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Headache Disorders

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Some experience headaches occasionally, some get them more frequently. Pain can range from dull, achy and throbbing to debilitating with visual disturbances and nausea. There can be many underlying causes, majority of which are caused by prolonged tension or strain in the muscles and joints of the upper back and neck, sinus pressure, malalignments of the skull or facial bones, improper function/drainage of the sinuses, whiplash, post concussive disorders and/or temporomandibular joint (jaw) dysfunction.

 

According to the World Health Organization there are 3 primary types of headache disorders:

 

Types of headache disorders

Migraine, tension-type headache and medication-overuse headache are of public health importance as they are responsible for high population levels of disability and ill-health.

 

Migraine

• A primary headache disorder.

• Most often begins at puberty and most affects those aged between 35 and 45 years.

• It is caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.

• Migraine is recurrent, often life-long, and characterized by attacks.

• Attacks include features such as

• headache of moderate or severe intensity;

• nausea (the most characteristic);

• one-sided and/or pulsating quality;

• aggravated by routine physical activity;

• with duration of hours to 2-3 days;

• attack frequency is anywhere between once a year and once a week; and

• in children, attacks tend to be of shorter duration and abdominal symptoms more prominent.

 

Tension-type headache (TTH)

• TTH is the most common primary headache disorder.

• Episodic TTH is reported by more than 70% of some populations; chronic TTH affects 1-3% of adults.

• TTH often begins during the teenage years, affecting three women to every two men.

• Its mechanism may be stress-related or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck.

• Episodic TTH attacks usually last a few hours, but can persist for several days.

• Chronic TTH can be unremitting and is much more disabling than episodic TTH.

• This headache is described as pressure or tightness, like a band around the head, sometimes spreading into or from the neck.

 

Cluster Headache (CH)

• A primary headache disorder.

• CH is relatively uncommon affecting fewer than 1 in 1000 adults, affecting six men to each woman.

• Most people developing CH are in their 20s or older.

• It is characterized by frequent recurring, brief but extremely severe headache associated with pain around the eye with tearing and redness, the nose runs or is blocked on the affected side and the eyelid may droop.

• CH has episodic and chronic forms.

Medication-overuse headache (MOH)

• MOH is caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache.

• MOH is the most common secondary headaches.

• It may affect up to 5% of some populations, women more than men.

• MOH is oppressive, persistent and often at its worst on awakening.

 

Manual osteopathy is an excellent treatment approach that can provide relief by reducing muscle and nerve tension, helping structural alignment, and facilitating vascular drainage. Osteopaths look at the body as a whole functioning unit, our goal is to integrate all systems of the body so it functions optimally and has the ability to heal itself. An osteopathic practitioner will also assess and recommend any lifestyle changes or remedial exercises that might be needed as an adjunct to treatment. No one should live in pain, relief is possible.

 

Today is the day to start your journey towards health and feeling better!

 

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