Each year thousands of Martin County residents are involved in car accidents. Here are 3 reasons to choose chiropractic care after a car accident. Some car accidents cause minor damage while others cause major damage. The severity of the damage to vehicles and the severity of the injuries vary. Did you know that the vehicle […]
Cluster headaches are also called “suicide headaches” because of the extreme pain that they cause. Cluster headaches are a rare but devastating form of non-life threatening headaches. These headaches occur in cycles with each cycle lasting weeks to months.
Cluster headaches result when the trigeminal nerve is often pinched, compressed, or shifted improperly due to a spinal misalignment. With that in mind, a chiropractor is ideally suited to help you treat your cluster headaches.
While attending USF, Dr. Danielle of Advanced Wellness Solutions was involved in a serious car accident. Her injuries caused trigeminal nerve pain, which is described as the most excruciating pain known to humanity. Fortunately, she saw a chiropractor (also a Palmer grad), who was able to successfully treat her injuries that caused her cluster headaches. As a result, she was able to complete her bachelor’s degree and go on to graduate from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange Florida.
During the cluster headache cycle, headaches can happen as frequently as every day and last for a few minutes to a few hours. After going through a cycle of cluster headaches, the sufferer will go into a period of remission. During this period of remission no headaches will occur. A period of remission can last anywhere from several months to years.
How do you know if your headache qualifies as a cluster headache?
The symptoms of a cluster headache are pain that is sudden, severe and on one side of the face. The pain often centers around one eye. This pain can be so intense that patients report feeling as if a hot poker has been stabbed into their eye.
The International Headache Society 1criteria is
“a minimum of 5 attacks in a predictable manner [about the same time every day] with severe unilateral periorbital pain peaking in 10-15 minutes and lasting up to 3 hours plus any of the following on the same side: ptosis, red eye, constricted pupil, tearing, nasal congestion and a runny nose. Attacks can occur several times per day for one to several weeks. Then recurrence may not occur for months.”
Other symptoms that often occur are:
- excessive tearing
- redness in your eye on the affected side
- stuffy or runny nasal passage in your nostril on the affected side of your face,
- pale skin (pallor) on your face,
- swelling around your eye on the affected side of your face,
- drooping eyelid (ptosis).
Seek emergency care if you have any of these signs and symptoms:
- Abrupt, severe headache, often like a thunderclap
- Headache with a fever, nausea or vomiting, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, numbness, or speaking difficulties, which may indicate a number of problems, including stroke, meningitis, encephalitis or brain tumor
- Headache after a head injury, even if it’s a minor fall or bump, especially if it gets worse.
- A sudden, severe headache unlike any other headache you’ve experienced
- Headache that gets progressively worse over days and changes in pattern
What causes cluster headaches?
Because of the cycles of intense pain, patients who suffer from cluster headaches can be emotionally raw by the time they seek treatment. This is why speaking with a qualified therapist or counselor is very important. These headaches are severe and have earned the nickname suicide headaches for a reason. In addition to individual therapy, there are also support groups available solely for suffers of cluster headaches.
The cause of cluster headaches is unknown. However an abnormality in the hypothalamus may be to blame due to the clockwork like nature of the attacks. Food and hormones do not appear to play a role but with the splitting headaches that can occur with alcohol consumption, cluster headache suffers tend to avoid alcohol.
Some factors that may affect or trigger cluster headaches:
- Barometric pressure changes
- Napping in the afternoon
- In males parasympathetic activation and sympathetic suppression
- Family history of cluster headaches
- How do you treat cluster headaches?
Treatments for cluster headaches are often palliative (treatments which relieve the pain and make you feel better) with treatment centering on the relieving the pain.
Standard medical intervention includes several pharmaceutical interventions such as oxygen, triptans and local anesthetics.
If taken in the evening, 10 Milligrams of Melatonin can help to reduce nighttime episodes.
Alternative treatments such as chiropractic care and acupuncture are most effective at relieving the symptoms of cluster headaches, but are minimally effective at completely resolving the cycles of cluster headaches.
Because of the intense pain, patients who suffer from cluster headaches are often emotionally and physically drained from the cycles by the time they seek treatment.
Chiropractic care can help to relieve tension in the cervical area due to stress and provide nutritional counseling. Nutritional intervention has been shown to be effective in reducing cluster headaches and cycles.
If you are experiencing cluster headaches and wish to discuss your treatments options, please call 855-509-5400 to schedule your appointment.
“Home & News.” International Headache Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
“Cluster Headache.” Definition. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
Have you ever been sitting at your desk and felt a headache coming on? If it’s a tight headache with band like pains around your head, then chances are good you were experiencing a tension headache.
Note: If you ever experience a vision disturbances or nausea with a headache, seek medical attention immediately!
Can a chiropractor help with tension headaches? Most definitely! Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.1
How do you treat your tension headaches?
- Do you grit your teeth and bear through it until it passes?
- Do you take a pill and hope it helps?
- Do you search Pinterest for that last pin you saw on how to reduce a headache?
If you’re experiencing frequent tension headaches, I recommend that your first course of action should be to educate yourself on the symptoms and causes of tension headaches.
What is a tension headache?
Tension headaches are described as tight, band like pain that goes around the temples and are non-throbbing. The International Headache Society diagnostic criteria for tension headaches are at least 10 episodes lasting 30 minutes to 7 days PLUS 2 of the following:
- Bilateral location
- Pressing or tightening or squeezing in character
- Mild to moderate intensity
- Not aggravated by activity
In addition, there should not be any nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) or phonophobia (sensitivity to sound).
If your headache is accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light or sensitivity to sound, your headache may be a common or classic migraine.
What causes tension headaches?
Although tension headaches are the most common type of headache, the cause remains a relative mystery. Posture, stress and diet all seem to contribute to tension headaches.
Women and middle aged individuals are at a greater risk for tension headaches although the reasoning behind this is still unclear.
It is possible that those who suffer from tension headaches are more sensitive to stress and pain.
Another popular explanation for tension headaches is muscle spasms, although there is debate about whether the muscle spasms cause the tension headache or if the increased sensitivity to pain makes the muscle spasms more pronounced.
Tension headaches are most prevalent in the afternoon and evening hours.
How do you treat tension headaches?
Tension headaches can be treated with over the counter (OTC) medication, lifestyle changes, stress reduction, and chiropractic care.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Diet changes to reduce alcohol and nitrates.
- Posture while sitting at a desk, driving and standing
- Increased water consumption to reduce muscle spasms
- Increase exercise
Stress reduction can include:
- Setting aside a certain time of day to relax and unwind
- Start a calming hobby
Drug Free Headache Treatments and Headache Relief
Chiropractic care for tension headaches may include
- Postural and Ergonomic Instruction
- Nutritional Supplementation
- Trigger Point Therapy
According to the ACA website 1:
Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
If you are experiencing tension headaches and wish to discuss your treatments options please contact Advanced Wellness Solutions today.