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There are many different types of headaches. The following are two of the most common types of headaches, cervicogenic and tension:

  • Cervicogenic headaches typically occur when one or more joints, muscles, ligaments or nerves of the top 3 vertebra of the neck are dysfunctional. During certain neck movements or sustained postures, stretching or compression forces are placed on those tissues. If the forces are beyond what the tissues can withstand, this may cause damage to these structures. The damage can occur traumatically, due to a specific incident, or develop gradually over time. When this occurs, pain may be referred to the head causing a headache.
  • Tension headaches (or stress headaches) are described as a mild to moderate, constant, band-like pain, tightness or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck. Tension headaches can be caused by muscle tightness in the neck and scalp as a result of poor posture, stress, anxiety, fatigue or overexertion. However, the cause is not always muscular in nature and may be triggered by environmental or internal stressors.

Migraines can cause intense throbbing or pulsing on one, or both, sides of the head and are commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours or days and be so severe that you cannot engage in normal daily activities. They can be triggered by certain activities, foods, smells, emotions, stress, fatigue, sleep changes, eye strain, light conditions, and use of certain medications.

Conservative treatment can help to reduce muscle tension in the upper back and neck, positively influence neurological function, and help to identify certain triggers that can be avoided through lifestyle changes. In fact, chiropractic studies have shown that subjects who received chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvements in migraine frequency, duration, disability and medication use compared to the control group. Twenty-two percent of the participants reported more than 90 percent reduction of migraines.

Vertigo is a common symptom presenting in chiropractic patients, especially after head and neck trauma. Vertigo and dizziness can be a very disabling complaint. It is a sense of dizziness or spinning, sometimes associated with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sweating.

It can have many causes and in most cases it is a treatable condition. The treatment used obviously depends on the cause. That is why the chiropractor has to do a thorough examination when you first come in for treatment.

In some cases you may have to be referred to a neurologist for further assessments. But the good news is that the most common causes respond well to conservative care.