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Migraine, Cervicogenic Headache, Tension Headache

Almost everyone has had a headache, and many of us has had one over the course of the past month. Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints, and one of the disruptors of social and family activities, as well as work-related issues. Headaches usually fall in two categories, primary and secondary headaches. Secondary headaches can be caused by any number of conditions, from a severe concussion to a simple case of dehydration. Primary headaches, on the other hand, are not due to any other medical condition. Within this primary category, they often can present as migraine headaches, tension headaches, or cluster headaches, amongst others. 

The most common type of headaches are tension headaches, which often present itself as a mild to moderate constant ache on both sides of the head and often without throbbing. A stronger type of pain, combined with throbbing sensations, and sometimes accompanied by nausea or vomitting, are migraine headaches. Cluster headaches are the more intense painful headaches, with sharp stabbing sensation or burning sensation, often located behind one or both of the eyes. 

While causes of headaches are variable; it can sometimes be the result of a combination of several triggers. Emotional triggers, such as excessive stress and anxiety can cause headaches, as well as fatigue and sleep deprivation. Dietary triggers such as missing meals, excessive use of alcohol can also contribute to a pounding headache. In terms of musculo-skeletal triggers, poor posture and excessive sitting and hunching can cause a build up of tension on the shoulder and neck muscles. 

Getting enough sleep and rest can be helpful to reduce fatigue and stress-related headaches. Whereas paying attention to having a healthy diet and having a moderate alcohol intake can also benefit the body. Proper ergonomic set-up at work or at the home office will significantly reduce stress on the shoulders and neck. Spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by chiropractors – can be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. Physical therapy and guided exercises can also help to reduce the tension in the shoulder muscles, and increase postural effectiveness when working. 

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