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April 2, 2013

Headaches

There are numerous types of headaches each of which have different characteristics and all of them can impact your daily life in various ways.

 

The tension type headache is generally a dull ache and feels like there is a vice around the front and sides of your head.  It can typically last for a few hours and is usually associated with prolonged computer use and stress.  This type of headache comes and goes and is very common.

 

The cervicogenic headache presents with pain and discomfort at the base of the skull and back of the head.  Its source is usually the facet joints in the neck as well as the surrounding musculature.  Cervicogenic headaches are usually underdiagnosed but are quite common in our laptop and smartphone culture.

 

Migraines usually present as a throbbing sensation that is very intense and may be triggered by certain foods, smells or environmental situations.  It is not uncommon that a migraine sufferer wants to be in a dark and quiet room with a pillow over their head.

 

Cluster headaches are more common in men and are very intense for approximately thirty minutes only to return daily for the next several weeks after which they suddenly stop.  There may be a pain free remission period that may last as long as six to twelve months before another cluster headache develops.

 

Finally, rebound headaches are associated with medication and caffeine usage.  As the drug is metabolized, the body goes through withdrawal thereby leading to a headache.

 

There are several exercises that can help ease the tension of some headaches. A simple exercise is rolling the shoulders slowly in a wide sweeping circle.  Repeat ten times and perform three times a day.  Also, try looking down, up and then to the right and finally to the left.  Repeat these range of motion exercises throughout the day

 

Remember there are many causes of headaches.  As a chiropractor, I can address the musculoskeletal causes of head and neck pain by mobilizing the joints in the neck, performing Active Release Techniques on the associated musculature and prescribing appropriate exercises for you.  Remember to seek immediate medical care if you have any red flags as there are many other sinister causes of headaches.
Article by Dr. Khaled Dossa BSc (Kin), DC.  You can contact him at kdossa@teamworkshealth.ca

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