Types of Headaches
The headaches we see and treat regularly include ‘stress’ headaches; ‘tension’ headaches (similar to ‘stress’ headaches); cervicogenic headaches; occipitalgia (headaches felt over the back of the head.); frontal headaches (headaches felt in the front of the head or eyes); and some types of migraines.
These are the by far most common type of headache and are sometimes called tension headaches. Cervicogenic means that the cause of the headache is in the neck. The literature suggests that over 80% of all headaches are cervicogenic in nature.
Most people describe it as a constant dull, achy feeling either on one side or both sides of the head, often described as a feeling of a tight band or dull ache around the head or behind the eyes. Tension in the muscles attaching to the neck, such as the upper trapezius and sternocleidomastoid, tends to become worse over the day which is often as a result of poor posture. This increase in tension then causes the symptoms of a headache.
This sort of headache, can last from 30 minutes to several days. In severe cases, chronic tension headaches may persist for many months. Although the pain can at times be severe, tension headaches are usually not associated with other symptoms such as nausea, throbbing or vomiting. These symptoms tend to be more related to migraine type headache.
Rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) muscle, is a tiny little muscle at the base of the skull. Its primary role is to help balance the skull on top of the first cervical vertebrae. This tiny muscle has some attachments that connect to the outer layer of the meninges that covers the brain and spinal cord. The meninges are very sensitive. The RCPM is prone to spasm if over worked and people who spend a long time in front of computer often stress this muscle which then gets tired or goes into spasm, applying tension to the dura, causing headaches.
Stress does not cause the headache, but it usually aggravates the problem. Chiropractic can be extremely successful for the treatment of stress-related headaches by curing the underlying problem.