Headache Symptoms – How to Know What Kind of Headache You Have

January 7, 2018

Differentiating symptoms from headache types

What is a headache? The short answer is that a headache is a condition that causes a person to experience pain in his or her head. That having been said, there are many types of headaches, and each kind has different symptoms that can help to identify it. In fact, you may even discover that your headache is actually a migraine. Let’s take a closer look at six types of headaches and the symptoms that accompany them.

#1 Sinus Headache

Sinus headaches are most often associated with a sinus infection, but you don’t necessarily have to have an infection to experience this type of headache. The most common sinus headache symptoms include head pain, pain in the temples, and pain below the eyes. If this is accompanied by discolored mucus and fever, an infection most likely exists. However, keep in mind that migraines can cause congestion, so don’t assume it is a sinus headache just because you have had to blow your nose a lot.

#2 Tension Headache

This is the most common form of headache, and the headache itself is usually the only symptom. What distinguishes a tension headache? The pain is typically mild to moderate – not enough to put a person out of commission. There may also be tightness in the neck and shoulders since the headache is related to this tension. Finally, the pain is often described as being as though you are wearing a headband that is gradually being tightened.

#3 Migraine Headache

In this case, the headache is just one symptom of a more significant neurological issue – migraines. Other common symptoms of migraines include sensory sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, and neck pain. Since not all migraines present with a headache, this isn’t technically a headache type, but since 85% or more migraine patients report a moderate to severe pulsating or throbbing headache, it made our list. Also, don’t be misled by the idea that migraine pain is only on one side. About a third of migraines hurt all around the head, much like a tension headache but with other accompanying symptoms.

#4 Cluster Headache

Cluster headache symptoms include severe head pain on just one side of the head that repeats in clusters. While these debilitating headaches don’t usually last long, knowing that a number of them will happen over the course of the next days or weeks can be miserable. The eye on the side of the head that hurts often waters. Cluster headaches are the only type of headache that is more common for men than women.

#5 Chronic Headaches

A person with chronic headaches may be experiencing any of the types of headaches on our list. The distinguishing factor is that the headaches occur 15 or more days out of every 30 day period. For some, headaches become an everyday occurrence. Sadly, chronic headaches can sometimes result from what many consider headache treatment – which leads us to our next headache type.

#6 Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are also called medication overuse headaches. Unfortunately, many of the medications that are taken as headache treatment are only intended for occasional use. Most people think of over-the-counter headache medications as relatively safe and may not even notice on the label where it says that the product is not for daily or long-term use. By taking prescription or over-the-counter pain pills more than a time or two per week, a person can end up with rebound headaches. According to some researchers, this may be the number one cause of chronic headache conditions. The only way to know how many of a person’s headaches are being caused by the medication is to stop taking it long enough to see how many fewer headaches a person gets. This has led many people to seek out natural treatment for headaches. Is there any way to find natural headache relief?

An Option for Patients Seeking Natural Treatment for Headaches

If you are looking to get rid of your headaches without the medication, you may be excited to learn about how much success upper cervical chiropractic care has had in case studies. What is upper cervical chiropractic and why do patients with various headache types respond to this form of care?

Upper cervical chiropractic is a niche in the chiropractic field that sets itself apart in three crucial ways:

  • Focus – We focus on the top two bones of the spine. We believe that health flows from the top down and that if the C1 and C2 are in their proper place, the rest of the spine will follow.
  • Precision – We’re talking about hundredths of a degree of movement. That means two things. One, we have to take exact measurements using modern diagnostic imaging techniques. And two, we use very precise and gentle adjustment techniques.
  • Long-Lasting – We don’t expect you to come back every week – at least not once your adjustments start holding. That’s the beauty of gentle adjustments. The body doesn’t fight back so they last longer. You only get adjusted when you need it.

But you may still be wondering what your neck has to do with headaches. Well most headaches, from tension headaches to migraines, have neck pain as a symptom. Plus, many people start getting headaches after some type of head or neck trauma. If that sounds like you, even if the injury was minor, it may be an upper cervical misalignment causing the problem by affecting brainstem function or blood flow to the brain.

To learn more about what upper cervical chiropractic may be able to do for you, contact a practitioner in your local area to schedule a consultation.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.


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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.