4 Kinds of Primary Headache and How to Manage Them

Kinds of Primary Headache and How to Manage Them

Headache is a common condition that agonizes many people more than one can count in a lifetime. It’s also the main reason why people seek a chiropractor for migraines. Sadly, few people know much about it, even if it’s a common problem. On top of that, only a handful of patients understand what specific type of headache they have. 

In most cases, people suffering from headaches only know a couple of things. One of which is that headaches are painful and debilitating. Another would be that headaches can occur with other symptoms like neck pain and fatigue. To prevent headaches from taking over your life, let’s help you get more acquainted with this symptom.


Headaches and Its Two Classification

There are two classifications for headaches: primary and secondary. Primary headache refers to the kinds that can occur on their own. They are the condition headaches. On the other hand, secondary headaches happen due to an underlying condition. It is more of a symptom headache than a stand-alone health concern.

Some of the most widespread headache pains today, such as migraine, migraine with aura, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches, fall under the primary headaches category. Are you familiar with them? If not, we encourage you to read on as we tackle them one by one.


Primary Headaches

As previously mentioned, primary headaches occur independently. They do not indicate any underlying medical condition. The signs and symptoms of the headaches under this classification are quite similar, so it is essential to have a good grasp of their nature to avoid delays or errors in diagnosis or problems in seeking the proper remedy. 

  1. Migraine
  2. Migraine with aura,
  3. Tension-type headaches
  4. Cluster headaches 

Migraine and Migraine with Aura

These types are both under migraine. They share the same symptoms and perceived causes. Their usual symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.

As for its causes, medical experts find evidence suggesting a link between migraines and genetics, stress, or in some cases, environmental factors such as the weather, medications, diet, or lifestyle choices.

The main difference between migraine and migraine with aura is that sufferers with aura symptoms experience visual disturbances before the headache sets in. Some examples of visual aura include the following: 

  • Colored spots
  • Stars or sparkles
  • Zigzags
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blind spots
  • Flashes of light

Besides temporary visual problems, patients who experience migraine with aura also notice sensory disturbances such as muscle weakness, confusion, speech problems, pins and needles, muscle jerking, and tinnitus.  

Management of migraine and migraine with aura

Experts are still debating the exact cause of migraine or migraine with auras. Because of this, healthcare professionals like a doctor often rely on medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, ketorolac, almotriptan, lasmiditan, and naratriptan. Some physicians also refer their patients to a chiropractor for migraines. Patients also experiment with popular home remedies like using essential oils and applying a warm or cold compress on the base of the neck and the temples.

Tension-type Headaches

Tension headache is the most popular kind of headache. It causes a debilitating sensation of having a tight band compressing the head at a steady pace. Studies explain that tension headaches happen when you have tight muscles on the sides of the head and neck. Possible triggers of tension headaches are stress, anxiety, fear, or any sudden heightened feelings. 


With tension headaches originating from pressure and anxiety, patients often use relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and massage. Some patients immediately opt for pain-killing medications like ibuprofen or over-the-counter analgesics to ease pressure on the affected muscles and nerves on the neck and head. Others also tap into upper cervical chiropractic to fix their posture and avoid causing unnecessary mechanical strain on the neck.

Cluster Headaches

This kind of headache causes brief but excruciating bouts of pain. The pain usually lasts from fifteen to three hours and gets triggered by allergies, altitude changes, excessive drinking, and smoking. 


Patients with cluster headaches use varying remedies to cope. One example is intranasal dihydroergotamine, a nasal spray known to provide short-term relief from cluster headaches. Another potential remedy you can use is atlas correction. Several case studies attest to the efficacy of neck bone adjustments in minimizing the impacts of chronic conditions such as cluster headaches.

headache, chiropractor for migraines

Upper Cervical Care for Headaches

Living with frequent episodes of migraine (with or without aura), tension, or cluster headaches can be a bummer. It can affect your schedule, work tasks, social functions, and even your relationship with your family and friends. It can also lead to constant anxiety attacks as you anticipate another episode and think of the possible symptoms that you might experience. 

If you have done all the possible DIY and home remedies to manage your headaches but still notice frequent attacks, perhaps it is time to call a chiropractor for migraines. As mentioned above, upper cervical care works wonders in helping patients with different types of primary headaches. 

This is mainly because an upper cervical chiropractor helps relieves tension caused by postural imbalances in the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These two bones sit directly under the head. Unfortunately, due to their design, they can shift by a few millimeters away from the body’s central axis.  This puts mechanical pressure on the spine and forces the muscles, joints, and other connective tissue to compensate for the structural changes. As a result, the body suffers from the following: 

  • Tensed neck muscles and joints
  • Decreased range of motion of the head
  • Poor blood flow and decreased supply of oxygen in the head
  • Increased intracranial pressure due to poor drainage of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Compromised spinal structure and integrity
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Hypersensitivity of nerve roots
  • Brainstem irritation  

Thankfully, upper cervical chiropractic can help you negate these effects and restore balance in your body. It can also help you decrease the risks of developing debilitating headaches or migraine attacks.


Find a Chiropractor For Migraines Today!

If you are experiencing any of the primary headaches we listed above, it will be beneficial for you to give chiropractic care a shot. You can find the nearest chiropractor for migraine through the Upper Cervical Awareness doctors’ portal. Locate a nearby practice today and start embracing improved health and wellbeing.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.