The Difference Between Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and migraines are common conditions affecting millions of people worldwide. There are many factors to consider when understanding the cause of these conditions. Different types of physical, chemical and emotional stress— including fatigue, worry, noise, fluorescent lights, travel, improper sleep, smoke and food additives such as MSG and nitrates, often trigger headaches and migraines. Although these things may trigger a headache or migraine, the actual cause of the condition is often a series of traumatic or repetitive micro-traumatic events— including motor vehicle accidents, contact sports, postural habits, whiplash and occupational tasks. Headaches, migraine attacks and/or other symptoms may take weeks, months and even years to show up following these events making it difficult to attribute the episodes to the event.
While headaches and migraines share some similarities, they differ in several ways. Let’s explore the difference between the two and how Neuro-Structural Corrective Chiropractic can help alleviate these conditions.
Headaches are a common type of pain experienced in the head or neck area. There are several types of headaches, including tension headaches, cluster headaches, and sinus headaches. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they are often described as a dull, achy pain that feels like a tight band around the head. Cluster headaches are less common but can be very intense and often occur in cycles or clusters.
On the other hand, migraines are a specific type of headache characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head, along with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. Migraine attacks can last for several hours or even days and can be debilitating for those who suffer from them.
While the exact causes of headaches and migraines are not fully understood, they are believed to be related to a combination of factors, including nerve pressure, Neuro-Structural Shifts, hormonal changes, environmental factors, and lifestyle factors such as stress and diet.
Treatment Options for Migraines and Headaches
Headache and migraine symptoms can be debilitating and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While frequent headache pain is common, it is not normal. It is an indication that something is going on with your health that needs to be addressed.
The treatment for headaches and migraines can vary depending on the underlying cause, severity, and frequency. Some common treatments include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can help to relieve the pain associated with headaches.
- Prescription medications: For more severe or frequent headaches, prescription medications may be used, which are specifically designed to treat migraine symptoms or other drugs that help to prevent or reduce the frequency of headaches.
- Lifestyle changes: Certain lifestyle changes can help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, avoiding triggers such as certain foods or stressors and getting regular exercise.
- Relaxation techniques: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help to reduce stress and tension, which can contribute to headaches.
- Physical therapy: In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to help improve posture, reduce tension in the muscles and improve the range of motion in the neck and shoulders.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of small needles into specific points on the body to help reduce pain and other symptoms associated with headaches and migraines.
These treatments can help alleviate headache and migraine symptoms and reduce the frequency of episodes – particularly lifestyle changes. However, most of these methods do not address the cause of the condition and some even have detrimental effects to your health in the long run, such as pain relievers and prescription medications. “Chronic use of aspirin actually promotes chronic tension headaches,” according to Kudrow, L. MD, California Headache Clinic. Taking painkillers on a regular basis can make subsequent headaches even worse, causing a condition known as “rebound headache” or “medical overuse headache”.
At Platinum Chiropractic our approach is different. When patients come to us with headaches or migraines, we first question why you are experiencing these symptoms. What is your body telling us? How is your underlying structure and nervous system function impacting your health? Our thorough Neuro-Structural examination is designed to tell us just that.
More often than not, patients that come to us with headaches and migraines have Neuro-Structural shifts in their spine. These shifts lead to nerve irritation or compression. In Basic Neurology, Gilroy J. explains that “headaches are frequently caused by compression of cervical nerve roots and prolonged tension of the neck muscles.” Based on your testing results, we create a custom care plan to help correct these misalignments and alleviate this pressure. By effect, this would reduce the severity of headaches and migraines and prevent migraines and headaches from recurring as much in the future.
Just take a look at these results:
“I used to get minor and major headaches almost every day and migraines, along with elbow soreness and pain…The fact that I no longer get headaches on a daily basis is incredible. I am so much happier not having to deal with the pains and the thought of putting another pain killer into my body.”
– Jordan B.
“Prior to seeing Dr. Karo, I was averaging about 18-20 migraines every 6 months…The impact of each migraine was steep and sometimes led to a trip to the emergency room. Since I started treatment with Dr. Karo, the migraines occurred less and were less severe. Now, I maybe get 1-2 migraines every 6 months.”
– Farbod S.
“I had a one month long headache. Had no idea what was wrong. My wife advised me to see Dr. Karo and in the first consultation, he fixed the problem and educated me on the central nervous system. I still remember the release in my upper head and how happy I was.”
– Danny P.
“Neck pain and headaches were a lifelong issue for me. Now I can’t even remember that daily pain as Dr. Karo was able to help me heal properly after only a few months of care.”
– Jill B.
These are just a handful of the countless patients we have helped with their headaches and migraines. We often see that people turn to more invasive treatment methods or medications that can have adverse effects much too early and before they have explored healthier and safer options such as chiropractic care. Our mission is to help more of the community get back to living full, vibrant lives and doing what they love without the use of drugs or surgery. If you’re living with frequent headaches and migraines, there’s no need to keep your life on hold any longer. Schedule a consultation with us today!