If You Get Migraine or Tension Headaches, You MUST Do This
The current culture in medicine generally supports the primary care route for headaches. The primary care doctor may try a few prescription meds like ibuprofen or Tylenol. When these don’t help they may try a medication like Topamax, which has been shown to reduce headache frequency a paltry 1.5 days in 3 months, as a headache doctor in Mesa, AZ can explain.
Imaging may or may not be done at this point, but a referral to a neurologist at this point is imminent. This is where the mistake is made.
For some strange reason, the general public does not normally associated chiropractic care and headaches. I, as a headache doctor in Mesa, AZ, can tell you from the results we get in our office alone that we can complete alleviate the vast majority of headaches that come into our office. Some are simply structural and respond with soft tissue work and adjusting. Some require much more by-in from the patient that will likely include significant lifestyle changes to include quitting smoking, stress management, exercise and dietary changes.
This particular study suggests that the PCP to neurologist pathway is likely not the best choice. Chiropractic care with a skilled Mesa, AZ headache doctor first would appear to be the best use of resources. Researchers looked at headache sufferers to see how many of them had pain over the base of the skull that reproduced their headaches. Results were very telling:
- ALL tension headache patients experienced reproduction of their headaches
- All but 1 migraine headache patients experienced reproduction of their headaches
- In every case, the referred head pain was similar to the pain they usually experienced during headache
You may say “Wow!” but I say “Duh!” This is an extremely common finding in patients who experience all types of headaches. In my upcoming book, Migraines and Epilepsy: You are not alone, I cover this aspect of headaches in greater detail.
So how many patients never made it past the neurologist? How many thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands of headache patients have NEVER had a physician evaluate the structures of their neck, let alone administer any treatment?
What have you found to be the most helpful for your headaches? Contact a headache doctor in Mesa, AZ today for more information.
Other Headaches and Their Causes
A headache can occur in any part of the head, on both sides of the head, or in just one location.
There are different ways to define headaches.
The International Headache Society (IHS) categorize headaches as primary, when they are not caused by another condition, or secondary, when there is a further underlying cause.
Primary headaches are stand-alone illnesses caused directly by the overactivity of, or problems with, structures in the head that are pain-sensitive.
This includes the blood vessels, muscles, and nerves of the head and neck. They may also result from changes in chemical activity in the brain.
Common primary headaches include migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches.
Secondary headaches are symptoms that happen when another condition stimulates the pain-sensitive nerves of the head. In other words, the headache symptoms can be attributed to another cause.
A wide range of different factors can cause secondary headaches.
bleeding in or around the brain
“brain freeze,” or ice-cream headaches
carbon monoxide poisoning
teeth-grinding at night
overuse of pain medication, known as rebound headaches
As headaches can be a symptom of a serious condition, it is important to seek medical advice if they become more severe, regular, or persistent.
For example, if a headache is more painful and disruptive than previous headaches, worsens, or fails to improve with medication or is accompanied by other symptoms such as confusion, fever, sensory changes, and stiffness in the neck, a doctor should be contacted immediately.
Types of Headaches
A migraine headache may cause a pulsating, throbbing pain usually only on one side of the head. The aching may be accompanied by:
- blurred vision
- sensory disturbances known as auras
Migraine is the second most common form of primary headache and can have a significant impact on the life of an individual. According to the WHO, migraine is the sixth highest cause of days lost due to disability worldwide. A migraine can last from a few hours to between 2 and 3 days.
Rebound or medication-overuse headaches stem from an excessive use of medication to treat headache symptoms. They are the most common cause of secondary headaches. They usually begin early in the day and persist throughout the day. They may improve with pain medication, but worsen when its effects wear off.
Along with the headache itself, rebound headaches can cause:
- neck pain
- a feeling of nasal congestion
- reduced sleep quality
Rebound headaches can cause a range of symptoms, and the pain can be different each day.
Cluster headaches usually last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, and they occur suddenly once per day up to eight times per day for a period of weeks to months. In between clusters, there may be no headache symptoms, and this headache-free period can last months to years.
The pain caused by cluster headaches is:
- often described as sharp or burning
- typically located in or around one eye
The affected area may become red and swollen, the eyelid may droop, and the nasal passage on the affected side may become stuffy and runny.
These are sudden, severe headaches that are often described as the “worst headache of my life.” They reach maximum intensity in less than one minute and last longer than 5 minutes.
A thunderclap headache is often secondary to life-threatening conditions, such as intracerebral hemorhage, cerebral venous thrombosis, ruptured or unruptured aneurysms, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RVS), meningitis, and pituitary apoplexy.
People who experience these sudden, severe headaches should seek medical evaluation immediately.
For more information or to speak with a headache doctor in Mesa, AZ, contact LifeCare Chiropractic today!