Headaches are a very common condition that most people experience multiple times during their lives. The main symptom of a headaches is a pain in your head or face. This can be throbbing, constant, sharp or dull. Headaches can be treated with medication, stress management and biofeedback.
Headaches can affect anyone regardless of age, race, and gender. It can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine or high blood pressure, anxiety, or depression.
Primary headaches disorders – migraine, tension headaches and cluster headaches – constitute nearly 98% of all headaches; however, secondary headaches are important to recognize as they are serious and may be life threatening
Different kinds of headaches can have their own set of symptoms, emanating from unique reasons, and may need different distinctive treatments.
Types Of Headaches
Tension type headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and teens. They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time. They usually have no other symptoms. The condition is often diagnosed but very poorly understood. The pain is described as aching or pressure, and as feeling as if the head is in a vice. It rarely impacts on activities of daily living. The chronic variant is uncommon and may be associated with medication overuse.
Migraine headaches are often described as pounding, throbbing pain. They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually happen one to four times a month. Along with the pain, people have other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or belly pain.
Hormonal headaches from shifting hormone levels during your periods, pregnancy, and menopause. The hormone changes from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can also trigger headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches (CGH), refers to a headaches of cervical origin. It is associated with neck pain and stiffness. They are unilateral, starting from one side of the posterior head and neck, migrating to the front, and sometimes are associated with ipsilateral arm discomfort. Another type of CGH with bilateral head and neck pain, aggravated by neck positions. The neck pain precedes or co-exists with the headaches, and is aggravated by specific neck movements or sustained postures.
How to prevent headaches?
The easy answer is to try to avoid the causes of headaches in the first place. But doing that takes careful planning. You’ll have to note your triggers first, and write down the characteristics of your headaches, including their frequency, duration, intensity, as well the circumstances surrounding your headaches, including:
- Your medications
- Sleep patterns
- Alcohol intake
- Menstrual cycle, for women
- Stress levels
- Physical problems
Like every ailment that one can have, prevention in the case of headaches are better than cure. They can be reduced by
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Regular means
- Avoiding medication overuse
- Reducing stress
- A regular Exercise routine
- Adequate sleep
How Functional Manual Therapy® Can Help Reduce Headaches?
A functional manual therapist will fully assess different elements and symptoms to understand the root cause of the problem resulting in an accurate diagnosis and precise treatment.
For example, if it is found that the problem originates from the neck, the FMT TM expert will treat the dysfunction, release tensed muscles and correct alignment. The expert will also prescribe specific exercises to stabilize and strengthen one’s neck. The Expert will also take care of posture correction while sleeping, sitting and other daily lifestyle activities
To enhance the functioning, adding core strengthening and diaphragmatic breathing is essential. Not only this, strengthening of upper back muscles and flexibility of the chest muscle (pectorals) is equally important for the maintenance of the recurrent problem for long term.
Similarly, specific treatments will be designed for neck pain that emanates off different sources, leading to a long term solution rather than short term relief.