Categories Headaches

Occipital Neuralgia Chiropractic Adjustment

Occipital neuralgia is a specific type of headache and a rare condition, affecting about 3.2 people out of every 100,000 a year according to the American Migraine Foundation. Although occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition it can be very uncomfortable, and the pain can affect one’s daily life.

Occipital Neuralgia Symptoms

Having occipital neuralgia may cause pain in the back of the head or base of the skull. It is often confused as a migraine or a different type of headache as the symptoms of occipital neuralgia can be similar. It is important to know if you have occipital neuralgia as treatment options are very different. 

The condition may cause intense pain that has been described as feeling like a jabbing, electric shock, sharp pain located in the back of the head and neck. Other symptoms associated with occipital neuralgia include the following:

  • Pain behind the eye
  • Tender scalp
  • Pain when moving your neck
  • Pain occurring on one side or both sides of the head
  • An aching, burning, and throbbing pain that may start at the base of the head and travel up to the scalp

If you are unsure if you have occipital neuralgia, it is important to seek professional advice for treatments. As stated above, treatment options for other types of headaches are different and occipital neuralgia can have similar symptoms.

What Causes Occipital Neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is when the occipital nerves, the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp, are inflamed or injured. These nerves can suffer from inflammation or injury from any of the following:

  • Tension or tight muscles in the neck
  • Tumors in the neck
  • Trauma to the back of the head
  • Inflammation
  • Infection

In addition, there are other medical conditions that are linked to occipital neuralgia. These conditions include:

  • Diabetes – Diabetes occurs when the pancreas (the organ behind the stomach) is unable to produce enough insulin to help the body store and use the sugar and fat from the food a person eats. Diabetes can damage the nerves and cause occipital neuralgia to develop.
  • Cervical disc disease – Cervical disc disease develops when one or more of the cushioning discs located in the cervical spine begin to break down from wear and tear. This can cause pain in the neck and bring on the onset of occipital neuralgia.
  • Blood vessel inflammation – Also known as vasculitis, blood vessel inflammation restricts the flow of blood and causes organ and tissue damage. Injury and inflammation of the nerves from blood vessel inflammation can cause occipital neuralgia.
  • Gout – A type of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood and sharp crystals begin to form in one or more joints.
  • Osteoarthritis – The most common form of arthritis caused by cartilage wearing down over time due to aging, injury, or obesity.

Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia

There are many different treatments to help aid someone who is experiencing discomfort with occipital neuralgia symptoms. To help relieve the pain linked to occipital neuralgia, the following treatments are common options:

  • Massaging tight and painful neck muscles
  • Resting in a quiet room
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Prescription muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiseizure drugs
  • Nerve blocks and steroid shots

A rare option for treating occipital neuralgia is an operation to treat the pain if the pain has shown no signs of improvement after other treatments or the pain from occipital neuralgia comes back. Surgery for treating occipital neuralgia include:

  • Occipital nerve stimulation – A neurostimulator is used to deliver electrical pulses to the occipital nerves to help block pain messages to the brain.
  • Microvascular decompression – This surgery involves finding and adjusting blood vessels that could be compressing your nerve in hopes to relieve pain.

Keep in mind, all the above treatment options target occipital neuralgia symptoms. Although some treatment options include massaging and resting to help relax the tense or injured area, other options like medication and surgery treat the symptoms of occipital neuralgia by altering the way the body works and responds.

Since medication and surgery are not always successful in improving occipital neuralgia symptoms, it is recommended to try an all-natural treatment for occipital neuralgia before trying a treatment that alters the body unnaturally. One all-natural treatment option that has helped many patients with occipital neuralgia is called upper cervical adjustments, and they work by helping your body target and correct the underlying cause of your occipital neuralgia instead of focusing on the symptoms.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Treatment for Occipital Neuralgia

Upper cervical adjustments are a highly effective treatment option for patients with occipital neuralgia. The reason behind this is simple: upper cervical adjustments work by releasing tension put on your occipital nerves!

Unlike other treatment options, upper cervical adjustments help the body target what is causing your occipital neuralgia. If your body can heal and repair the affected nerves, occipital neuralgia and its symptoms begin to improve. An upper cervical chiropractor focuses on the upper cervical spine, located right beneath the base of the skull. A misalignment located in the upper cervical spine can apply pressure onto your nerves and cause them injury or inflammation. Fixing this misalignment with gentle, precise adjustments allows all pressure to be taken off the nerves. 

The brain stem is also protected by your upper cervical spine and having a misalignment in the upper cervical spine can disrupt how your brain stem operates. The brain stem is the bridge of communication between the brain and the body and if disturbed, many signals can be misinterpreted; including pain signals and can cause one to feel a heightened sense of pain or feel pain when there is no reason for it. Upper cervical adjustments help the brain stem maintain proper function and allows the brain to body communication to return to normal to begin the repairing and healing process.

When the body is restored to a state in which it can repair and heal itself properly, it can help the nerves that were affected and begin to relieve the symptoms that were caused by them. Many patients have seen great improvement after as little as one adjustment, even after trying medication and surgery! This is because medication and surgery do not allow the body to repair and heal itself and instead tries to trick the body into ignoring the symptoms while the main problem persists.

If you or a loved one is suffering from occipital neuralgia, a look into upper cervical adjustments can prove to be very beneficial as it can improve the current state of your body overall due to removing any interference you may have with the brain to body communication and help the body target what is actually causing your condition.

Categories Headaches

Head Pain in Children

Sometimes children are not able to tell us when something is wrong and it usually up to their loved ones to determine when something is not right. Below are some warning signs your child may be experiencing head pain and how it could affect their life if left untreated.

Tension-Type Head Pain in Children

Tension-type head pain in children is the most common type of headache children experience and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to seven full days. Children how have a tension-type head pain may have the following signs:

  • Increased Sensitivity to Light or Noise – Although your child may have increased sensitivity to light or noise, in a tension-type headache they usually do not have a sensitivity to both at the same time.
  • Mild to Moderate Pain and Tenderness of the Head
  • Pain Present on Both Sides of Their Head – This pain can be present anywhere on the head, but there are some children who experience tension-type head pain on one side of the head.
  • Tight Muscles in Neck and Shoulders
  • Trouble Sleeping or Wake up Earlier Than Usual – The pain from the tension-type headache can keep the child from sleeping or wake them up.
  • Difficulty Concentrating – Sometimes tension head pain in children can interrupt their ability to concentrate as it makes them uncomfortable.
  • Dull, Pressing, Aching, or Band-Life” Pain

Migraine Head Pain in Children

Migraine head pain in children may last up to 72 hours and is more painful than a tension-type headache. Physical activity during a migraine will make the symptoms worse and the child often feels like they need to lie down away from light and noise.

The impact a migraine has on children can result them into having emotional issues and a decline in school performance. Children do not often tell their parents or others about their migraine head pain and others may see their behavior as puzzling or anti-social. Below is a list of a few ways your child may be affected by migraines:

  • Home – Children with migraine head pain are often irritable and want to stay away from light and noise due to the sensitivity, so they may pull themselves away from family or visitors to go into their room due to the pain they are in. Parents may also have to miss work due to their child having a migraine attack. If the child has siblings, parents may have to calm their other children down to keep the noise from making the migraine pain worse.
  • School – In school, children with migraine head pain may have missed classes, poor or failing grades, and absences. It is not unusual for children with migraine head pain to struggle academically. If this is the case, it is best to let teachers know about your child having migraine head pain as some teachers may mistake their head pain as being disinterested or not paying attention to the lesson.
  • Sports – Sports help a child stay active, but migraine symptoms become worse with physical activity. A child who is suffering from migraine head pain may show great discomfort in playing. Because migraine pain interferes with their physical lifestyle, migraines often make children feel left out and makes it harder for them to stay fit and healthy.
  • Friends – Migraine attacks make it hard for children to stay social with other kids, especially in physical group activities. They may come across as anti-social.

Besides relying on your child to vocally say they are having intense head pain, other symptoms to help determine migraine head pain in children include:

  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to Light, Sounds or Odors
  • Unusual Depression or Irritability
  • Child May Become Quiet or Pale
  • Pain may be Throbbing or Pounding
  • Abdominal Discomfort
  • Aura Before a Migraine – This aura may include a sense of flashing lights, funny smells, or having a change in their vision.

Cluster Head Pain in Children

Cluster head pain in children occur in groups of five or more ad causes pain on the left or the right side of the head (the temple) or behind one eye. Cluster headaches may happen at the same time each day and can last from 15 minutes up to three hours. The ache that comes with cluster headaches can last for weeks or months at a time without remission. Cluster headaches are rare and are estimated to affect 1 in every 1,000 adult and believe it to be even rarer in children; however, it is still a possibility, and they typically start in children who are older than 10 years.

Some signs your child may be experiencing cluster head pain includes the following:

  • Eye Pain
  • Sweating
  • Pressure in Head or Swelling of the Forehead
  • Runny Nose
  • Drooping Eyelids or Eyelid Swelling
  • Congestion (Stuffy Nose)
  • Constricted Pupils (Tiny Pupils)
  • Watery Eyes
  • Flushed Cheeks
  • Sense of Fullness in the Ear

Sinus Head Pain in Children

Sinus head pain in children is quite uncommon but can interfere with their ability to sleep and make them uncomfortable during activities. Sinus head pain can cause pain in their cheekbones, bridge of their nose, or the forehead that is constant and becomes worse with sudden head movement or straining. Sinus head pain in children can last for hours and are often seasonal. The following are some signs your child may be experiencing sinus head pain (keep in mind their sinus head pain can be present with other sinus symptoms that are included in the list):

  • Nasal Congestion
  • Postnasal Drip
  • Facial Swelling
  • Fever
  • Fullness in the Ears
  • Pain in the Face, Bridge of Nose or Cheeks

Is There a Safe Natural Head Pain Treatment for Children?

Sometimes it is a little scary to give your child medication, especially when medication only helps hide the pain and not correct the problem. Upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain is safe and gentle enough for children and allows the body to repair and heal itself from various conditions. In fact, upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain produces outstanding results that medication and surgery cannot achieve. Learn more about how upper cervical is connected to head pain and why it works by clicking chiropractic treatment for head pain.

Categories Headaches

Head Pain in Adults

Head pain in adults can affect their daily life much differently than in children with head pain. It is important to know how these four types of head pain can affect a person’s life so they can have the support they need and show how important it is for them to find treatment for relief.

Tension-Type Head Pain in Adults

Tension headaches are the most common type of head pain experienced by adults. These tension headaches can range from mild to moderate pain and will come and go. Tension headaches can cause additional stress to the adult which can, in turn, cause more tension headaches for them. 

For those who experience tension headaches constantly, it can really wear you down. For people who live with intense chronic headaches that occur for 15 or more days a month for at least three months, they can cause a substantial amount of long-term poor health. Tension-type head pain in adults can cause insomnia either by making it uncomfortable for them to sleep or cause them to wake abruptly.

Episodic tension headaches can last from 30 minutes up to a week at a time and occur less than 15 days a month for at least three months; however, it is possible to have episodic tension headaches. If the person has episodic tension headaches frequently, they could also develop migraines alongside them that can add more strain to their day.

Adults who experience tension-type head pain may see their job productivity decrease during an attack as adults who go to work with a tension-type headache often notice their ability to function is impaired. If the pain is frequent, it may take away the person’s ability to attend activities or feel the need to stay home from work. 

Migraine Head Pain in Adults

Migraine head pain in adults can completely change their life. In fact, 91% of migraine sufferers miss work or are unable to function normally during a migraine attack with 51% of migraine sufferers reporting migraines cut their work and school productivity in half. 

According to Health Union, LLC, they have brought to light a study that estimates the loss of productivity in the United States is to be between $5.6 billion to $17.2 billion per year because of migraine sufferers missing work. 

What makes migraines in adults so debilitating? Sufferers have reported not being able to see anything during an attack as the aura was so intense. The aura, which blocks out your vision, can make the migraine sufferer dizzy and nauseas. They can also develop allodynia, a hypersensitivity to feel and touch where normal senses become painful.

The pain associated with a migraine attack is extremely difficult to get rid of and can affect other parts of the body. Pain can occur around the sufferer’s eyes, sinus areas, teeth, and the jaw. The attack itself can leave someone in a state of anxiety, depression or panic and adults who experience migraine attacks have a hard time attending to their children as movements or physical activity worsens their symptoms. And since migraine attacks can be unpredictable, it could become dangerous while they are driving.

Studies have also showed when a spouse, partner or parent suffers from migraines, the whole family suffers as it has a huge impact on their family relationships, activities, and intimacy.

Cluster Head Pain in Adults

Cluster headaches are also known to be another highly disabling headache condition in adults. Cluster head pain in adults can result in the sufferer having worse working memory, a poorer quality of life, and a disturbance in their mood. Many cluster headache sufferers develop depression and anxiety, which can trigger even more headaches or worsen their current cluster headache attack.

Also known as the “suicide headache”, cluster headaches may last for months at a time, with some report having episodic cluster headaches up to one year that was separated by a 30 day or more remission; because cluster headaches can last for so long and happen multiple times a day, they can easily interfere with an adult’s lifestyle or work. If an attack can last up to a few hours, having 8 attacks in one day can without a doubt take away their entire day to be productive.

Adults who have cluster head pain can affect their family and loved ones around them as it greatly influences their emotions and mental health. Cluster headaches can also take away their ability to rest, as the symptoms worsen the more you lie still, and cause severe pain. 

Sinus Head Pain in Adults

Acute sinus head pain in adults, or acute sinusitis, will usually last for less than 8 weeks or occurs up to three times per year with each sinus head pain attack lasting up to 10 days. Chronic sinus head pain in adults, known as chronic or recurring sinusitis, will last longer than 8 weeks or they can occur more than four times a year and last more than 20 days each time.

Those who experience sinus headaches feel an increasing sense of pressure over the sinus that is blocked (which can be the cheek area, forehead area, or both). The area of the face that is affected can become tender to the touch and turn red along with swelling. When changing the position of the head, the pain from the sinus headache can increase.

Relief for Head Pain in Adults

No matter your age, there is a natural safe way to help you get the relief you need. Head pain in adults can become a serious matter and greatly impact their lives in negative ways. Head pain happens for a reason and is often a signal our body uses to let us know something is wrong. Medication and surgery work by blocking these signals instead of fixing what is setting the signals off – which is the underlying cause of your head pain.

Upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain works by finding the cause of your head pain and correcting it, thus giving you relief from your symptoms. To learn more about the link between the upper cervical area of your body and head pain and how upper cervical chiropractic treatment is more successful than medication or surgery, see chiropractic treatment for head pain.

Categories Headaches

What to do About Head Pain

Before considering medication and surgery, it is best to look over your natural options first before choosing to alter the way your body naturally functions. Remember, pain is used to send you signals that something is going wrong, and medication used to ignore this pain might keep your body from doing its job and “masking” a much deeper issue.

Surgery, just like medication, is made to target what is making you uncomfortable: the pain. When surgery and medication target only your symptoms (the pain), they do nothing to repair or heal the cause of the symptoms you have.

Even though you may not feel the symptoms anymore while using a medication, it does not mean they are truly gone – you just can’t feel them. While these symptoms continue to be ignored, the cause of the symptoms continues to worsen over time. Therefore, we believe it is best to listen to the body and never ignore what it is trying to tell us.

Below are natural ways of finding relief depending on the type of head pain you are having. When wondering what to do about head pain, it is best to target the underlying cause.

What to do About Head Pain from Tension Headaches

Tension-type head pain causes vary but changing a few lifestyle choices could help you find relief. Below are some simple good health habits that can help you with tension-type head pain:

  • Getting Enough Sleep – Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much can bring about head pain. Getting enough sleep and developing a sleep routine is important to your body’s health and helps it regulate its functions.
  • Eating a Healthy Diet – Certain foods and additives can bring about tension-type head pain. Monosodium glutamate (found in Chinese food), chocolate, cheese or aged cheese, onions, dairy, caffeine, peanut butter, nuts, avocado, banana, citrus, bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meat, smoked fish, figs, chicken livers, red wine and some types of beans can trigger your tension-type head pain. To find out which ones trigger them, it is best to cut them all out and try them one by one – keeping track of how you feel after each one.
  • Quit Smoking or Avoid Smoke – Both smoking and second-hand smoke cause your blood vessels to constrict and reduce the blood flow to your brain which can contribute to headaches.
  • Relaxation Techniques – Exercises such as yoga and stretches will help you wind down and reduce the stress and tension on your body.
  • Regular Exercise – Exercising regularly will help keep regulated blood flow throughout your body and helps the brain receive the proper flow it needs.

What to do About Head Pain from Migraines

What to do about head pain from migraines will have some similarities to what to do about head pain from tension headaches. Sometimes a tension-type headache can occur during a migraine; if you have both happening at the same time, consider reading over both lists to help.

  • Changes in Diet – Some foods are known to trigger migraines. If you are unsure as to which foods trigger your migraine, you can cut all the triggering foods out of the diet first then try them one by one until you find which ones trigger them. Common foods that trigger migraines include aged cheese, salty food, sweeteners, processed food, red wine, alcohol, chocolate, and caffeinated beverages.
  • Stress Management – Stress puts a lot of strain on our body and is a common trigger for migraines and headaches. At times, migraines can worsen your stress levels and the added stress can trigger another migraine. Exercising daily, or meditating, can help you relieve stress (along with the other relaxing exercises). Other outlets can be used to help cope with stress as well, such as listening to music, writing, or taking a warm bath.
  • Relaxing Exercises – Another way to combat stress, but also to help improve your blood flow throughout the body and relieving it of muscle tension. Yoga and stretching are both incredibly beneficial to the body and can help provide natural migraine relief.
  • Staying Hydrated – Having only minor dehydration is enough to trigger a headache or migraine.
  • Getting Enough Sleep – Lack of sleep, or too much, can trigger your migraine headaches. Getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night will help reduce stress and can prevent migraines.

What to do About Head Pain from Cluster Headaches

What to do about head pain from cluster headaches is not the same as migraine or tension headaches. Cluster headaches are not associated with food or stress like migraine and tension headaches are. Most of what to do about head pain from cluster headaches revolve around body temperature.

  • Avoid Alcohol – When your cluster headaches begin, avoiding alcohol will help reduce the number of cluster headaches you have and keep them from getting worse.
  • Avoid Exercising in Hot Weather – Have a sudden rise in body temperature can trigger your cluster headaches.
  • Quit Smoking or Avoid Smoke – Compared to the rest of the population, a higher percentage of those who experience cluster headaches are smokers. Smoking changes the blood flow in your system whether you are a smoker or experience second-hand smoke.
  • Maintain Regular Body Temperature – Since a high rise in body temperature can bring about your cluster headaches, it is important to maintain a regular body temperature as best as you can.
  • Develop a Regular Sleeping Pattern – Maintaining a regular sleeping pattern will help your body regulate the melatonin and cortisol hormones in your system, which both help with your sleep. There has been a connection between cluster headaches and changes in sleep routine.
  • Avoiding Certain Medications – Some medications may trigger your cluster headaches. Inhaled nitroglycerin, for example, is linked to clustering headache attacks as it causes your blood vessels to dilate.

What to do About Head Pain from Sinus Headaches

Unlike the other head pain types, when it comes to what to do about head pain for sinus headaches there is a smaller list of what you could do as these usually come from sinus congestion from allergies. While some recommend decongestants or antibiotics, these should not be considered in what to do about head pain from a sinus headache as they can cause the condition to become worse.

  • Moist Air – Dry air can be irritating, and a humidifier or vaporizer can help your sinuses. You could also place a warm, wet towel over your face for a few minutes to help.
  • Avoid Smoke, Perfume, and Strong Chemical Smells – These strong smells and certain chemicals irritate the nasal passages and worsen your sinus headache symptoms.

An All-Natural Chiropractic Treatment for Head Pain

Sometimes these small changes to your daily lifestyle are not enough to get the relief you need. This is because when people wonder what to do about head pain, they don’t necessarily think about the brain stem area. The brain stem is located right beneath the skull and can trigger all types of headaches if it is compressed or irritated.

An upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain is a safe and natural treatment for those that have not been able to find complete relief through other natural lifestyle changes. There is a strong link between the brain stem and head pain, and thousands of patients who have undergone surgery and tried many medications have found more relief with upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain.

Categories Headaches

Head Pain Causes

Depending on the type of head pain you have the head pain causes will vary. It is easier to know how to distinguish the difference between these types of head pain first by looking over head pain symptoms and pinpointing which symptoms you are experiencing and matching those symptoms to one of the four types of head pain. Keep in mind, it is possible to have two types of head pain happening simultaneously as some may trigger another.

All types of head pain are the body’s response to something that is happening. While not all head pain has a direct known cause, our body is made to send us signals to warn us something is not right. Below you will find known and believed causes of the four types of head pain: Tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, and sinus headaches. Along with these causes are a list of triggers that could spark the attack or worsen your head pain while the attack is occurring.

Tension-Type Head Pain Causes

Tension-type headaches are caused by muscle stress, or muscle contractions, located around the head and neck region. These contractions are a response to mental and physical stress and can be caused by the following:

  • Head Injury
  • Activities
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Head Staying in one Position for Long Periods of Time. This includes looking at a computer screen and driving.
  • Cold Temperatures

Other things that may trigger tension-type head pain are:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Eye Strain
  • Dry Eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Caffeine
  • Poor Posture
  • Emotional or Physical Stress
  • Cold, Sinus Infection, or Flu
  • Jaw Clenching or Teeth Grinding
  • Certain Foods and Food Additives – Foods and additives such as monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG and used for enhancing the flavor in Chinese food), chocolate, cheese, onions, diary, caffeine, peanut butter, nuts, avocado, banana, citrus, bacon, hot dogs, salami, and cured meat may trigger your tension-type head pain. Foods that contain amino acid tyramine can trigger head pain as well. Foods that contain amino acid tyramine include aged cheese, red wine, smoked fish, figs, chicken livers, and some beans.
  • Medications
  • Skipping Meals
  • Arthritis
  • Sleeping in an Abnormal Position

Tension-type head pain can occur during a migraine or when having sinus pain as well which triggers a sinus-tension headache.

Migraine Head Pain Causes

Migraine head pain causes originate from changes within the brain stem and the interactions it has with your trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is a major pain pathway that is responsible for the sensations and motor functions within the face, such as chewing and biting. Another migraine head pain cause may be due to imbalanced brain chemicals, including serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate the pain in your nervous system and your serotonin levels drop during a migraine attack. As your serotonin levels drop, there is a chance the trigeminal nerve will release neuropeptides that travel to the brain’s meninges (the three membranes that line the skull and vertebral canal) – resulting in your migraine pain.

Other migraine head pain causes could be from the following:

  • Medications
  • Physical Injury
  • Stress

Migraine head pain triggers include:

  • Food and Food Additives – Just like the tension-type head pain, foods and food additives can contribute to your migraine. Aged cheese, salty foods, sweeteners, and processed food are among the list that can trigger a migraine.
  • Drinks – Highly caffeinated or alcoholic beverages (especially wine) can trigger a migraine.
  • Sensory Stimuli – The sun glare, bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells can trigger a migraine.
  • Environmental Changes
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Wake and Sleep Pattern – Having an inconsistent wake and sleep patterns can bring about a migraine.

Cluster Head Pain Causes

Cluster head pain causes are not associated with foods, stress, or hormonal changes as migraine head pain cause are. While it is unclear what the cluster head pain causes are, researchers found there is more activity in the hypothalamus during a cluster headache attack. The hypothalamus is located at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland that oversees the release of hormones, controlling the body temperature, thirst, and hunger. This area of the brain could release chemicals that cause the blood vessels to expand and release greater amounts of blood flow to the brain which could be causing the headache.

Although cluster head pain causes do not include any triggers from foods, alcohol may act as a trigger to making your cluster headache attack worse, but alcohol is only capable of making the cluster headache worse if you consume it during the attack.

A sudden rise in temperature could also be one of the cluster head pain causes, as it could interrupt your body’s temperature. Those who have cluster headaches typically have abnormal levels of melatonin and cortisol during an attack. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in how you sleep. During the day, lower levels of melatonin are released and once it begins to get later in the day, the amount of melatonin released increases. Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone that works with certain parts of the brain to control mood, fear, and motivation (also known as a built-in “alarm system”). If the “alarm system” stays on due to constant stress, it could trigger headaches.

Sinus Head Pain Causes

Believe it or not, allergies do not cause headaches; however, allergies can cause you to have sinus congestion that leads to head pain. If you have a sinus head pain, using decongestants or antibiotics may cause the condition to get worse. The sinus that becomes inflamed prevents mucus from draining (this becomes one of the sinus head pain causes). A sinus may become inflamed due to an infection, allergic reaction, or a tumor.

What to do About Head Pain

Ironically, some medications recommended for head pain can actually cause head pain and surgery is not always successful – with many patients reporting little to no improvement in their condition; this is why we believe it is important to look to natural relief as a first option before we try things that can become relatively expensive and negatively impact our body’s natural system to take care of itself. See what to do about head pain to learn about natural ways to find relief and heal the body.

Categories Headaches

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Help for Occipital Neuralgia

Where does it come from? What causes it? And what can be done about it? Occipital neuralgia is a pain, often sharp, stabbing pain in usually the back of the head that can even radiate up the back of the scalp, and it is triggered by the occipital nerve, one of the three branches of the occipital nerve, sometimes even all three, which comes out right underneath the skull and goes back up into the back of the head, the scalp area. Now what causes it? Well, from my experience, almost a 100% of the cases I’ve seen have been caused from this top bone here being interfered or being out of the line and interfering, putting pressure on that nerve, causing the nerve to get irritated to get inflamed.

    Sometimes, it’s just a matter of interfering with the normal transmission from the head, the scalp area to the brain, and the nerve gets interfered with and creates the pain sensation in the brain, which can be sharp or stabbing. Sometimes it’s often misdiagnosed as headaches, cluster headaches, even migraines. Now the typical medical approach is pain medication, anti-inflammatories, sometimes even anti-convulsants, which at the very best might temporarily mask the problem, but it doesn’t do anything to actually fix the problem. What we do at The Upper Cervical Spine Center is we have instrumentation to determine if there is some sort of pressure up here at the top of your neck that could be causing the occipital neuralgia. And if so, we make a very simple correction to take the pressure off the nerve so that then, kind of like taking your foot off the garden hose, you get full messages from the head to the brain, and nothing gets interfered with, and it takes away that pain sensation.

    If you have occipital neuralgia or you know someone with occipital neuralgia, instead of temporarily masking the symptom, I suggest you try to find the root cause of your occipital neuralgia and get it corrected. Your best bet would be to find an upper cervical doctor near you. You can Google it or call our office. We’ll do our best to find the closest one. We never charge for the initial consultation just to find out where your occipital neuralgia is coming from. Once we know that, if it’s something we can help you with, we’ll explain to you what we need to do to fix it. If it’s not something we can help with, then we’ll at least try to find another specialist that we believe can get to the root cause of your problem. Get it taken care of once and for all.

Categories Headaches

Head Pain Symptoms

Not sure what type of head pain you are having? There are four types of head pain, and each have their own head pain symptoms. Knowing the different symptoms for each type of head pain will help you distinguish which head pain you may be having and put you on a more comfortable path of finding relief. If you are having severe head pain that is greatly impacting your quality of life, it is highly recommended to see a professional right away as head pain happens to us for a reason and could be linked to something that needs to be corrected sooner than later.

Tension-Type Head Pain Symptoms

A tension-type head pain may come from disorders and diseases that affect your structure of the neck. Most tension-type headaches are short lived and come and go irregularly. For those who have a tension-type headache for 15 days or more per month for at least 3 months could have chronic tension headaches.

  • Headaches
  • Tingling in the Arms
  • Throat Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness of the Arms
  • Muscle Pain
  • Stiff Neck
  • Fever

Some people with tension-type headaches have also reported sensitivity to light or sound as part of their tension-type head pain symptoms. Not to be confused with migraine head pain symptoms, which also have a sensitivity to light and sound, tension-type head pain symptoms do not include flashing lights, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, nausea or vomiting, or blind spots as migraine head pain symptoms do.

Migraine Head Pain Symptoms

It is possible for people to begin to have migraine head pain symptoms before an attack occurs. These prodrome symptoms typically begin a day or two before a migraine attack. Migraine head pain symptoms that occur before an attack may include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Stiff Neck
  • Lots of Yawning
  • Moodiness or Irritability
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Thirstier than Usual
  • Food Cravings
  • Loss of Appetite

During a migraine attack, you may have the following head pain symptoms:

  • Throbbing or Pulsing Pain
  • Pain on one or Both Sides of the Face (or Eye)
  • Loss of Appetite (You may feel too sick to eat)
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Sensitivity to Light and Sounds
  • Sensitivity to Smells and Touch
  • Fainting
  • Feeling Cold or Very Warm

When you have an aura along with your migraine attack, you may experience these following head pain symptoms as well:

  • Loss of Vision
  • Trouble Talking
  • Hearing “Phantom Noises” (Noises that are not there)
  • Loss in Control of Movements
  • Piercing Sensation in an Arm or Leg (Usually feels like pins and needles)
  • Flashing Lights or Wavy/Zig-Zag Lines
  • Feeling Numb or Weak on one Side of the Body

The migraine attack itself can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. The typical time of a migraine attack lasts for 4 to 72 hours, but there are some reports of patients who have had their migraine for a week. After a migraine attack, you may experience these after your head pain symptoms: a feeling of euphoria, feel drained or washed out (usually the attack itself can wear you out), confused, dizzy, and moody.

In some reports, patients have expressed having congestion, nasal discharge, and facial pressure as their migraine head pain symptoms. 

Cluster Headaches Head Pain Symptoms

Cluster headaches occur in clusters every day for a certain amount of time, sometimes occurring multiple times each day. A single cluster headache attack can last from 15 minutes to three hours, usually occurring at night. A cluster headache period is mostly known to last from six to 12 weeks, followed by a remission period that can last up to a year before another cluster period begins; however, it is possible for remission periods to last less than a single month.

Common head pain symptoms for a cluster headache include the following:

  • Pain on one Side of the Head
  • Drooping Eyelid on the Affected Side
  • Small Pupils
  • Pale or Flushed Face
  • Redness, Swelling, or Watering in the Eye on the Affected Side
  • Swelling Around the Eye on the Affected Side
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Stuffy, Runny, or Blocked Nose
  • Excruciating Pain (This can be stationary around one eye or travel to other areas of the head, face, neck, or shoulders)
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating on the Face or Forehead
  • Sensitivity to Light and Sound (Usually on to one side)

Cluster headaches could be mistaken as migraine headaches as some symptoms are similar, like sensitivity to light and sound. Cluster headaches start and end abruptly and lasts shorter than a migraine.

During a migraine attack, the sufferer wishes to lie down to help cope with their head pain symptoms, whereas those who experience cluster headache head pain symptoms prefer to not lie down and instead will either walk around or rock back and forth while sitting as they are uncomfortable staying still.

Sinus Headache Head Pain Symptoms

Sinus headaches, unlike the previous types of headaches mentioned above, feel like an infection in the sinuses around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. During a sinus headache, you may experience the following head pain symptoms:

  • Stuffy Nose
  • Fatigue
  • Pain, Pressure, and Fullness in the Cheeks, Brows, or Forehead
  • Pain Worsening if Bending Forward or Lie Down
  • Achy Feeling in the Upper Teeth

It has been estimated about 90 percent of patients who believed they had sinus headaches were told by their doctor they were experiencing migraine headaches instead. Migraine sufferers can have signs of congestion, nasal discharge, and facial pressure as part of their migraine head pain symptoms, which is why it can be confusing. Sinus headaches do not usually cause one to feel nauseated or have sensitivity to light, which are both commonly found in migraine headaches. Before a sinus headache begins, a person may have already had a cold or a viral upper respiratory infection. Sinus headaches can last for days or longer, whereas migraine headaches range from hours to a day or two.

Categories Headaches

Understanding Head Pain

Migraine and severe headache pain are the leading causes of disability across the United States. With many specific treatments becoming more costly, it is hard to find good treatments for families with median or below average income. What makes this even more difficult, is how many medications and surgeries only provide a temporary relief and instead of targeting the cause of the head pain, medications, and surgeries target head pain symptoms.

But why is finding an affordable treatment for head pain that targets the underlying cause of the head pain so important? Although head pain is common, it could be debilitating – making it hard to do simple everyday tasks and taking away from your quality of life. Head pain is also a way of your body saying, “Hey! Something’s not right!” and should be listened to before the underlying cause of the head pain becomes much worse over time – which is why taking time in understanding head pain is so important.

Most head pain is annoying, painful, and not dangerous but they all happen for a reason and when it comes to understanding head pain, not everyone gets what the sufferer goes through and may dismiss it as a small issue. Understanding head pain types will help you adjust or support a loved one who may be having a difficult time with it.

Tension-Type Headaches

Tension-type headaches are extremely common and almost everyone will experience a tension-type headache. During a tension-type headache, muscles may feel knotted, and parts of the head and neck can become sensitive. These feel like a constant, dull, non-throbbing pain and as if your head is wrapped tightly. Those experience tension-type headaches for 15 days or more per month for up to three months may have chronic tension headaches. Chronic tension headaches may trigger more stress on the person and lead to depression; in turn, both stress and depression may lead to even more headaches.

When it comes to understanding head pain behind tension-type headaches, these usually result from stress (mental and/or physical). Tension-type headaches are not usually severe or get in the way of a person’s life, but they can still affect one’s mood; however, others may have painful tension headaches or tension headaches that last for long periods of time in which their daily life could be affected. Tension-type headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 days. Since tension-type headaches are usually triggered by stress put on the body, it could be either outside stress or stress within the body’s system causing it. 

Migraine Headaches

It is hard to go into understanding head pain associated with migraine headaches unless you have experienced it. Head pain from migraine headaches can be extremely tough to live with, causing many migraine sufferers to miss work and is the 6th most disabling illness in the world. Most migraine sufferers experience a migraine attack once or twice a month that can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days, but more than 4 million migraine sufferers have daily chronic migraines totaling to at least 15 days of migraines per month.

Migraines are also not a headache and often means something is wrong in the upper cervical area and there are many things that can bring about an attack. For those living with migraines, it is important to know what type of pain they go through in case they need support. It is very common for sufferers to become depressed and miss out on daily activities due to migraines. Understanding head pain from migraines are very different from tension-type headaches; migraines come with many disabling symptoms that causes a person to have to stop everything they are doing to attend to it. It is very hard to be comfortable during a migraine attack, so it is common for the sufferer to separate themselves from noise and lie down in a dark room while cutting off all sources of light.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches, just like their name, arrive in bunches over a course of weeks and can go on for up to 6 to 12 weeks on average. To begin understanding head pain that comes along with cluster headaches, we first need to point out they are not like tension-type headaches either. The head pain when experiencing cluster headaches is a severe, piercing sensation that can peak within minutes. Cluster headache head pain is unilateral (happens on only one side of the head) and may last from 30 minutes to 2 hours only to come back shortly after. Although another cluster headache follows typically a day or two later, it is possible to have four or more cluster headaches in one day.

When it comes to understanding head pain related to cluster headaches, sufferers will go through this severe piercing pain every day for weeks or months at a time. Sufferers of cluster headaches may show signs of having poor memory, poorer quality of life and a disturbance in their mood as they typically strike quickly without warning.

Sinus Headaches

Understanding head pain from sinus headaches is quite simple. A sinus headache comes with pain located in the forehead, cheeks, eyes, nose, and in some cases on the top of the person’s head. There have been reports of those who experience sinus headaches to feel as if they have pressure built up behind their face. An acute sinus headache will last no more than 8 weeks or occur up to three times a year with each attack lasting no more than 10 days. Chronic sinus headaches will last longer than 8 weeks or occur more than four times a year and last more than 20 days each time.

There are a lot of people who experience head pain who believe they are having a sinus headache when they are actually having a migraine; this is why taking the time in understanding head pain differences between the four types of head pain is important as migraines require different treatments and both are associated to completely different problems. 

Is There a Safe Natural Treatment for These Headaches?

Knowing the different types of head pain is the first step in understanding head pain and how different they can be. All four types have the possibility in affecting a person’s quality of life. Head pain is not something one can simply ignore when it’s constant and debilitating. It can deprive one of energy, productivity, and overall daily life. 

Fortunately, there is hope. Many patients who have suffered head pain and had continued to suffer after medication and surgery have found great relief in a natural upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain. Unlike general chiropractic, upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain targets the upper cervical area of the spine (just under your skull) and can help heal the underlying cause of your head pain.

Categories Headaches

What is Head Pain and How it Responds to UCC Treatment

Head pain can affect a person’s way of life and although it is common, it does not make it less serious. Head pain can be a sign of something more severe – which is why it is important to understand the different types of head pain, where head pain comes from, what head pain can do to the mind and the body over time, and how it can be treated. 

Head pain, whether sudden or reoccurring, does not happen without reason. Our bodies are made to tell us when something goes wrong and depending on the head pain severity and type, it could be indicating something small is out of place and needs to be changed to something  more drastic that may not be caused by the head at all and is trying to indicate something else is wrong.

Understanding Head Pain

There are four different types of head pain: Tension-type headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. As part of understanding head pain, it is important to realize how these types of head pain affects a person’s life to prepare you or a loved one how to support each other and how to handle the pain when it arises. Understanding head pain will allow you to feel more comfortable in knowing how to fight against it and why head pain should not be ignored.

Head Pain Symptoms

There are many head pain symptoms, and they can differ depending on the type of head pain you are having. Learning about head pain symptoms for each of the four head pain types will help you in identifying the kind of head pain you are experiencing right away and connect it to a possible cause.

Head Pain Causes

Each type of head pain will have certain triggers that can either start up the head pain or cause it to get worse. Head pain causes can range from a simple minor accident to a more severe cause. Learn about head pain causes, both big and small, and see what causes the pain to begin and triggers that could increase the chances of your head pain to reoccur or worsen during an attack.

What to do About Head Pain

There are various ways in handling head pain that the question ‘what to do about head pain’ can leave a person quite confused on where to start. Ironically, some medications used for head pain can actually cause more head pain! In addition to medication options, surgery is also an option for those with severe head pain; still, patients who went under medications and surgery both had reports of little to no relief – this is a large expense to start with and an expense that can disrupt your body’s natural system as both medication and surgery alter the way the body interprets signals and responds. Learn what to do about head pain by understanding available natural relief options and which options might be best to start with before considering a riskier and more expensive option.

Head Pain in Adults

Head pain in adults differ from head pain in children. The way adults need to combat head pain should not be the same way as a child. As adults, our bodies are more mature and do not adapt or heal as easily as a child’s. Explore how head pain in adults affects their daily life and why it is a serious matter that should be corrected sooner or later and learn about a recommended beneficial treatment that works well for mature ages. 

Head Pain in Children

Head pain in children should never be looked over. Children go through a lot in their childhood and depending on the cause of their head pain, it could lead to something far worse in the future. Head pain in children is not handled the same way as head pain in adults and it is often hard to depict whether your child has head pain or not unless they tell you. Learn about the signs for each of the four different types of head pain and what to look out for. Your child’s quality of life can be greatly affected by head pain and learning about which signs are related to which type of head pain can help you pinpoint what your child is going through and help them find relief.

Chiropractic Head Pain Diagnostic

Learn about the process of a chiropractic head pain diagnostic. How are chiropractors able to see you have head pain? What devices do they use and what are they looking for? How does it compare to other medical devices found in emergency centers? A chiropractic head pain diagnostic is very thorough in identifying the underlying cause of your head pain as well!

Chiropractic Treatment for Head Pain

Chiropractic has been around since 1895, but many patients never thought of using a chiropractic treatment for head pain. Usually when one thinks of chiropractic, they think of general chiropractic: the cracking and shifting of the spine to help their back – but there are other types of chiropractic out there that specifically help your upper cervical area right beneath your skull, called upper cervical chiropractic. Using an upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain is definitely a safer route compared to medication and surgery. Patients who have already underwent paying thousands of dollars in surgery and prescriptions still saw an improvement during an upper cervical chiropractic treatment for head pain and had better results than their surgeries and prescriptions combined!

Categories Headaches

Top of Head Headache Relief

Headache on head top, or a tension-type headache (TTH), is a pain usually described as a tight band fitting around your head or the feeling of a weight placed the crown of your head. This type of headache is the most common type of headache that is located on the top of the head. During a top of head headache there is constant pressure or aching around the head and the neck or shoulders may also hurt. The pain can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days or hurt continuously. If left uncorrected, a headache on head top can become more disabling as it turns into a chronic tension-type headache.

The Difference Between Headache on Head Top and Migraine

There are a few differences between a headache on head top and a migraine. Depending on what you have, treatments options can differ. While all symptoms below may not be present for everyone, these are typical symptoms found in those who experience a headache on head top and migraines.

Head top headaches do the following:

  • Occur sudden without warning
  • Pain is more likely to be all over
  • No nausea
  • No throbbing
  • No visual disturbances
  • Uncommon to start during sleep
  • No sensitivity to noise or light

As for migraines, they have the following differences:

  • Occur after warning signs or an aura
  • Pain is more likely to be one-sided
  • May experience nausea and/or vomiting
  • Contains visual disturbances
  • Common to start during sleep
  • Sensitivity to noise or light

Common Headache on Head Top Treatments

The best treatment would be to remove the cause of the head top headache; unfortunately, the most common treatments do not target the cause. Over the counter medications are used to help relieve headache on head top pain. Medications used may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, and pain relievers. Common NSAIDs used are ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (Bayer). As for pain relievers, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also common.

Although medications may provide a quick fix, the underlying cause of the headache on head top is still there and left untreated. NSAIDs are used to reduce inflammation by reducing the production of prostaglandins. However, prostaglandins are chemicals in the body that protect your stomach lining and intestines from the effects of acid, promote normal kidney functions, and promote blood clotting by activating blood platelets. Since NSAIDs reduce the production of prostaglandins, it can lead to the creation of ulcers in your stomach and intestines as well as increase your risk of bleeding.

To add to this, NSAIDs could cause side effects. The most common side effects people have experienced while using NSAIDs include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, headache, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and rash. There is a chance NSAIDs may also cause your arms and legs to swell from the retention of kidney fluid. As for the more serious side effects of taking NSAIDs: bleeding, ulcers, liver failure (although rare), and kidney failure may occur.

Using acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache on head top relief also has a list of common side effects. Side effects that can occur from using acetaminophen include stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea, rash, headache, dark urine, itching, jaundice (this is yellowing of the skin or eyes), and clay-colored stools. It is also important to note that if you overuse acetaminophen, you could develop severe liver damage so those who use acetaminophen should never take more than the recommended amount. When you take acetaminophen, your liver will turn it into a different substance and when there is too much of this substance produced it can start to damage your liver.

A Better Treatment for Headache on Head Top

Medication should be seen more as a last resort rather than the first choice. This is because medication never corrects the cause and is only made to mask your symptoms. There is a treatment out there that is completely natural, safe, and comes with no side effects that negatively impact your body. If you are suffering from headaches on head top, you may find the relief you are looking for under upper cervical adjustments.

First, upper cervical is not like general chiropractic and is very different! Usually when people think of chiropractors they think of cracking or popping of the spine, but upper cervical adjustments are quite the opposite. Upper cervical focuses on the top two bones of the spine located in the cervical area right under the base of the skull. The top two bones (the Atlas and the Axis) protect your brain stem and any small misalignment will cause the bones to shift and squeeze your brain stem. The pressure applied on the brain stem from misalignments change how the body perceives pain and balance. The brain stem controls the flow of communication between the brain and body and when it is squeezed this communication is disrupted and causes significant changes throughout your body including your breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and immune system to name a few. To add to this, a squeezed brain stem can lead to neurological problems as well including muscle weakness, loss of sensation, poor cognitive abilities, unexplained pain, and brain fog.

During a headache, your brain stem could be abnormally sensitizing your nerves and set off a reaction of pain in the brain. Since a disrupted brain stem can alter how your brain perceives pain and/or cause one to feel pain due to the pressure applied on the nerves, it could be causing your headache on head top pain. 

In order to take the pressure off the brain stem and return it and the other nerves back to normal function, the misalignments in the upper cervical area need to be corrected. Because of the neck region being a delicate area, upper cervical adjustments are gentle and very precise with no cracking or popping involved. Patients who experience headaches on head top not only find relief as soon as the very first adjustment but notice long term results with the cause being corrected.