Relief From Headaches

Relief From Headaches

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, there are approximately 45 million Americans complaining of headaches each year. That works out to about one in every six people or 16.54% of the population. More than eight million Americans visit their doctor for complaints of headache each year.

Even worse, the most common go-to for treating headaches and migraines is to reach for pain relief medication. According to the latest research, recurring headaches can actually be caused by medication overuse. Medication overuse headaches happen when someone regularly, long-term treats their headaches with pain relief medication. This overuse of medication causes persistent headaches worse then before.

Our goal is to have more people implementing preventative care measures to treat the root of the problem before symptoms get worse. Let’s dive into how we can recognize signs and symptoms and take the right course of action to prevent and end long-term pain from headaches.

Know the Signs

Headaches can have many different triggers including stress, lack of sleep, food, poor posture, changes in environment, hormones and more. According to the American Chiropractic Association, about 5% of headaches are a sign of underlying physical problems whereas the other 95% are primary headaches such as tension headaches, migraines or cluster headaches.

Let’s look at how to know the difference:

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are often caused by stress, lack of sleep, or even poor posture. Pain is often felt in both sides of the head.

Symptoms Include:

  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Pain in neck

Migraines are a more intense, throbbing version of a headache often caused by hormonal changes, specific foods or drinks, stress or intense exercise. The intensity of migraines can vary.

Symptoms Include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Irritability
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Distorted vision
  • Lightheadedness
Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches (PTH) occur when the head has experienced a traumatic blow or injury. The headache usually occurs within 7 days after the traumatic injury or after regaining consciousness after the event. This type of headache is most often described as similar to a pulsating migraine.

Symptoms Include:

  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to noise/light
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory problems
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes (often depression or nervousness)
  • NOTE: If you experience PTH or any of these symptoms worsen as time goes on, contact your doctor immediately.
Chronic Daily Headaches

Chronic daily headaches are when a person has a headache about 15 or more days out of a month for longer than 3 month periods. The chronic nature of these headaches makes them the most disabling headache conditions. Headaches can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Symptoms Include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pulsating or throbbing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inability to focus/concentrate
  • Irritability
What You Can Do

Headaches come in many forms and variations. It’s important to not only track how often you have headaches on a regular basis but also take into account what controllable factors you can change to prevent headaches.

  • Reduce stress: easier said than done, but what is something you can take off your plate that will help you reduce your stress levels? Sometimes planning ahead or organizing can be helpful starters for gaining clarity and reducing stress.
  • Perfect your posture: Sit in positions that do not compromise your posture, especially recognizing when your neck is pulling forward (think when texting or looking at your computer). Check out our advice on how to properly sit at your desk here.
  • Apply hot or cold: Applying heat to sore muscles can ease tension and loosen the muscles, sometimes even a warm bath or shower can help relieve the tension. Cold compress can also help alleviate tension in muscles.
  • Massage or manual therapy: The muscles hold a lot of stress, it’s important to frequently release the tension in your muscles by exercising manual therapy techniques such as foam rolling, lacrosse ball rolling, or rehabilitative stretches. Professional techniques performed by doctors such as dry needling, massage therapy, or scraping (Graston Technique) are also proven to be beneficial for releasing stress throughout the body.
  • Chiropractic care: Adjustments performed on the neck by a certified chiropractic have been proven to improve the symptoms and root cause of headaches.

It is important to note that in any circumstances, if you are experiencing worsening symptoms of headaches, more than 2 headaches in a week or need regular pain relievers to relieve the pain caused by headaches contact your Kaizo Health Chiropractor to receive appropriate treatment. Additionally, if you experience severe or debilitating headaches or migraines, a traumatic blow to your head, or any symptoms including a seizure, double vision, a fever or weakness/numbness, seek prompt medical care immediately.

We Have Good News

There is hope for anyone suffering from headaches or migraines. We have seen countless patients with headaches or history of migraines and through treatment with us no longer experience the debilitating symptoms of the pain. In fact, our goal is to equip our patients with the tools they need to live pain-free lives from daily tips for posture, eating habits and physical activity to rehabilitative exercises and stretches for long-term relief.