Headaches are a common daily occurrence.
Some people get them more than others.
They can range from the occasional tension headache to debilitating migraines and cluster headaches.
Tension headaches are the most common.
Characterised by a constant dull ache affecting both sides of the head. These feel like a tight band around your head and vary in frequency from 30 minutes to chronic at 15 days a month.
How do you make them stop? Try getting regular sleep, stay well hydrated and reduce your stress.
Migraines are more severe and debilitating. They are typically felt on one side of the head and associated with other symptoms such as: light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting.
The cause of migraines is not known but there are common triggers – foods, beverages, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, strong odours and even stress.
Migraines may be accompanied by an aura, but most are not.
Cluster headaches occur in groups or “clusters”. Pain can last 20 to 90 minutes at a time and continue for weeks.
Cluster headaches are rare, typically occurring in men and smokers.
They are characterized by redness or tearing of the eye on the affected side and may be triggered by eye strain, bad lighting, or light from a computer screen.
How do you treat these? Migraines and cluster headaches being more severe do not respond to over-the-counter painkillers and thus require stronger prescribed medications after consultation with a neurologist.
What other options are there for treatment?
Physiotherapy of course!
While the exact cause of migraines is not well understood, one common finding amongst these three groups of headache sufferers is dysfunction in the upper cervical spine.
Increased muscle tension and joint stiffness can impact how well the neck functions and with many nerves around the upper cervical spine at the base of the skull, changes in posture can sensitize this region.
Postural and movement habits can influence how you hold and move your neck both during static postures and movement, with other regions of the body having strong influences on the head and neck - from the trunk to the foot!
Do you think your headache may be coming from your neck? Or have your headaches coincided with a recent injury or return to activity? An assessment of your posture and movement may provide more insight.
Contact us today to see how we can help!