Headaches are an extremely common minor ailment, but frequent, prolonged, or worsening headaches can inhibit you from going about daily activities and should be treated.
The WHO reports that nearly everyone will experience the occasional headache, but when headaches occur often, they become a symptom of a headache disorder. Oftentimes, headaches aren’t considered serious, but that doesn’t make the pain any easier to manage.
If over-the-counter pain medication doesn’t work, a person may feel defeated when tackling their painful headaches. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment methods that can help you face your pain head-on and return to a sense of normalcy.
Tension in the neck and frequent headaches can be the result of misaligned vertebrae putting excessive pressure on the muscles and nerves. At Optimum Health Rehabilitation Center in Tucker, our headache specialists utilize chiropractic care and innovative pain relief techniques to treat your headaches from the root of the problem.
When you work with a headache treatment specialist at Optimum, you gain a knowledgeable team of professional advocates whose main objective is to help you minimize symptoms or feel fully pain-free again.
Take control of your health with the resources available from our local team of professionals. To speak with a trusted member of our team, contact us online or call (404) 793-1600.
When It May Be Time to Seek Headache Treatment
How do I treat chronic headaches? Instead of managing frequent headaches with over-the-counter medicine, a more comprehensive approach is available.
In Tucker, Georgia, the wellness specialists at Optimum Health can work with you to personalize a treatment plan that targets the cause of your pain instead of focusing on the symptoms. Almost all kinds of headaches can potentially be treated with a branch of Optimum’s chiropractic and wellness services!
Using diagnostic panels and non-invasive testing, a specialist can assess where the problem may be stemming from and develop a course of action to reverse the symptoms from their core, leaving you with long-lasting relief.
Many types of head pain can actually be related to tension in the neck and spine. An Optimum care specialist can introduce spinal manipulative therapy to relieve tension and decompress tight spots in the neck, allowing for near-instant relief. Moreover, services like therapeutic massages, strategic stretching, traction, and trigger point injections have also been proven effective for head pain.
What Could Be Causing Frequent Headaches?
There are many different types of headaches, with some having more serious underlying causes than others. Most headaches aren’t considered serious and are recommended to be treated at home, but over-the-counter headache medication and drinking extra water can only go so far.
To effectively treat your headaches, it is essential to first understand what is causing them.
Some common causes for headaches that are not considered serious include:
- Lack of sleep: Not getting enough rest can trigger frequent headaches, especially in new parents or adults with high-stress jobs. Fatigue headaches are a common consequence of a busy lifestyle.
- Jaw clenching: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the skull to the lower jaw, and clenching in flames this sensitive area. If you notice headaches, specifically after stressful activities like working or solving conflicts, you may have a jaw-clenching problem.
- Unbalanced diet: Having an irregular diet can adversely affect the body in various ways including frequent headaches. Most commonly, dehydration and excess sugar will cause irritating headaches. This is your body’s way of letting you know that it isn’t receiving a balanced level of the nutrients it needs.
- Incorrect eyeglass prescription: Prolonged use of the wrong eyeglass prescription can cause headaches due to straining the eyes. Your eyes will fight the eyeglasses and overwork the connected muscles, which will lead to irritating pain behind the eyes.
- Stress: Stress oftentimes creates a clench and contract cycle in the neck which can irritate the surrounding muscles and lead to headaches. Stress headaches can affect anyone, most commonly older teenagers and adults. This type of tension headache is generally described as a squeezing pain that feels like a person putting pressure on either side of your head.
- Overuse of headache medication: Pain relieving medicine from your local drugstore is typically most efficient the first few times you use it. A person can develop a tolerance to simple headache medicine at a rapid rate, leaving the sufferer back where they started.
- Poor posture: By not focusing on proper posture, a person can put themselves at risk for tension headaches because of the long-term compression in the neck and spine. This pain is generally most prominent at the base of the skull but can flash to the front of the head in waves.
- Hormone fluctuation: Whenever estrogen levels fluctuate, a woman can develop headaches as a sign of that hormonal change. Specifically, a drop in estrogen is linked to headaches.
Some causes of persistent headaches do have serious underlying causes which should be ruled out by a medical professional, including some of the following:
- Inflammation around the brain: Symptoms of infectious encephalitis include headaches, nausea, fever, stiffness, vomiting, double-vision drowsiness, and confusion. This condition is serious and should be immediately treated by a doctor. Inflammation around the brain can be the beginning stage of a stroke.
- Injury: There are roughly 1.5 million cases of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year. Headaches related to a recent injury typically develop within a week of the accident and should be assessed by a doctor. Symptoms of a serious head injury include loss of consciousness, a headache that persists or worsens, dilation of one or both pupils, weakness, slurred speech, and vomiting.
- Too high or low intracranial pressure: There are a few conditions that cause abnormal intracranial pressure. Symptoms include a headache, blurred vision, changes in behavior, weakness or trouble walking or talking, feeling less alert than usual, getting less sleep, and vomiting. An alarming combination of these symptoms should be checked out by a doctor.
- Infections: A headache is one of the initial symptoms of an infection. A headache can be caused by anything from the flu to meningitis. Other symptoms that may hint to infection include photophobia (sensitivity to light), unusual sleepiness, stiffness in the neck, irritability, or vomiting.
Types of Headaches
Headaches are common, but how do we decipher between them? To organize the types of headaches, each kind of headache is placed in the primary or secondary category.
Primary headaches are not considered the result of an underlying medical condition and can have many causes, including overexertion and even genetics.
The types of primary headaches are as follows:
- Tension headaches
- Cluster headaches
- New daily persistent headaches (NDPH)
On the other hand, secondary headaches are related to some underlying medical condition that, once treated, should resolve the pain. A headache is considered a symptom of an underlying condition and is typically accompanied by other signs.
Secondary headaches are not necessarily always more dangerous, but a person should be promptly assessed by a medical professional if they notice a combination of uncomfortable symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
Secondary headaches that are not considered serious and should usually stop when treated include:
- Dehydration headaches
- Sinus headaches
- Medication overuse headaches
While it is rare, certain kinds of secondary headaches can be potentially life-threatening when accounting for the serious underlying cause they represent, such as:
- Spinal headaches: These intense headaches are caused by fluid leaking out of the membrane that covers the spinal cord. Most notably, this condition can happen after a spinal tap. Left untreated, this condition can have life-threatening complications.
- Thunderclap headaches: Just like the name, these headaches appear suddenly like a clap of thunder and only last a short period of time. The pain, however, is overwhelmingly intense. While these headaches can be harmless, they can also be a symptom of more serious concerns and should be assessed by a doctor.
Can You Prevent Headaches from Developing?
Preventative care can be one of the most effective ways to treat many common ailments. Nipping a headache in the bud can mean instilling new habits into your daily routine and kicking out old ones.
Some of the best ways to prevent ongoing headaches include:
- Committing to daily exercise: Exercise can release tension in the body and releases a natural painkiller, endorphin. Daily exercise can also improve posture and stretch your muscles to prevent tight compression in the neck.
- Improving diet: Some foods can reduce the likelihood of certain types of headaches, while others may make them worse. Working with a nutritionist can allow you to optimize your diet while avoiding common stressors, such as reducing your caffeine intake.
- Quitting smoking: Nicotine alone has a link to headaches, but cigarettes and other tobacco products have so many other chemicals that can increase the chance of frequent headaches.
Find Relief From Headaches at Tucker Optimum Health
Chronic headaches can be a debilitating ailment to manage, especially while trying to accomplish daily activities. Thankfully help is out there, and it starts at Optimum Health in Tucker.
We have trusted team members standing by to help you get started on your journey to headache relief now.
The main objective of our services is to provide comprehensive treatment that tackles the root of the pain instead of suppressing the symptoms so you can feel confident in your new relief. To meet with one of our experienced pain professionals, contact us online or call (404) 793-1600.