Types of Headache
Headaches can be broadly classified as ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’. Primary headaches, which include cervicogenic, migraine and tension headaches, are not caused by an underlying medical condition. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are symptomatic of any number of underlying medical conditions, infections or injuries and, as such, need to be taken seriously.
Cervicogenic headaches are related to problems in the cervical spine or soft tissues of your neck and are characterised by dull, steady pain on one side of your face or head. Pain typically starts at the back of your neck or head, causing stiffness and reduced flexibility, but may extend forward and may be accompanied by blurred vision on the affected side.
Typically, migraine headaches also affect one side of your head, but are characterised by a throbbing, or pulsing, pain behind one eye or ear, or in the temple. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, sound or both and disrupted vision.
By contrast, tension headaches usually affect both sides of your head and are distinguished by a constant, dull ache and a sensation of muscular tightness, or pressure, around your head, neck and face.
Causes of Headache
Most headaches are primary headaches, caused, or triggered, by a variety of behavioural, dietary and environmental factors. Cervicogenic headaches, for example, typically originate from the upper neck, but may also be caused by inflexibility in the lower neck, or in the shoulders, as the result of improper posture while sitting or standing at work.
The exact origin of other types of primary headache is less well understood. However, if you suffer from migraine headaches the chances are high that you are genetically predisposed. Nevertheless, certain emotional and physical triggers, including stress, lack of sleep and strenuous exercise, can alter your brain activity and bring on a migraine headache. Similar triggers apply to tension, or tension-type, headaches in that their root cause – that is, sore, tight muscles at the base of your skull or in your jaw – can be exacerbated by a variety of physiological and non-physiological factors.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Headache
Computerised spinal analysis and specific instrument mobilization , as provided by Perth chiropractor Dr Adam Rocchi, can be an effective treatment for cervicogenic headaches, some migraine and tension headaches. This treatment uses a computerized instrument which directs low force impulses to affected areas that provides feedback into the nervous system to reduce pain. Dr Rocchi ( chiropractor ) understands how mechanical disorders, in the spine and elsewhere, relate to problems in other parts of the body, including the head. Aside from computerised spinal analysis and specific instrument mobilization – which is designed to relieve tension, reduce inflammation and subsequently improve musculoskeletal function – chiropractic treatment may also include advice on dietary changes, exercises and relaxation techniques, all of which will help you to manage your headaches in the long term. Spine Scan, also offers treatment in combination with the Trigenics® system, which combines soft tissue manipulation, including impulse and sense technology, with resistance training. Trigenics® aims to provide pain relief, as well as focussing on strength and movement in the muscles that may cause headaches. Find out if Trigenics is right for you, contact Spine Scan on (08) 6150 8783.