10.12.2013

Treatment of tension headache emedicine

Headaches are one of the most common complaints today in America as well as the rest of the world.
The International Headache Society has categorized headaches comprehensively depending on the causal factors. Primary Headaches are those which are not symptomatic of any diagnosed or undiagnosed ailments in the body and are usually caused due to extraneous factors such as tension, fatigue and stress.
Secondary Headaches, on the other hand, are mainly caused by certain underlying disease conditions of the body and the headaches are merely manifestations of the ailment that can be perceived by the individual. The causal factor for each of the different types of headaches are different and we shall discuss the types and their respective causes in an elaborate manner.
Some of the different types of headaches across the two broad categories are: Tension Type Headache, Benign Exertional Headache, Drug Induced Headache, Migraine, Fibrositic Headache, Thunderclap Headache, Medication Overuse Headache, Vascular Headache, Organic Headache and Cluster Headache.
One of the most common types of headaches are those that are caused due to the tensions and pressure associated with work and everyday activities. Physical stress and strain on the body- Long hours of work, working in a seated position for long, inadequate sleep and hard manual labor may aggravate this type of headache. These physical and emotional stressors are responsible for the muscles around the brain and skull to tighten and clench. Migraine headaches can be severe in intensity and are capable of stalling the person’s everyday activities once it strikes.
Migraines are believed to be caused due to changes in the posterior brain stem region as well as its association and interactions with the important trigeminal nerve.
Alterations in one’s sleeping patterns and inadequate sleep may also result in migraine headaches. During migraine attacks, serotonin levels drop as a result of which neuropeptides are released, triggering the pain sensation in the brain. Cluster headaches are believed to be caused due to some abnormalities near the brain stem area or the ‘Hypothalamus’ portion in the brain.
Secondary headaches are mainly caused due to some illness experienced by the person and may also act as warning signs of certain undiagnosed disease.
This is another severe form of headache which reaches crescendo within a very short span of time. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage is the most plausible cause for thunderclap headaches, however, these are also caused by various other conditions. Cervical Artery Dissection, or the tearing of arteries in and around the area of the neck may also result in thunderclap headache.


Identifying the causes for this type of headache is crucial in treating the primary ailment as well as the external manifestations of the illness in the form of headaches. When the symptoms of headaches present themselves for an extended period of time, it is best to consult a doctor and get the underlying causal factors diagnosed in order to identify any serious condition that may be resulting in the recurrent headaches. Headaches are a common problem that can be triggered by many different factors, from stress to an undiagnosed spinal injury.
New research published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy supports the case for using chiropractic spinal manipulation to treat cervicogenic headaches. After 24 weeks, patients in the chiropractic group continued to experience greater benefit from their treatment, with 56% reporting that their head pain was less disabling compared to 38% improvement among the control group. This can cause pain in the head from a variety of sources: Compression of nerves that innervate the head, Referred pain into the head from the neck from tight muscles, Referred pain into the head from joints in the neck that are not moving properly.
Headaches have the capacity to turn your head upside down and distract you greatly from your daily routine.
The stress on classifying headaches under this category is the symptoms presented and not the underlying causes. Conditions such as meningitis, encephalitis, epilepsy and brain tumor can giver rise to secondary headaches.
As the name suggests, tension and stress are the core contributors to this type of headache. Food with high concentration of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and preserved food trigger headaches in few instances. Muscular spasms thus produced result in the pressure and pain that is felt by the individual as headache. Throbbing or pulsating pain is felt, usually only on one side of the head and sometimes may be accompanied by vomiting and nausea. There is lack of a clear understanding on the precise reasons behind these attacks, however, several factors individually and in combination are believed to give rise to migraine headaches. Women suffering from migraines experience headache aggravation during or before the onset of their monthly periods. Cluster headaches are believed to be the most painful form of headaches where the person experiences such an extreme intensity of pain that it is also dubbed as ‘Suicide Headache’.
Brain activities have been mapped with the help of neuroimaging and the extreme pain associated with cluster headaches have been linked to the abnormalities in the hypothalamus region.
This is indicative of certain underlying medical conditions, some of which may be life threatening, and the most important of which is Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.


Those that can be traced to disorders in the neck are called cervicogenic headaches, and this type of headache may affect as many as 20 percent1 of patients experiencing chronic head pain. A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon, compared the effects of spinal manipulation treatment to light massage on a group of 80 patients suffering from cervicogenic headache.
Over three-quarters of participants who received spinal manipulation treatment noted some reduction in the number of headaches during the course of the study.
Illustrating risk difference and number needed to treat from a randomized controlled trial of spinal manipulation for cervicogenic headache. Upon physical examination, it can be easily determined if this is the cause of your head pain. Medically termed as ‘Cephalalgia’, there are several types of common as well as less common headaches, each with their own specific causes, signs and symptoms. Tension headaches tend to affect both sides of the head with mild to moderate pain intensity. Certain people are predisposed to cluster headaches and it is believed that it has some hereditary link as it tends to run in families.
Although their symptoms are similar to those of tension headaches and migraines, cervicogenic headaches are often a result of injury or other trauma.
They found that over a 12-week period, 42% of study participants who received spinal manipulation treatment reported significant pain reduction compared to just 23% of those who received massage. Once diagnosed, comprehensive treatment to eliminate the cause of the pain can yield highly successful outcomes. Most forms of headaches are rather benign although some headaches may be warning signs of certain ailments in the body and these signs should not be missed at the early stages for the treatment to be effective and to recover from the condition at the earliest. The headaches falling under this category are the more common types suffered by people worldwide. The pain is constant and excessive pressure is felt on the head, especially the forehead region. Because cervicogenic headaches often restrict a patient’s range of motion, this condition can seriously impact physical abilities and overall quality of life.
During that same period, the chiropractic group experienced a greater reduction in the number of headaches (64% versus 46%) and reported that pain interfered less with their daily activities.



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