A headache is pain anywhere in the region of the head or upper neck. According to the National Headache Foundation, more than 15% of North Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headache. Approximately 90% of people will suffer from at least one headache in their lifetime (See reference 1). About 20 percent of children and adolescents also have significant headaches. In fact, headaches are the most common cause of absenteeism from work and school.
There are a number of different classification systems for headaches; the best-recognized is that of the International Headache Society. The most common types of headache are “primary headaches”, such as tension-type headache and migraine. Most headaches are NOT caused by any serious underlying problem.
What causes headaches? The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by irritation of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. Tissues around the brain that have pain-sensitive structures and can be responsible for headaches are the cranium (the skull bone), muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, connective tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes.
Dr. Teasdale is an expert in the differential diagnosis of headaches and can advise you on your treatment options, or tell you if your condition requires a visit to your medical physician.
Headache Treatments: Chiropractic care is an effective and well-researched therapy for some of the more common causes of headaches!
What does the research say? A 2011 review found that chiropractic manipulation, exercise, massage and relaxation might be as effective as some commonly used medications for the prevention of migraine headaches (See reference 2). For headaches that are caused by joint or muscle irritation in the neck (cervicogenic headache), manual therapies like chiropractic can be an effective treatment (See reference 3).
1) Rasmussen BK, Jensen R, Schroll M, Olesen J. Epidemiology of headache in a general population–a prevalence study. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(11):1147-57.
2) Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2011 Apr;12(2):127-33.
3) Chaibi A, Russell MB. Manual therapies for cervicogenic headache: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2012 Mar 30.