Headache specialist in Chicago
Headaches & Migraines Q & A
by Daniel Jacobazzi, D.C., P.T.
Are All Headaches the Same?
Although many headaches produce similar symptoms, the cause is often different. Migraines, for example, are actually a neurological problem. Tension headaches result from spinal misalignment or tense, tight muscles in the neck and scalp. Inflammation of the sinuses causes sinus headaches; allergies and infections may co-occur with sinus headaches. Sinus headaches and migraines may last for days. Cluster headaches, which occur repeatedly in one day, usually only affect one eye or one side of the head.
Aren’t Migraines Just a Headache?
Headaches are a major symptom of migraines, but they are only one of a collection of neurological symptoms. Migraines usually cause severe pain on one side of the head. They often include visual changes, like blurriness or flashing lights. Tingling and numbness can occur in the face or extremities. Some migraines can even cause temporary paralysis, slurred speech, coordination and balance problems, or mental confusion. Most migraines also have specific triggers, like alcohol or other dietary factors.
Do Headaches Have Risk Factors?
Genetics may play a role in many kinds of headaches, as they tend to run in families, particularly in the case of migraines. Mental health and headaches may also have a genetic or biological connection, as people with certain mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, are also more likely to have daily headaches. Women tend to be more susceptible to headaches, especially migraines, than men. Sleep disturbances and stress can increase the risk of headaches.
How Can Chiropractic Help Headaches?
Tension headaches and headaches due to spinal misalignment are often responsive to chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors can also treat sinus headaches with a sinus adjustment that targets the bones and mucous membranes lining the sinus cavities. Migraines may also respond to chiropractic treatment, even though they aren’t caused by a spinal alignment problem. Spinal adjustments do affect the entire nervous system which may be why they help migraines. Combined headaches, such as a migraine plus a tension headache, may also respond to chiropractic treatment.