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Good question – the truth is we still don’t fully understand what they are or what exactly causes them. It’s interesting because the brain itself has no nerve endings and therefore can’t feel or experience pain. Yet, during a headache, it’s generating pain signals in surrounding tissues, blood vessels, and nerves.
A couple of decades ago we knew relatively little about headaches, but the picture is becoming more complete through modern medicine. We’ve broken down the 14 types of headaches (more info below), and have methods of getting them to go away. But, there’s such a wide variety of potential secondary causes – underlying medical conditions, high blood pressure, anxiety/depression/PTSD, stress, blood clots, etc. Primary headaches are stand-alone, not caused by something else outside the structures of the head.
Presently, we don’t think you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of the 14 types of headaches. Instead, let’s briefly walk through what may be considered the more common half:
A great question. Listen, you know yourself and your body. An occasional headache is extremely common, but when you experience intense headaches 3+ times in one week or any of these more serious symptoms don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.
Because of how common they are, headache relief is a big topic and there are tons of conventional (pain meds) and alternative headache remedies to choose from. If you aren’t experiencing any concerning symptoms, and just want to know how to relieve a mild headache we’d say to minimize light, try to relax, de-stress, and take a good hard look at your diet. Chiropractic adjustments and chiropractic massage are also very effective ways to address spinal and muscular issues related to headaches. A combination of techniques is often the most efficient method for headache pain.
Generally, a headache is less sudden and severe. Migraines also tend to come with other symptoms that may include nausea or vomiting, throbbing pain on one side of the head, light sensitivity, loss of vision and more.
Well, the dictionary definition is, “a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision.” The Migraine Research Foundation adds that, “It’s an extremely incapacitating collection of neurological symptoms that usually includes a severe throbbing recurring pain on one side of the head. However, in 1/3 of migraine attacks, both sides are affected. Attacks last between 4 and 72 hours and are often accompanied by one or more disabling symptoms.”
Honestly, like headaches, we still don’t know exactly. Our understanding of them is definitely evolving thanks to modern medical technology, studies, and patient histories. A portion of the many thousands of our patients since 1998 have dealt with migraines, so our chiropractors, massage therapists, and rehabilitation specialists are well-versed.
Other than the general migraine format, they’re hard to deal with and treat because symptoms vary person-to-person and can also vary from attack-to-attack. What if you’re experiencing two kinds of migraines with different symptoms? Aside from the pain, the Migraine Research Foundation notes that most migraines are accompanied by, “visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.”
We won’t dive 10 miles deep into the neuroscience and study of headaches and migraines here. Instead, let’s briefly look at some of the more common types we see around our Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau area chiropractic clinics.
Well, since we don’t always know the cause it’s hard to say. Although in most contexts, the term “triggers” is used differently than “cause.” We like to teach our patients about the auras (warning symptoms) involved in some migraines – flashes of light, emotional disturbances like depression or anxiety, blind spots, tingling sensations in the face or arms, even foods that trigger migraines and constipation. Only you can get a handle on what triggers your migraines. If you’re interested in migraine relief, and you’re in Alaska, stop by any Better Health Chiropractic clinic and we can help.