Headaches And Migraines - Common Causes & Treatment Options
Headaches and migraines can seriously interfere with everyday life, making it hard to work, drive or even, get out of bed. While headaches are the most common medical complaint, they are usually manageable, migraines, however, can last days and cause debilitating pain.
Causes Of Headaches And Migraines
Headaches are most commonly caused by muscular tension or joint issues in the neck. The question is why is there tension or joint problems, to begin with? Finding the answer can sometimes be like finding a needle in the haystack. Let me explain.
The neck is designed to allow the head to wobble around in all directions and when the rest of the body is working well, it provides us with great awareness of the surrounding environment. We can look of for predators over our shoulder or perhaps more pertinent in modern times look over our shoulder for oncoming traffic. The neck or cervical spine provides more mobility than any other section of the spine, particularly rotation or transverse plane motion.
This mobility is both a strength and weakness. When other parts of the body such as the hip or even the middle back are tight causing our body to rotate to one side, it is usually the neck that will counteract that by turning the head in the opposite direction to maintain a level outlook on the horizon that is ahead of us. This constant re-correction in the neck over time can cause the muscular tension that leads headaches.
This recorrection is also responsible for the pinching or "twangs" that can occur in the neck when further rotation in the direction the neck has already turned toward to compensate occurs. The joint is over-rotated, and subsequently, the two joint surfaces are jammed together.
This situation can then refer pain into the head and contribute to the typical ‘cervicogenic’ headache.
Other Causes Of Headaches Include:
- Congestion of the sinuses
- Incorrect posture
- Teeth grinding or clenching and jaw imbalances
- Infections and allergies
- Food intolerances
Migraines often begin in early childhood, adolescence or early adulthood and their exact cause is not known. However, genetics and environmental factors to seem to play a part.
Modern Theories About The Causes Of Migraines Are:
- Changes in biochemical interactions between the brainstem and the trigeminal nerve.
- Chemical imbalances in the brain, such as serotonin. Serotonin, which helps regulate pain, drops during a migraine attack.
Migraines can be triggered by:
- Foods and food additives
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Bright lights and sun glare
- Too much or too little sleep
Common Migraine Symptoms:
Migraines are thought to progress through four stages which are:
1. Prodrome: Occurs one to two days before a migraine attack. You may notice; constipation, mood swings, cravings, neck stiffness, dehydration and constant yawning.
2. Aura: Can occur either before or during a migraine, most people will not experience aura. Migraine aura includes; Vision loss and visual phenomena, pins and needles, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, hearing things, or uncontrolled muscle movements.
3. Attack: A migraine attack lasts up to 72 hours. During an attack, you may experience throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, touch or smell, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, or lightheadedness and fainting.
4. Post-drome: Occurs after a migraine attack, includes confusion, dizziness, dizziness, weakness, and sensitivity to lights and sound.
How We Can Treat Your Migraines Or Headaches
We will take an in-depth case history and conduct a range of tests to provide a suitable treatment to improve your quality of life.
Depending on how your symptoms present we can help by:
- Improving your general mobility
- Working on mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine, hips and even feet!
- Investigating muscular tension, nerve compression, and inflammation
- Helping with posture, exercise and stretching to prevent a recurrence of symptom
- Offering advice to improve the ergonomics of your home or workplace.
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, we may be able to help. For more information on what we can do, please call Point Cook Physical on 9369 9766.