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90%    Percentage of the population who will have a headache in their lifetime. 

50% Percentage of the population who will have a headache per year. 

1.6 Billion  Number of people who have Tension headaches per year. 

850 Million Number of people to suffer from Migraines each year

1 in 5  patients who visit  a Chiropractor seek treatment for headaches

What is a Headache

Headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head. The most common types of headaches include migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches. Headaches can affect relationships and employment.There is also an increased risk of depression in those with severe headaches.


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Types of Headaches

The three main types of headaches are Tension headaches, Migraines and Cluster headaches.

1 – Tension Headaches

A tension headache is the most common type of headache. They can cause mild, moderate, or intense pain in your head, neck, and behind your eyes. Some people say that a tension headache feels like a tight band around their forehead. Women are twice as likely as men to have tension headaches.

Most people who experience tension headaches have episodic headaches. These occur one or two times per month on average. However, tension headaches can also be chronic.

Causes of Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck regions. A variety of foods, activities, and stressors can cause these types of contractions. Some people develop tension headaches after staring at a computer screen for a long time, or after driving for long periods. Cold temperatures may also trigger a tension headache.

Other triggers for tension headaches include:

  • alcohol
  • eye strain
  • dry eyes
  • fatigue
  • smoking
  • a cold or flu
  • a sinus infection
  • caffeine
  • poor posture
  • emotional stress
Symptoms of Tension Headaches

Symptoms of a tension headache include:

  • dull head pain
  • pressure around the forehead
  • tenderness around the forehead and scalp

The pain is usually mild or moderate, but it can also be intense.


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2- Migraine Headaches

Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms. It’s frequently characterized by intense, debilitating headaches. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines often run in families and affect all ages.

Migraine symptoms

Migraine symptoms may begin one to two days before the headache itself. This is known as the prodrome stage. Symptoms during this stage can include:

  • food cravings
  • depression
  • fatigue or low energy
  • frequent yawning
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • neck stiffness

In migraine with aura, the aura occurs after the prodrome stage. During an aura, you may have problems with your vision, sensation, movement, and speech.

The next phase is known as the attack phase. This is the most severe of the phases when the actual migraine pain occurs. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days. 

Symptoms of a migraine can vary from person to person. Some symptoms may include:

  • increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • nausea
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
  • pulsing and throbbing head pain
  • vomiting

After the attack phase, a person will often experience the postdrome phase. During this phase, there are usually changes in mood and feelings. These can range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy, to feeling very fatigued and apathetic.

The length and intensity of these phases can occur to different degrees in different people. Sometimes, a phase is skipped and it’s possible that a migraine attack occurs without causing a headache. 

Migraine pain

People describe migraine pain as:

  • pulsating
  • throbbing
  • perforating
  • pounding
  • debilitating

It can also feel like a severe dull, steady ache. The pain may start out as mild, but without treatment will become moderate to severe.

Migraine pain most commonly affects the forehead area. It’s usually on one side of the head, but it can occur on both sides, or shift.

Most migraines last about 4 hours. If they’re not treated or don’t respond to treatment, they can last for as long as 72 hours to a week.



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Migraine Triggers

A number of factors may trigger migraines, including:

  • Hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women.Others have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause.
  • Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
  • Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
  • Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
  • Stress. Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
  • Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
  • Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
  • Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
  • Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, can aggravate migraines.
Migraine prevention

You may want to take these actions to help prevent a migraine:

  • Learn what triggers your migraines and avoid those things.
  • Stay hydrated. Avoid skipping meals.
  • Get quality sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for overall health.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Make it a priority to reduce stress in your life and learn to cope with it in helpful ways.
  • Learn relaxation skills.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise may help you not only reduce stress but also lose weight.



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3- Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches occur in cyclical patterns or clusters. These are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head.

Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last from weeks to months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches stop.

Common signs and symptoms

A cluster headache strikes quickly, usually without warning, although you might first have migraine-like nausea and aura. Common signs and symptoms during a headache include:

  • Excruciating pain, generally situated in or around one eye, but may radiate to other areas of your face, head, neck and shoulders
  • One-sided pain
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness in your eye on the affected side
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side
  • Forehead or facial sweating
  • Pale skin (pallor) or flushing on your face
  • Swelling around your eye on the affected side
  • Drooping eyelid

People with cluster headache are likely to pace or sit and rock back and forth. Some migraine-like symptoms — including sensitivity to light and sound — can occur with a cluster headache, though usually on one side.

Risk factors for Cluster Headaches 

Risk factors for cluster headaches include:

  • Sex – Men are more likely to have cluster headaches.
  • Age – Most people who develop cluster headaches are between ages 20 and 50, although the condition can develop at any age.
  • Smoking – Many people who get cluster headache attacks are smokers. However, quitting smoking usually has no effect on the headaches.
  • Alcohol use – Alcohol can trigger an attack if you’re at risk of cluster headache.
  • A family history – Having a parent or sibling who has had cluster headache might increase your risk.



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Headache Red Flags

Although painful and often disabling, the vast majority of headaches are not due to worrisome underlying problems. However, the presence of certain symptoms suggests the need to be evaluated by your doctor. These headache “red flags” include:

  1. Thunderclap Headache: very severe headache that reaches its maximum severity immediately (within a couple of minutes). Thunderclap headaches require emergent medical evaluation.
  2. Positional Headache: headache that substantially changes in intensity in association with changes in position – e.g. standing from lying or vice-versa.
  3. Headaches Initiated by Exertion: headache starting while coughing, sneezing, and/or straining.
  4. New Headaches: especially if older than 50 years of age, or if there are medical conditions that make worrisome headaches more likely (e.g. cancer, blood clotting disorder).
  5. Substantial Change in Headache Pattern: significant increase in headache frequency or significant change in headache characteristics
  6. Constant Headache Always in the Same Location of the Head
  7. Worrisome Neurologic Symptoms: about 1/3 of people with migraine have neurologic symptoms (“migraine aura”) that typically precede onset of a migraine headache. Commonly, aura symptoms consist of slowly spreading visual symptoms sometimes accompanied by tingling of the face and upper extremity. These symptoms resolve within 60 minutes. If these symptoms have immediate onset (as opposed to a slow progression of symptoms), last longer than 60 minutes, or do not completely resolve, medical attention is required. Medical attention is also required if other symptoms are present, such as weakness of one side of the body, change in level of consciousness, significant difficulty walking, or other symptoms that worry you.
  8. Headache that never goes away
  9. Systemic symptoms: including fever, chills, weight loss, night sweats.





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Latest Research on Headaches
The efficacy of chiropractic manipulation on headaches in migraine sufferers (2015)

This study investigated whether a month of Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy delivered to Migraine sufferers would have any effect upon the severity, level of pain and how often patients had migraines.Patinets were treated for a month and asked to keep a pain diary for 2 months after the the treatment month.


The findings of this study showed that chiropractic manipulative therapy to the cervical spine  (neck) decreased disability, intensity and frequency of the headaches experienced by the participants. This effect was maintained at two months following completion of treatment and the intensity and frequency of the headaches showed further improvement in the long term.





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Dainfern Chiro approach to Headaches

Dainfern Chiro’s approach offers a drug free and natural approach to the management of Headaches. Our first line for the treatment of headaches in patients is to identify the cause/triggers of the headaches. The majority of patients who consult us for headaches have either of the following causes:

  • Higher stress or anxiety levels.
  • Poor posture or long periods of time sitting or straining their neck
  • High caffeine intake in the previous few days
  • Related to hormonal changes.

The majority of headaches which we see are tension headaches which are caused by dysfunction in the patients neck which refers forward to the head and around the patients eyes. 

With headaches it is vitally important that any potential red flags are ruled out to determine that the headache is not as a result fo a more sinister condition eg: meningitis.

Once the red flags have been ruled out the chiropractic treatment which is provided to the patient is involves chiropractic adjustment of the the patients neck in the areas of decreased range of motion. There are also soft tissue muscle techniques which are used to decreased the muscle spasm in the neck area.


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