A headache is defined as pain in any region of the head. It can be isolated to one side, or can happen on both sides. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. There are many causes of headaches, ranging from chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or even the muscles of your head and neck (or some combination of these factors). There are many different types of headaches, but the most common are:
A tension headache is generally a diffuse, mild to moderate pain in your head that’s often described as feeling like a tight band around your head. A tension headache (tension-type headache) is the most common type of headache, and yet its causes aren’t well-understood. Symptoms experienced are often: Dull, aching head pain, sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head, tenderness on your shoulder blade and neck muscles.
A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
Affecting more men than women, cluster headaches commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head. Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last from weeks to months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches stop. During remission, no headaches occur for months and sometimes even years. Symptoms are often: Excruciating pain that is generally behind or around one eye, may radiate to other areas of your face head and neck, one-sided pain, restlessness, excessive tearing, redness of your eye on the affected side, stuffy or runny nose on the affected side, forehead or facial sweating on the affected side, pale skin or flushing on your face, swelling around your eye on the affected side, and drooping eyelid on the affected side
There are a variety of factors that can cause headaches. The good news is that many of these lifestyle factors are habits and patterns that you can control. Most common causes of headaches are: food, posture, and medications. Following a thorough history and examination, chiropractic manipulative therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for headaches that originate in the neck. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that chiropractic manipulative therapy resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.