Reoccuring headache pain is a condition affecting roughly 45 million Americans, with 28 million suffering from migraines. A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing pain in a single area of the head. Migraine pain can be severe and debilitating, and can last for hours into days. Other common types of headaches include tension headaches, and cluster headaches.
Cause of Headache Pain
Brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain, as it lacks pain receptors. Headache pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. Nine areas of the head and neck have these pain-sensitive structures, which are the cranium, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes.
Diagnosing Headache Pain
Most headaches can be diagnosed by the clinical history alone. As the patient describes their pain, the onset of the condition, and the persistence of the condition, a trained physician will have a good deal of information on which to base a diagnosis. If the symptoms described by the person sound chronic, further testing with neuroimaging may be needed.
Chiropractic Care and Treatment
Chiropractic care for headaches attempts to realign the bones of the spine, especially in the neck region, to allow for proper range of motion and to decrease pressure on the nerves that may exacerbate headache pain.
Since many tension headaches and migraine headaches are accompanied by neck pain, headache sufferers find that manual therapies such as massage offer relief from headache pain and related symptoms. Because massage therapy relaxes tense muscles, relieves muscle spasms, improves blood flow and aids relaxation, it can be helpful for relieving the pain of both tension and vascular headaches.