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Headache’s are one of the maladies of the western world that many of us are afflicted with at some point in our lives. If you suffer from headache pain it is necessary to get it seen to by a healthcare practitioner.

Most headaches are not sinister in nature and are not due to any major pathological cause, however it is still wise if you do have a headache to go and see what the cause of your headache is. This is so crucial due to the fact that treatment for them is very specific for each cause, and this can be detrimental to your health and well-being if that cause is not found properly.


You should get your headache checked out if:

  • You have a headache that has not changed

  • The pain is starting in your neck and then refers into your head

  • Your headache gets worse when you move your head

  • Head pain is disabling and you are unable to carry out your activities of daily living or can’t carry them out as well as possible

  • Headache is getting worse

  • Your headache is different and more severe than you usually get them

  • You are getting headaches plus you are having other various focal neurological deficits including but not limited to seizures, limb pain, change in personality, changes in memory, visual disturbances, hearing disturbances, among other signs as well

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  • If you have a severe headache, stiff neck and high fever as well as possibly accompanied by any of the following including intolerance to light, vomiting, purple skin rash and drowsiness. If this describes your symptoms then you need immediate medical treatment at a hospital

  • You are getting headaches plus any signs and symptoms of any of the following – including but not limited to vertigo, dizziness, drop attacks, vomiting, nausea, uncoordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, hearing loss, vision loss, facial weakness and problems walking – require urgent medical attention and require immediate care at your nearest hospital

  • You have a headache that started after trauma

Categories Of Headache

There are two categories of headache, which are primary headaches and secondary headaches. Those that are primary headache occur due to no underlying pathological condition, they are occurring due to the condition itself. A secondary headache is present as a symptom of another process, and does not occur without that condition.

Your typical primary headaches include:

  • tension type headache

  • migraine headache

  • cluster headache.

Your most common secondary headaches include:


How can you tell the difference between these headaches?

Only a full history, physical examination, cranial nerve examination, complete neurological testing and occasionally further examination studies are required to determine the cause of the headache and the extent of the problem. It is imperative that if you have any questions about your headaches to seek advice and treatment.

Typical questions and information that we are required from you when formulating a headache diagnosis include:

  • Length of time you have had the headache

  • Age when headaches started

  • When do you get them?

  • How frequently they occur?

  • Severity

  • Location of the headache

  • Is it getting worse

  • Any nausea or vomiting, improves slightly with darkness and no noise

  • Any recent history of trauma? Any loss of consciousness?

  • Worsened by physical exertion

  • What worsens the headache? What makes the headache better?

  • Do you feel sick or have a fever?

  • How is the headache different now to when you first started getting them?

  • Do you have any known triggers that start your headache?

  • What medications do you take? How long for?

  • How much water do you drink per day?


Predisposing/Risk Factors of Headaches


Some of the risk factors for headaches include:

  • Stress

  • Fatigue

  • Grinding teeth

  • Joint problems in your neck

  • Muscle pain/tension

  • Dehydration

  • Skipping meals

  • Too much coffee, energy drinks, fizzy drinks

  • Poor diet

  • Over-medication

  • Certain foods, very bright environments

  • Recurring infections

Preventing Headaches

There are a number of small and practical things that you can do to help decrease the frequency, intensity and duration.


These include:

  • Decrease alcohol, coffee, energy and fizzy drink consumption

  • Make sure you are properly hydrated

  • Regular meditation

  • Regular exercise

  • A proper and consistent amount of sleep every day

  • Correct diet

  • Keeping a diary everyday, which may help to identify your headache triggers

  • Less time with technology

  • Make sure you have correct posture, correct bedding, correct pillows

  • If there is a musculoskeletal component of pain causing the headache regular chiropractic treatment helps


How does chiropractic help headaches?


If we are satisfied enough in the initial consultation that the cause of the pain is attributed to bio-mechanical dysfunction and is a musculoskeletal condition, there are a variety of therapies that we provide to help alleviate your headache. Our first goal is obviously to reduce the pain, intensity, duration and also its frequency of occurrence. Most of the treatment in this stage of care is localised to the musculature of the neck and shoulders. This includes restoring correct bio-mechanics of the neck and shoulder girdle region. We do this by using specific adjustments, mobilisations, soft tissue work, cross friction, stretching, post isometric relaxation and other modalities.


Our next course of action after this stage is to integrate proper movement with more focused and specific exercise that help to provide correct postural adaptation.


Our final step in treatment is a whole body approach whereby we correct our various musculoskeletal syndromes to aid in overall structural rehabilitation.

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