Headaches are defined as pain arising from the head or neck. The pain begins in the structures and tissues surrounding the skull or the brain since the brain itself has no nerves that can feel pain. The pain comes from the thin layer of tissue, called periosteum, surrounding the bones, sinuses, ears, eyes, and the muscles encasing the skull. Pain can also come from the thin tissues covering the surface of the brain and spinal cord, nerves, veins, and arteries that can become irritated or inflamed. Headache pain may be:
Interesting Facts about Headaches
- A headache or head pain is often difficult to describe. It may be located in the face or the skull or the entire head may hurt.
- The head is one of the most common places on the body for pain.
- A headache is often accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, particularly if you have a migraine.
- A headache may come about spontaneously or may be associated with activity or exercise. Sometimes headaches have an acute onset, or they may be chronic with or without episodes of increasing severity.
- Home remedies for tension headaches, the most common primary headache type, includes rest and relaxation.
- Common primary headaches are cluster, migraine, and tension headaches.
- Secondary headaches are usually due to an underlying illness or an injury, such as a sinus headache because it is caused by increased pressure or an infection in the sinuses.
- A rebound headache is caused by overuse of medication to care for headaches or migraines. A headache may improve for a limited time after the medication is taken and then recur.
- If you begin having new or different headaches that are accompanied by weakness, stiff neck, fever, changes in vision, changes in behavior, vomiting, or a change in sensation on one side of your body, you should seek medical attention immediately as this can be due to a serious infection.
The International Headache Society released its latest classification system for headaches in 2013. Headaches are very common and caring for them can sometimes present a real challenge. Therefore, it was hoped that this new system would help doctors with getting a proper diagnosis of what kind of a headache a patient has and improve the patient’s options for care. The guidelines are quite extensive, and health care providers are encouraged to look at them often to aid in making a more accurate diagnosis.
The three major headache categories, based on the source of the pain, are:
- Primary headaches
- Secondary headaches
- Cranial neuralgia, face pain, and other headaches
Patients may present with symptoms that are consistent with more than one headache or more than one headache type may be present at once.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.
- A tension headache: The most common form of a primary headache, these occur more often in women than in men. WHO (the World Health Organization) notes that 1 in every 20 people in developed nations suffers from a daily tension headache.
- A migraine headache: The second most common headache type in this category, these affect children as well as adults. Before the onset of puberty, more boys get migraines, while after puberty, more girls get migraines.
- Cluster headaches: These are rare and commonly affect men in their late 20’s more often than women and children.
Primary headaches impact one’s life quality, especially if they are debilitating and happen often.
Secondary headaches arise from an underlying structural or infectious problem in the head or neck, including a broad group of medical problems ranging from infections in the teeth or sinuses to life-threatening conditions like brain bleeds or meningitis. Traumatic head injuries come under this category and include post-concussion headaches. Substance abuse headaches and hangover headaches fall into this category, as well as medication overuse or rebound headaches.
Cranial Neuralgias, Face Pain, and Other Headaches:
Neuralgia comes from the root words neur meaning nerve and algia meaning pain. Cranial neuralgia has to do with inflammation of one of the 12 cranial nerves originating in the brain, which controls the muscles and carries sensory signals to and from the head and neck. The most common example of this is trigeminal neuralgia that affects the trigeminal nerve and causes pain sensations in the face.
Finding Relief from Headaches
Interestingly, a common link has been noted between headaches and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, in particular, the C1 and C2 vertebrae. If these bones have moved out of place due to a blow to the head or neck, a vehicle accident resulting in whiplash, or even a simple trip and fall, the end result can be headaches. This is because of the impact this type of misalignment has on the brainstem. The brainstem is located in this same area of the neck, and the C1 and C2 are designed to protect it. However, if they become misaligned, they put the brainstem under stress and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. Another thing that may occur with a misalignment of this type is the bones that are out of place act as a type of blockage so that the proper amount of blood and cerebrospinal fluid does not reach or leave the brain. This is yet another reason that a headache may develop.
Here at our Waynesville, Ohio office, Thrive Chiropractic, we use a specialized method to help the bones that are out of place to realign themselves in a more natural way. We do not have to resort to popping the neck or cracking the back to get relief. The technique used is gentle and does not cause additional pain. Many see their headaches improve with only a few adjustments.
To schedule a complimentary consultation call our Waynesville, OH office at 513-897-0117 You can also click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.