by Gabriel Ariciu, DC

Headaches. They are one of the most common problems in today’s society. Many of our patients deal with it. They are so commonplace that we often think it is just part of life, it is just normal. But this is not so. Headaches like all other pain are sign of something wrong. A leading researcher in pain, Lorimer Moseley, states that pain is a “multiple system output by the brain based on perceived threat.” He has a great TED talk on this subject.

So what is going on with a headache? First of all not all headaches are the same. Some can be quite serious. So if you have a headache that you never felt before go see your doctor. If you have a very intense, sharp headache that came out of nowhere, the worst headache you have ever felt type headache, go to the emergency room. They are rare but I wanted to get those types of headaches out of the way because they can be potentially deadly. With caveat out of the way let’s talk about the more common headaches. I will focus my attention on migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and sinus headaches.

Migraines are actually not classified as just a headache but a neurological condition. If you want to learn more about them check out my article. For those who have had one, a real one, they can be debilitating. I say “real one” because many believe they are having a migraine and they are not. Migraines are often one-sided and they are often preceded by visual or emotional disturbances. They are incredibly painful and people are often nauseated too. I dealt with these for the majority of my life until I found the underlying cause, gluten. Not saying gluten is everyone’s cause, we are all different. But I am saying there is relief! I no longer get them. Migraines are often caused by a food sensitivity or hormonal imbalance.

Tension headaches are among the most common. The pain we feel is typically at the base of skull in the back and across our forehead. Our neck and upper back may be painful too. These are often caused by stress and body position. Maybe you sit in the same place all day long with little movement or maybe you do not exercise or you do. It can be a host of reasons. But a trained holistic practitioner are adept at finding the underlying reasons.

Cluster headaches are among the most painful headaches imaginable. They are one sided. They come on strong. Often times the eye on the affected side tears a lot. Associated with it are periods of time during the year in which they happen. Sometimes they correlate with a season. The attacks can happen for 15 minutes up to 3 hours. Like migraines they are often caused by a food sensitivity, but it can also be caused by many other things.

Cervicogenic headaches are like tension headaches and they could be one and the same. Nevertheless, it is a headache that arises from the neck. The pain is very similar to a tension headache. The causes are varied but usually due to muscles or fascia.

Lastly, sinus headaches are painful headaches caused by inflamed sinuses. Usually due to an allergy or an infection. Swelling and mucus build up causes pressure in the sinuses creating pain. Most people know when they are having this issue because they have a corresponding cold or allergy. These can very painful and they can make it hard to think. I used to get chronic sinus infections due to a mold infestation. They would wipe me out for a few days.

I did not detail out the specifics of each headache but gave a general overview. But as you can see headaches can be varied especially their causes. It is crucial to evaluate the body holistically to find the root cause. At Ozark Holistic Center we incorporate several techniques to evaluate the underlying causes. Migraines may lead us to finding a food sensitivity like gluten for me. Cervicogenic and tension headaches will often require myofascial treatments. The doctor is able to find and correct myofascial injuries or adhesions and correct them via soft tissue therapy and adjustments. Oftentimes a pattern of injury has occurred and the body has compensated for it. So the doctor investigates and unravels that pattern leading the body into proper movement and decreasing the pain. Typically 2-3 visits is common to help resolve these issues but it may take longer. It is individual for each patient.

Hopefully, this information and subsequent information in our other articles helps. Whether you utilize us or another holistic practitioner, we just hope to be of service in some way and provide hope.