Who Gets Headaches?
Headache is one of the commonest symptoms experienced by human beings – indeed it is unusual not to have at least occasional headaches. Several large studies have found that 80 to 90 per cent of the general population say they have had at least one headache in the previous year.
When we say it is a symptom, we mean that it is not a disease in itself, but a change which we notice in the body that can in some cases be a sign of a problem or disease. Most headaches prove to be entirely harmless and are best treated with ordinary painkillers, but headache is still the commonest single reason for which patients are referred by their GPs for specialist opinion.
What are the Different Types of Headaches?
One of the best ways to look at headaches is to divide them into groups depending on how the pain starts.
Very few people seek attention for a first headache. However there are a number of things that can be a pain generation.
The headache usually lasts for between four and 48 hours. It is often throbbing, and frequently affects just one side of the head. A lot of people experience nausea and/or vomiting, and sensitivity to light and/or smells is common. A few complain of flashing lights, blindness, tingling in the face or fingertips or even speech disturbances.
The pain in this type of headache is shorter and much more severe. It is less often accompanied by any serious feelings of nausea and hardly ever by the visual disturbances linked with migraine, but many people find that the eye waters or becomes bloodshot, or that the eyelid droops on the same side as the headache.
More common than the cluster headache is the tension-type headache. Here the pain usually affects both sides of the head at once, it is not accompanied by nausea or any other symptoms affecting the nervous system, and it wears off after one to six hours.
Trigeminal nerve headaches
Irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which tells the brain what the face is feeling, can sometimes produce neuralgia, most commonly affecting the lower jaw or teeth. The pain here is very short-lived, lasting only a moment or so, and has been compared to a red-hot knitting needle being thrust through the face. It can be triggered by chewing, eating, speaking, touching the face or even by the wind.
This condition becomes rather more common in older people, probably because the arteries supplying the back of the brain where this nerve enters it become stretched and may touch the nerve.
Coughing sneezing straining
Coughing can sometimes alter the position of certain bones in your neck pre-disposing you to pain. Lifting weights or heavy exertion such as running, climbing or biking can also have the effect of raising blood pressure and also the flow of blood.
Some types of medication can pre dispose one to headaches. If in doubt seek advice from your GP, drug interactions can also occur.
Inflammatory disorders such as Rheumatoid arthritis can cause headaches, sometimes called temporal arthritis.
Neck “wear and tear”
Wear and tear on the joints of the neck can sometimes cause headache. The pain is usually worsened by moving the neck.
Stressful lives anxiety
With everyday use sometimes your discs and joints can be prone to wear and tear. Discs between the vertebra can become thinner which can cause the space between the nerves to narrow.
Sometime spurs called osteophytes form at the edges of the vertebrae which can be a generator of pain if they come in contact with the surrounding soft tissue and nerves.
Physio Team-Works can address the symptoms of headaches through specific treatment approaches. We have the necessary skills to identify the type of problem causing your headache and treat it appropriately.
Treatment may take the form of:
- Specific muscle energy techniques
- Joint mobilisation, manipulation
- Postural and ergonomic advice
- On site working assessments
- A tailored home exercise and stretching program
- Relaxation techniques counseling
Physio Team-Works will be able to guide you through these stages of rehabilitation. We can assist in monitoring your progress, setting your goals, and providing appropriate treatment to maximise your recovery potential.
We can also inform you of how you can help your own recovery, and what should be avoided. You will be provided a specific rehabilitation programme, and we aim to back to your full levels of activity and/or sport as quickly as possible.
Call 01457 837 211 or complete our quick online form to arrange an appointment.