How Different Types Of Headaches Are Treated

By Dr. Philip Cordova

May 15, 2024


Different types of headaches have the potential to disrupt your day, each arising from distinct reasons. Getting relief for your specific type of headache depends on understanding the originating cause of your pain, thereby determining the appropriate treatment.

For occasional headaches, simple home remedies are usually enough; however, if headaches become more frequent or your usual relief methods prove ineffective, it’s time to reach out to us to address the issue more effectively.

There is not a “normal amount” of headaches, despite what some patients say to us when they first come to see us. They don’t necessarily consider their headache to be a problem because “it’s only happening 2 or 3 times per week, you know, the normal amount.” Zero headaches is the normal amount.

Tension Headaches

Tension is the culprit In most cases, tension is the primary culprit, with up to 90% of headaches stemming from physical or emotional tension, a.k.a. stress!

Commonly known as stress headaches or muscle contraction headaches, these manifest as mild to moderate pain on both sides of your head, around the temples, and behind the eyes. It often feels like a tight band is constricting the head, face, and neck.

The everyday stresses of life can cause muscles around the scalp, jaw, neck, and shoulders to contract, leading to tension headaches. Poor posture exacerbates this, with hunched shoulders and abnormal curves in the back and neck contributing to physical tension.

Other triggers include certain foods, caffeine withdrawal, lack of sleep, cold temperatures, eye strain, and prolonged periods in a single position, such as sitting or standing.

different types of headaches

Sinus Headaches

These are more common during allergy season, and will present around the nose and under the eyes. These are your sinuses and they are inflamed and irritated due to increased pressure. Our patients suffering with sinus headaches notice benefit from chiropractic care along with help from their allergy specialist.

Some people confuse sinus headaches and tension headaches. They will think the tension headache is due to allergies and vice versa. These are very different types of headaches.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that are caused by problems in your neck. These are most commonly located at the back of your head. These can feel very similar to tension headaches, because they are related to bad posture and tension.

Both tension and cervicogenic headaches are the most common due to stress and so much time spent on computers. Most of our new patients experiencing headache problems will fall into these categories, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help with other different types of headaches.

Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches can be debilitating, lasting from four hours to about three days. These induce intense, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Sensitivity to light and sound exacerbates the discomfort, often necessitating rest in a quiet, dark room.

Migraines may sometimes herald their arrival with warning signs, such as visual disturbances or difficulty speaking. Early warning auras may manifest as confusion, stiffness, or tingling sensations in the limbs.

Cluster Headaches

Although rare, cluster headaches are extremely painful and occur with high frequency. Sufferers may experience headaches every few days or even multiple times a day.

These headaches typically affect one side of the head, causing severe pain akin to a hot poker behind the eye. Swelling and redness of the eye and nose may occur, with these headaches often striking during the night. Auras may precede a cluster headache.

This uncommon type of headache may result from head trauma or disruptions in the body’s biological clock, possibly due to genetic factors. Smoking and alcohol consumption can act as triggers.

Treatment for Different Types of Headaches

In cases of frequent or severe headaches, keeping a headache diary can be invaluable for identifying patterns and triggers. Medications are often the first line of defense, with over-the-counter options usually sufficient for tension headaches, but those remedies don’t fix anything. Addressing root causes such as poor posture, dietary triggers, or stress is crucial to prevent reoccurring tension headaches.

For migraines, prescription drug therapy may be necessary, targeting nerves and blood vessels to alleviate pain. Advanced treatments like neuromodulation may also be considered. Cluster headaches often respond to similar treatments as migraines; however, if these prove ineffective, further diagnostic steps may be warranted to uncover underlying causes.

The best thing you can do for any of these different types of headaches is to start with a chiropractic evaluation. Depending on the type of headache you are experiencing, we will likely use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, cervical decompression therapy, and PEMF therapy to get to the root cause of your problem. After that, we will recommend home posture devices and exercises to maintain and support your new found headache-free life. Call or schedule online today.

Dr. Philip Cordova

About the author

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and decided to become a chiropractor after hurting his back as a teenager and getting help from chiropractic care. He is speaker on health & posture. Click Here To Read His Full Bio

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