What Causes Headaches?

Headaches, an almost universal human experience, they are one of the most common complaints encountered in medicine and neurology. Diagnosing of this condition might be challenging as there are quite a few types of headaches with different causes and mechanisms of origin. In general headaches are classified into primary and secondary

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Difference Between Tension Headaches And A Migraine

Primary headaches are regarded as a problem itself within the head, while secondary headaches are classified as consequence of another condition. Primary ones are migraines, tension type of headaches, cervicogenic type and those caused by irritation of structures that innervate cranium and face. The pathophysiology of migraines is complex, and the pain mechanisms are not completely understood. Thus, in this blog I am going to focus on describing tension type of headaches as its origin in muscular pain located in head, neck and shoulders which in turn can release inflammatory mediators.

Tension type of headache have mean one year of prevalence in 48,6% in worldwide population between 20- and 40-year-olds with women and men equally affected. TTH might vary in episodes frequency from infrequent to chronic. In order to qualify headache as TTH it must fulfil certain criteria. First the headache is lasting hours and or days. Secondly the patient is experiencing two out of four characteristics: 1. bilateral symptoms (symmetrical, the same on both sides), 2. pressing/tightening feeling, 3. mild or moderate intensity meaning that one is still able to do everyday activities, 4. the headaches is not getting worse during everyday activities.

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How To Get Rid Of Headaches

If you are suffering from headaches and your symptoms are matching the description above, there is few things you can do in terms of treatment. First, we can improve mobility of vertebrates using spinal adjustments and soft tissue therapy around the neck, jaw and the cranium. Furthermore, appropriate exercise prescription can improve stabilisation and activation of neck muscles. Below I present examples of some exercises that might improve mobility of the jaw which dysfunctions often contribute to the development of some types of headaches.

  1. The Goldfish Exercise-With one finger just below the ear and second on the chin, tongue placed on the roof of the mouth, the lower jaw should be dropped halfway or fully. It should be performed in six repetitions in one set, six times a day.

2. Resisted Mouth Opening-

Put fist or the thumb under the chin to resist the opening of the mouth. With that resistance, the mouth can be opened slowly and held in opened position with resistance applied for roughly 5 seconds. This can be repeated 3-6 times and performed multiple (5-6) times a day.

3. Resisted Mouth Closing-

This acts just opposite to the restricted mouth opening exercise, as described above. The resistance is to be applied against the closing of the mouth with the use of three or four fingers. This can also be performed using both thumbs under the chin and both index fingers above the chin.

4. Side to Side Jaw Movement-

A clean pen-like object can be used for this exercise. This should be held between upper and lower teeth. The jaws should be moved sidewise slowly. With time, a thicker object can be used instead of a pen. This exercise helps in increasing the range of the motion.

5. Jaw Stretches-

The participant needs to slowly open the mouth with maximum possible opening, then hold it for 3 seconds and then close it slowly. This can be done 10 times a day.

6. Massage & Heating-

Massage over the jaw area and then use of heat pads are also helpful in some cases. The massage should be performed for 2-5 minutes. The same could be done for the temporal area.

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