Whether it’s a headache or a migraine, experiencing either of the two can be tormenting. It can get in the way of your work and daily activities, not to mention taking up precious time that you could be spending with your family and friends. What’s even more frustrating is the difficulty in finding a cure that works.
Before anything else, we want to make it clear that headaches and migraines are not the same thing. A migraine is a neurological condition while a headache is just one of a migraine’s symptoms. A headache can also be a condition of it’s own, not related to migraines. There are different types of headaches and migraines. To treat your headache successfully, it is essential to recognize the headache type you are struggling with. Let’s look at some of the different headache types and compare their differences.
- Cluster headaches: These are excruciating headaches that typically affect only one side of the head. They are temporary and may only last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. They regularly persist, even a couple of times every day, and may be followed by month and years of non-headache period. One of its trademark symptoms is the tearing or redness in one or both eyes. Men are more afflicted than women. Some of its triggers are alcohol, certain foods, high altitudes, and cigarettes.
- Tension headaches: These are the most prevalent among the headache types. They bring about persistent aches or pressure on both sides of the head or at the back of the head and neck. Doctors credit stress, anxiety, jaw clenching and bad posture for tension headaches. They are usually not severe, but they can turn chronic. Learning to relieve stress and relax can help combat tension headaches.
- Rebound headaches: They are also referred to as medication overuse headaches. They can occur by taking any pain reliever more than twice a week, regularly. Ibuprofen, aspirin, Tylenol, or triptans (medication for migraines) can all cause rebound headaches. The surefire way to recover is to stop taking any of the medication until nothing’s left in your blood or system.
- Dental headaches: A couple of dental-related conditions such as TMJ (bad jaw alignment) and bruxism (grinding of teeth at night) can spark headaches or even facial pain. If you think you may have this, consult your dentist immediately.
- Caffeine headaches: Too much or too little caffeine can give you headaches. If your body is used to 2 cups of coffee daily, missing a cup can give you a headache. On the other hand, having more than your usual dose can also result in a headache.
- Ice cream headaches: Popularly known as a brain freeze, these headaches can cause short-lived pain and are not dangerous. Those who have migraines are more susceptible to get this type of headache. The medical term for it is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, and they occur when the cold sensation of ice cream or a cold drink touches the palate, the roof of the mouth, leading to an increase in blood flow to the brain’s arteries.
- Sinus headaches: This headache type is often mistaken for migraines as they share similar symptoms such as sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and watery eyes. According to a report, 88% of people who thought they had a sinus headache actually had a migraine. But unlike migraines, sinus headaches have green or red nasal discharge. Sinus headaches also are not accompanied by light or sound sensitivity and nausea.
- Early morning headaches: People with sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea often wake up with early morning headaches. Rebound headaches may happen in the morning during which the medication taken beforehand is leaving the bloodstream.
- Menstrual headaches: Before menstruation, there’s a rapid drop in estrogen levels in a woman’s body that may triggr migraines. They often occur three days before or 3 days after the onset of the period. Women may also have PMS-related headaches that are not migraines. These emerge about six days before a period and are accompanied by cramping, moodiness, and other symptoms of PMS.
- Chronic daily headaches: Headaches are considered chronic if you experience them for more than 15 days out of a month for more than three consecutive months. Some of its common culprits are the overuse of pain relievers, meningitis or tumors, and a head or neck injury. If no cause is identified, it may be due to the distorted pain signals in the body.
- Common migraines: Migraines cause severe throbbing or pulsating head pain. Women are three times more likely to have common migraines than men are. Some of the contributing factors for migraines are brain cell activity, genetics, and blood vessel and nerve function. Change is one common trigger of migraines – this includes changes in eating or sleeping patterns, hormones, and stress levels.
- Classic migraines: Almost identical to the common migraines except an aura is present here. An aura is a temporary visual, motor, or sensory disturbance.
A Proven Effective Method for Headache and Migraine Relief
Many studies have been conducted to turn things around for people suffering from headaches and migraines. Doctors have established a connection between a misalignment in the bones of the upper neck – the C1 and C2 vertebrae to be exact – and the onset of migraines and headaches. A misalignment in this area puts pressure on the brainstem, causing it to malfunction. This can result in headaches.
Upper cervical chiropractic care performs a technique that is gentle, accurate, and safe to help these bones move back into position without forceful popping or cracking the spine. Once the bones are back in their correct alignment, the body can restore its health, and your headaches and migraines can be greatly reduced or even go away completely.