One of the most common reasons people visit a chiropractor is due to headaches. Headaches can be caused by a variety of conditions, but chiropractic care can help alleviate the pain experienced from all of them and with our help you can get some of the best pain relief on the Outer Banks.

There are two ways to categorize headaches:

Primary Headaches are headaches which are not caused by other underlying medical conditions. More than 90% of headaches are primary.

Secondary Headaches result from other medical conditions, such as infection or increased pressure in the skull due to a tumor. These account for fewer than 10% of all headaches.

The 4 Primary Headache Types:

1. Tension Type

Tension–type headaches are by far the most common, affecting upwards of 75% of all headache sufferers. Nearly everyone has had a tension–type headache in their life.

Tension–type headaches usually involve a steady ache, rather than throbbing. Often described as a feeling of pressure or tightening, they may last minutes to days. They can affect both sides of the head, and do not worsen with routine physical activity. It may also be accompanied by hypersensitivity to light and noise, as well. Some people get tension–type headaches in response to stressful events. Tension–type headaches may also be chronic.

Tension headaches can be divided into three categories, according to how often they occur:

  • Infrequent episodic — When it happens less than once per month
  • Frequent episodic — When it occurs 1-14 times per month
  • Chronic — When it happens 15 days or more in a month

2. Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic Headaches originate from disorders of the neck and are recognized as a referred pain in the head.  They are often precipitated by neck movement and/or sustained awkward head positioning, such as painting the ceiling or washing the floor. It is often accompanied by restricted range of motion, neck, shoulder, or arm pain.

3. Migraine Headaches

Migraine Headaches are less common than tension–type headaches. Nevertheless, migraines afflict 25 to 30 million people in the United States. As many as 6% of all men, and up to 18% of all women experience a migraine headache at some time.

Among the most distinguishing features is the potential disability accompanying the headache pain of a migraine. Migraines may last 4-72 hours and typically affect only one side of the head. Throbbing of moderate to severe intensity can also be present in migraines, and they are aggravated by routine physical activity.

Nausea, with or without vomiting, and/or sensitivity to light and sound often accompany migraines.   An “aura” may occur before head pain begins–– involving a disturbance in vision, and/or an experience of brightly colored or blinking lights in a pattern that moves across the field of vision. About one in five migraine sufferers experiences an aura.

Usually, migraine attacks are occasional, or sometimes as often as once or twice a week, but rarely occur daily.

4. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are relatively rare, affecting about 1% of the population. They are distinct from migraine and tension–type headaches. Most cluster headache sufferers are male –– about 85%.

Cluster headaches come in groups or clusters lasting weeks or month. The pain is extremely severe but the attack is brief, lasting no more than a hour or two. The pain centers around one eye, and this eye may be inflamed and watery. There may also be nasal congestion on the affected side of the face. A history of heavy smoking and drinking is common, and alcohol often triggers attacks.

No matter what type of headache you suffer, relief is as close as Southern Shores. Dr. Casey Titus is the number one chiropractor on the Outer Banks, and has had vast experience in relieving the pain and headache of headaches! For more information, please visit our Outer Banks wellness blog.

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