Headaches / Migraine Treatment in Fairfax, VA
Headaches / Migraine Specialist
Almost every person has encountered headaches at one point or another. Headaches are very common. In many cases, headaches are not serious.
However, some severe headaches can be caused by problems in the neck or TMD issues. It is important to see a chiropractor experienced in treating headaches as soon as possible.
A migraine is a variant/type of headache that occurs repeatedly and tends to cause significant pain. Migraine pains are said to be sore, throbbing, or pounding.
This page will provide information on causes, symptoms, and treatment for headaches. Call us at 703-373-7113 to book an appointment.
Symptoms of Headaches
Some symptoms are associated with headaches:
- Vomiting & Nausea
- Pain in the face
- Sore eyes
- Photophobia (discomfort on exposure to light)
- Dizziness & Vertigo
- Ear ringing
Causes of Headaches
Based on causes, headaches are broadly grouped into two categories:
Primary headaches are headaches that are not associated with any disease condition. Primary headaches may be caused by drinking alcohol, nitrate-containing foods (e.g., processed meat), poor sleep, bad posture, hunger or skipping meals, physical and psychological stress, exercise, sex, too much coughing, and so on.
Secondary headaches are usually more severe and are most of the time linked to an underlying ailment or medical condition. Secondary headaches can be caused by concussions, trauma, brain tumors, ear infections, viral infections, sinusitis, high blood pressure, brain aneurysms, or stroke.
Long-Term Problems Due to Untreated Headaches
It is recommended that you schedule a visit to the doctor if your headaches persist for three or more days or when the pain limits normal physical activity and lifestyle.
Ignoring the symptoms of headaches or just dosing on over-the-counter pain relief medications can cause many problems, some with serious long-term complications such as a seizure or even a stroke. Other mental complications such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorder could ensue. Patients may become addicted to pain medications and be at risk for their associated adverse effects.
Temporary Pain Relief for Headaches
- Resting in a quiet and dimly lit room will also help
- Applying a cold compress, such as an ice pack on your hurting head and neck, will provide some comfort. Press the ice pack on the head and neck for at least 15 minutes.
- A warm compress relaxes throbbing blood vessels and muscles of the head and neck. You may use a warm towel or a hot water bottle.
- If you have not been getting adequate sleep, you need to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping for at least 7 hours every day will ensure that all of your body is well-rested.
Treatment for Headaches
Your chiropractor will discuss your symptoms and evaluate your neck to understand the root cause of your headaches. It is essential to see a doctor or chiropractor immediately since a headache may be a symptom of an underlying condition (secondary headache). In that case, the doctor will have to do a full work-up to identify the associated health condition.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Headaches
Not all headaches are caused by spinal issues. The various categories and causes of headaches have been discussed in this article. However, spinal headaches usually occur after a medical procedure called a “spinal tap” or “lumbar puncture.” Spinal headaches are dull, throbbing headaches that occur less than 24 hours after a spinal tap. They are generally mild and resolve without treatment in about 24 hours. It is recommended to report to your doctor if a spinal headache persists for more than 24 hours.
A tension headache, the most common kind of headache, makes a patient feel like a string is contracting his or her head. There is a distinct dull pain experienced all over the forehead. It is usually mild to moderate and may last for a few hours.
On the other hand, a migraine tends to range from moderate to severe pulsing/pounding pain at the side of the head. It can be persistent and may go on for days. It is usually accompanied by a set of warning symptoms called an ‘aura.’
Your chiropractor may be able to alleviate and manage your symptoms of headache or dizziness by engaging you in different manipulations or exercises.
Your chiropractor may also teach you a few specific physical movements/exercises to do at home that may be able to benefit your balance and relieve pain and headache.
It is normal to feel dizzy spells in the first 24 hours after an appointment in a chiropractor’s practice. This is because the ear (organ of balance) takes a bit of time to realign to the new and appropriate spine position.
However, you should reschedule an appointment with your chiropractor if dizziness persists for more than 24 hours.
A certain kind of headache occurs when a nerve is compressed, trapped, or pinched down by the vertebra of the neck. This headache is known as the Cervicogenic Headache. The causes may be from a whiplash accident, sports injury, or occupational hazards, as in drivers that sway their heads from side to side repeatedly.
You worry about a headache when it has persisted for more than 72 hours and has defied all temporary or home approaches to stop it in the course of that 72 hours. You should also schedule a clinical visit if the headache is moderate to severe and limits your physical activities and normal lifestyle.
For any headache episode that goes on for three days or more, it is beneficial to visit a doctor’s office for a proper work-up and an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
You may have a headache because you are stressed, anxious, restless, sleep-deprived, hungry, or dehydrated. You may also have a headache because you had a trauma to the head, neck, or any part of your body. A headache may also indicate a serious condition such as a brain tumor, increased blood pressure, or a stroke.