From a dull, throbbing pain to sharp and intense, excruciating agony—headaches come in many forms. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 9 out of every 10 Americans suffer from headaches or migraines.
When it comes to headaches, there are a variety of different classifications. In this blog post, we’ll uncover common types of headaches and how chiropractic care can be beneficial in providing relief.
The Main Difference Between Primary and Secondary Headaches
A major distinguishing factor between primary and secondary headaches is often that the source of a primary headache lies solely within the headache itself, rather than a different underlying disease or condition.
Primary headaches are usually not dangerous or life-threatening. Discomfort or pain associated with primary headaches is generally linked to inflammation of the nerves, blood vessels, or muscles throughout your body. Fortunately, there are long-term treatments that your chiropractor can provide to alleviate inflammation.
Types of Primary Headaches Include:
- Cluster headaches: A type of headache distinguished by their severe frequency. Although each occurrence typically lasts less than two hours, cluster headaches are known to be some of the most painful headaches imaginable.
- Migraines: Migraines are one of the most common types of headaches and can be distinguished from regular headaches by their intensity. A regular headache typically connotes mild or acute pain, whereas a migraine often encompasses more prolonged and severe headaches, often associated with “pounding sensations.”
- Tension headaches: Tension headaches, among the most frequent types of headaches, are often experienced in the back of the head, temples, and forehead. Tension headaches are typically characterized by mild to moderate intensity of pain and can be caused by several factors such as stress, depression, anxiety, or tension.
- It is essential to remember that when we experience severe levels of tension and stress, it not only impacts us emotionally but can also manifest physically as well.
- Nevertheless, severe or chronic tension headaches can sometimes be a warning sign of an underlying health problem, such as a brain tumor.
On the contrary, secondary headaches are almost always caused by another underlying or pre-existing condition. Unlike primary headaches, secondary headaches tend to be much more excruciating and dangerous, potentially indicating severe head injuries, brain tumors, aneurysms, or other serious life-threatening disorders.
Types of Secondary Headaches Include:
- Hormone headaches: Commonly referred to as menstrual migraines, hormone-induced headaches typically occur during times of menstruation. A staggering 70% of the population suffering from migraines are women, as reported by The National Headache Foundation.
- Post-Trauma headaches: Also known as head injury headaches, these types of headaches can be indicators of traumatic brain, head, or neck injuries.
- Rebound headaches: Rebound headaches are headaches that can be induced by long-term prescription or over-the-counter medications. The intensity and frequency of these headaches vary from person to person.
- If you are experiencing this type of headache, we recommend that you consult with your doctor or another healthcare professional for advice or alternative solutions.
- More often than not, if your healthcare provider opts to take you off any medications, they will typically create a plan that gradually tapers you off the prescription to minimize any potential side effects.
- Most patients who follow their carefully prescribed treatment plans will gradually observe a decrease in rebound headaches.
- Thunderclap headaches: Though rare, a secondary thunderclap headache, especially one that strikes with minimal or no warning, can be indicative of a serious medical condition, such as a brain aneurysm or burst blood vessel. If you think you have experienced this kind of pain, we urge you to seek immediate emergency medical attention.
While usually identified as physical pain, headaches can also lead to a variety of distressing mental states, emotional reactions, or psychological responses. An experienced chiropractor may opt for a more holistic treatment or approach in order to identify the core of your issues and provide you with long-term relief.
How Chiropractic Helps Headaches
Professional chiropractor care is exceptionally effective in treating most types of headaches, employing a numerous variety of different treatments.
Traditional Chiropractic Adjustment
Traditional chiropractic adjustments typically involve meticulous, precise adjustments to realign and manipulate the spine. Since spinal alignment plays a crucial role in nerve health and function, traditional chiropractic adjustments are designed to swiftly restore your range of motion, correct major misalignments, and reduce inflammation. Some patients have reported noticeable results after only four to six sessions! Furthermore, routine chiropractic care can help reduce your risk of future misalignments and lower chronic stress levels, decreasing the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Gentle Chiropractic Techniques
While most professional chiropractors are trained to perform spinal adjustments, they can also administer gentle chiropractic techniques. In contrast to vigorous movements, gentle chiropractic techniques employ a slower, lighter approach that often includes soothing rocking motions, massages, or various levels of pressure. These techniques are known to be especially effective in relieving neck pain, relaxing muscles, and restoring normal functions of the spine without a need for more forceful chiropractic treatments.
Chiropractic Massage Therapy
Chiropractic massage therapy is a highly effective treatment that can help alleviate many types of different ailments, including tension headaches and migraines. This type of treatment is designed to target precise trigger points in the upper spine and neck areas in order to:
- Loosen and relax tense muscles
- Relieve muscle spasms
- Improve blood flow throughout the body, especially to the brain
Reduce Headaches Caused by Stress or Emotional Trauma
Sometimes, severe psychological distress can manifest as physical illnesses or disorders. Patients with mental health disorders, such as chronic anxiety, stress, or depression, can often experience headaches or migraines. Moreover, these types of migraines are commonly associated with other physical ailments, such as muscle tension or tightness. Professional chiropractic care can help resolve the pain associated with these symptoms and provide much-needed physical, mental, and emotional relief.
Comprehensive Exercise and Nutritional Education
Professional chiropractors can do more than just diagnose and treat headaches—they can also offer personalized at-home exercises, stress-relieving techniques, and comprehensive lifestyle advice that can help you improve the overall quality of your life:
- Nutritional guidance, such as specific vitamins, supplements, or proteins your body may be lacking
- Tips to stay hydrated and make sure you’re drinking enough fluids each day
- Tips to improve your posture at home and in your day-to-day life
- Best postures for sitting or standing at work (also considered to be a part of ergonomics)
- Correct postures for carrying large or heavy objects
- Discovering the ideal pillow to meet your comfort and support needs
Chiropractic Adjustment for Headaches
If you or your loved ones suffer from chronic headaches, consider scheduling an intake consultation with Imperium Health Center Littleton, your trusted local family chiropractor. Our team will assess your condition and tailor an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs. Don’t wait any longer—schedule today to begin your transformative healing journey: