There are a number of common causes of headaches, these include:
It is recommended that you seek care from one of our chiropractors if:
It is recommended that you seek medical advice if:
If your headache is related to your neck, or upper back then chiropractic may be a fantastic way to reduce the pain associated with a headache. However, there are various things your can do yourself to manage your headache.
We use evidence-based treatments for head and head pain that are supported by the latest research.
A classic migraine comes with a set of symptoms called aura. These symptoms generally last for about an hour. While a common migraine strikes without aura, up to 1 in 3 people will experience aura symptoms.
Common aura symptoms include:
A migraine can start at any time with symptoms occurring before, during or even after a migraine. While not all migraines are the same, general symptoms may include:
You don’t need to see a GP when you experience a migraine. However, it’s recommended you do if you are over 50+ years old; your aura symptoms last longer than one hour and/or if your migraine gets worse or are becoming more frequent.
There are varying complications with migraines. In some cases, a migraine can last longer than 72 hours, this is referred to as a migrainosus and those who experience this should visit a GP.
A chronic migraine is used to describe migraines experienced more then 15 days a month over the course of three months per year. It is important to note that when referring to illness, the term chronic to indicate how long a person has experienced that condition, rather than the severity of it.
Chronic migraines are occur in 1% and they are treated with increasing amounts of medication to control the number and frequency of migraine episodes. The result of increased medication may result in, what is referred to as, medication-overuse headaches.
Those who experience frequent migraines may be at risk of stroke, anxiety, depression and panic related disorders.
While the cause of migraines is not known, they may be the result of a chemical called serotonin. A decrease in the levels of serotonin cause changes to the blood vessels in the brain. The reason the levels change is also unknown.
Common triggers can include:
Less common triggers can include:
Some women may experience migraines in the lead up and during their periods, pregnancy and menopause. Women may also experience them as a result of certain medications, such as oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. These hormonal changes may impact the severity and frequency of migraines.
While there is no particular test that can diagnose a migraine, your GP will look at other ways to identify your symptoms and look for possible triggers and patters. This is where a diary tracking the pattern of your migraines can be helpful, as well as your medical history.
There are ways that you can help manage your migraines that include keeping a diary to record your symptoms, the frequency, how long they last and what medications you have taken, if any. These recordings will help your GP identify patterns.
You can also help the severity of your migraine by resting in quiet, dark rooms. Cold or hot towels applied to the pressure points on the side of the forehead or neck can also be effective in relieving symptoms.
Migraines are multifactorial. Exercise has been shown to help, however if you are suffering from stiffness, tightness, lack of mobility or your joints just aren’t working like they once did. This is very important, migraines leave people stiff, tight and usually couped up in the house all day. Chiropractic can help alleviate these aspects of migraine.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, most migraine medications will be unsuitable, so it is recommended that you consult your GP before taking any medications, as they may be harmful to your baby. Our chiropractors frequently see patients with headaches and migraine during pregnancy. For many patients this will relate to mechanical changes that occur during pregnancy. Pregnancy leads to a lot of mechanical (postural) changes in the female body including the way women walk, sleep, move, bend and even has an effect on changing the little things that we do throughout the day, such as getting out of a chair or bending down to pick up something from the floor. These changes in the way we hold ourselves tighten muscles and stiffen joints and this felt in the neck and head.
To help prevent the onset of migraines, it’s important to try and identify the signs and triggers. The most effective way of doing this is through a diary that notes the patterns of your migraines.
Exercise has also shown positive results. In doing 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise for 5 or more days a week may help prevent migraines.
Chiropractic can be a useful tool when combating neck related headaches. It is common for different types of headache to be caused by neck problems. We provide a comprehensive approach to neck related headaches using safe and effective treatments.