Headaches are a common aliment worldwide. A comprehensive literature search identifying population-based studies on headache and migraine published from 1988 to present was conducted. Studies were collected documenting headache data from 43 different countries across six continents. The resulting data estimates that globally, 46% of adults have an active headache disorder. That includes people suffering from migraines (11%), tension type (42%) and chronic daily headache (3%). The life time prevalence or odds that you will suffer from a headache some point in your life, is higher: 66% for headache, 14% for migraine, 46% for tension type headache.
How Do You Know What Type Of Headache You Are Suffering From?
Properly diagnosing a headache disorder can be difficult. There are several different categories of headaches and subcategories within those, and for that reason doctors often ask for as much detail about the headache as a patient can give. To aid in diagnosis and constancy across health fields, the International Headache Society has developed criteria for the classification of headache types. For a complete listing and understanding of the headache types please visit their website. The more common headache types are briefly listed below.
Migraine With and Without Aura
With Aura: The patient is often female and presents with a complaint of unilateral throbbing headaches that are preceded by an aura. The aura consists of a progressively increasing blind spot surrounded by flashing lights. This lasts for about 30 minutes and is replaced by a disabling headache that lasts for several hours to as long as 1-3 days causing the patient to seek a dark, quiet environment. There can also be associated nausea and vomiting.
Without Aura: The patient is often female complaining of unilateral, pulsatile headache that is recurrent, having begun when she was a young adult. There are not associated visual or other neurologic signs or symptoms. The headache is severe; however, the patient is usually about to continue with their daily activities. There may also be an association with nausea and /or photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound) in both cases.
Tension Type Headaches
Tension headaches consist of frequent episodes of headaches lasting minutes to days where the headache is often worse in the afternoon or early evening. The pain is typically bilateral at the back of the head or above the eyes, has a pressing or tightening/vise grip quality, and is of mild to moderate intensity. It does not usually worsen with routine physical activity. There is no nausea, but photophobia or phonophobia may be present.
The presentation is often a middle-aged male complaining of incredibly painful headaches that surround the eyes or temporal region. The headaches cluster over a few days or week and then end, only to appear again several weeks or months later. The headache lasts on average 30 minutes. Individuals often suffer from associated symptoms including: runny nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and forehead or facial sweating. Most patients are quite restless and or agitated during an attack.
The individual may complain of daily headaches with no associated neurologic causes. The pain is referred from irritated joints and muscles in the neck and can be due to numerous different incidents.
That Treatment is Available for Your Headache
There is no need to suffer with your headache disorder. Today’s health professionals are well trained to deal with you complaint. A Chiropractor can offer safe, drug free treatments that are proven to reduce many types of headaches. Chiropractic manipulation and mobilization to the joints of the neck, as well as soft tissue therapy to the affected muscles has shown to give relief from headaches. The chiropractor may also address other lifestyle factors that could be contributing to your headaches, for example: stress, posture, ergonomics, sleeping habits, exercise routine, diet, etc.
Talk to a chiropractor today about the different options available to help you or someone you know get relief from headaches.
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 Stovner LJ, Hagen K, Jensen R, Katsarava Z, Lipton R, Scher AI, Steiner TJ & Zwar J-A. The global burden of headache: a burden of headache: a documentation of headache prevalence and disability worldwide. Cephanlalgia 2007;27:
 Souza TA. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor Protocols and Algorithms. Third Edition 2008
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