Different Types Headaches + How to Treat

Headaches are a common problem many people deal with. One type of headache we treat here is called a tension type or cervicogenic (neck-related) headache. Below are some of the common symptoms associated with this type:

·      Neck pain/discomfort/tightness with loss of range of motion
·      Worse with prolonged sitting
·      Onset of neck tightness/soreness correlates with onset of headache
·      Onset of jaw tightness/soreness correlates with onset of headache

If your headache fits the above description, the good news is they respond well to treatment and you will likely benefit from seeing a Physical Therapist.

Other types of headaches can also arise from head/neck trauma or concussion, sinus congestion, electrolyte/hormonal imbalances, or be a red flag for other conditions. Red flags include, thunderclap headache which has severe and immediate (within a few minutes) onset, weakness on one side of the body, difficulty walking, change in level of consciousness, onset with fever/chills/weight loss, new headaches over the age of 50, or aura/neurological symptoms that do not resolve in 60 minutes. For many of these headache symptoms, we would recommend for you to see your physician.

And then there are migraine headaches. Migraines present as more severe headaches, include sensitivity to light/sound/smells and sometimes include an aura (typically visual). If migraines start as headaches and have similar symptoms to tension type or cervicogenic headaches, they can respond well to Physical Therapy as well but if they start with an aura or start as a migraine, they typically respond better to medication.

Knowing the difference between the types of headaches can help you find the quickest route to relief!
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