A tension headache, also called a cervicogenic headache, is the most common type of headache. It impacts the majority of people who have headaches today, while migraines are less common. Tension headaches typically start with a persistent dull pain on either or both sides of the head. Tension headaches may have varying causes, but poor posture is a leading cause, as is neck muscle tightness. When the muscle tension in the neck and upper back is severe, the top cervical vertebrae may be unable to move normally. This can result in severe pain that may last for anywhere from several minutes to many hours.
A migraine headache is a very intense type of headache that often comes with other symptoms such as nausea, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. Migraines occur when the blood vessels in the brain constrict in an abnormal way, followed by a very rapid dilation of the blood vessels. The cause of this blood vessel action is unknown, but many things have been recognized as potential migraine triggers, including stress, certain smells, lack of sleep, and atmospheric pressure.
Chiropractic care takes a comprehensive approach to headache treatment. The chiropractic care provider will first determine which type of headache the patient suffers from. He will then create a patient-specific treatment plan that can manage the pain. Chiropractic adjustments are very helpful in managing headache pain for many patients, and therapeutic massage may also be useful in addressing particular migraine trigger points. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the root cause or causes of the headaches, so lifestyle management can also be very helpful in the treatment journey. The chiropractor can create a plan that may encompass diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle in an effort to eliminate headaches as much as possible.
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