Adult headaches are common, but not normal, and they have a big impact on your overall livelihood. Let’s face it, we are not our best versions of self when we are in pain.
Adult headaches are one of the most common pain disorders we see in chiropractic practice.
Some causes can be as simple as lifestyle factors or as serious as brain tumours. Here is a list of things our chiropractors are thinking of when we are assessing someone with reoccurring headaches:
- Eating enough food or eating regularly (blood sugars)
- Food intolerances
- Poor posture
- Muscle imbalances
- Sinus infection
- Breathing/airway issues
- Head and neck joint inflammatory conditions
- Brain tumours
As chiropractors it is our job to help you discover what your underlying causes are and best treatment options.
There are two main types of headaches – tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches.
Tension headaches often present as a band-like pressure around the forehead and at the base of the skull. They are often mild to moderate in intensity. They vary in duration lasting last anywhere from 30 minutes to seven days. Tension headaches are mainly caused by emotional stresses, poor posture, fatigue and lack of sleep.
Cervicogenic headaches, are secondary headaches, meaning they are caused by injury or dysfunction in the neck that then causes pain to be perceived in areas of the head and face. This type of headache usually present on one side of the head. It starts in the neck or base of the skull and spreading to the frontal or temporal areas. These headaches often first present as episodic pain that comes and goes, which gradually increases in frequency and intensity. Some common causes include trauma injuries such as whiplash, neck stiffness, postural stresses and muscle imbalances.
Migraines are another very common form of headache. A study conducted in 2018, estimated that 4.9 million people in Australia suffer from migraine.2 Migraines are vascular in origin and are often described as severe throbbing on one side of the head. They can be accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. They are more common in females, often first presenting at puberty and worsening with age. Migraine presentation varies widely with attacks typically lasting from hours to 2-3 days and frequency occurring anywhere from once a year to once a week. Migraines are usually caused by a trigger. Common triggers include food such as wine, chocolate and cheese, smells, irregular sleeping, and stress.
Current evidence suggests that chiropractic, including manual therapy, can be effective in improving cervicogenic and tension headaches, as well as decreasing the intensity and frequency of migraines.3 Chiropractic treatment may include manual therapy, soft tissue work, rehabilitation exercises, lifestyle changes, and referral and/or co-management when necessary.
If you are suffering from re occurring headaches please contact our office for an appointment for a thorough history and examination to find out why.
- World Health Organisation. (2016). Headache Disorders. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders
- Migraine & Headache Australia. (2021). Prevalence and Cost of Headache. https://headacheaustralia.org.au/what-is-headache/prevalence-and-cost-of-headache/
- Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Ruegg, R., Shaw, L., Watkin, R. & White, E. (2011). Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics. 34(5);264-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008.