should you treat it?
At VIOR we have a headache specialist team that can treat you, but first we must identify what type of headache you have in order to find the right treatment for you.
The first step in knowing how to treat your headache is to understand the various types:
Cervicogenic literally means “originating in the cervical region” (spine, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves). Symptoms of cervicogenic headaches vary, but one of the distinguishing signs is that the pain starts at the base of your neck and then starts to move up into your head. Another commonly reported symptom of a cervicogenic headache is a decrease in pain tolerance.
Chiropractic treatment is extremely effective in the management of this type of headache(2). It is critical to restore the proper position of the head and neck to allow muscles to function optimally in a balanced state, reduce inflammation and subsequent irritation to the nerves that are responsible for the pain signals.
A migraine is a chronic neurolgical disorder defined by bouts of moderate to severe headaches with associated autonomic nervous system symptoms. Migraines may be classified into two primary types: classical and common migraines.
Perception of an aura, sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and typically increase pain with physical activity. This type of headache may also be associated with vomitting.
This type of migraine accounts for 60-80% of all migraines. This type of headache lacks an aura, has a tendency towards nausea, photophobia, phonophobia and is often relieved by sleep.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults.
They are commonly referred to as stress headaches. A tension headache may appear periodically (episodic: less than 15 days per month) or daily (chronic: more than 15 days per month). An episodic tension headache may be described as a mild to moderate constant band-like pain, tightness, or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck.
Intracranial compliance refers to pressure inside the cranial vault including the skull, brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), Under normal circumstances, this pressure is regulated and stabilized. When shifts occur that upset the homeostatic balance which the body cannot restore, there is an increase in intracranial compliance and a decrease in blood flow. Increase in intracranial compliance may result in the symptomatic migraine headache as new FONAR phase-contrast MRI imaging is demonstrating.
The relationship between the head and neck, especially at the base of the skull at the large opening called the foramen magnum where this articulates with the first bone in your neck, the Atlas, is showing promise of breakthroughs in difficult to treat migraine patients.
At VIOR Life & Aesthetics we have several specialisms to address the various types of headaches. Being an integrative practice, we have a Neurologist, NUCCA chiropractor (no cracking), Acupuncturist and a Functional Medicine Expert on site. Determining how to treat your specific type of headache starts with a consultation. From there the physician can determine the treatment plan best suited for your problem.
- McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001), Duke Evidence Report
- Boline et al. (1995), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
- Tuchin PJ. Pollard H. Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 Feb;23(2):91-5
- Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow Patterns and Velocities of Migraine Subjects Following an Atlas Correction. Utilization of phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging to measure hemodynamic changes before and after a NUCCA Atlas correction – A case series.
- Woodfield, H. Charles, III. “Effect of Atlas Vertebrae Realignment in Subjects with Migraine: An Observational Pilot Study.” Accessed online: 24 May 2016.