Headaches: 101

It seems that headaches are pretty popular amongst teachers. Every time I say “hi” to a teacher in our office, their head or neck hurts! However, it’s not just teachers, you know what I’m talking about: that pressure filled feeling that your head is inflating like a hot air balloon, ready to burst. Did you know that migraines affect 38 million Americans, and more than 1 billion people worldwide? As a matter of fact, migraines are the 3rd most prevalent disease in the world and affect women exponentially more than men (statistics courtesy of the Migraine Research Foundation). However, a headache doesn’t necessarily mean a migraine (even the worst types). Did you know that there are a few different types of headaches? How about your treatment options? Let me play teacher, just for a few minutes.

  • Migraine:  Moderate-to-severe throbbing and/or stabbing-like pain that can affect the entire head, or only one side at a time.  Symptoms present as nausea/vomiting, light sensitivity, inability to focus, loss of appetite.  These are the most debilitating (duh).
  • Cluster Headache: Very intense, single-sided headaches than can refer pain behind your eyes.  They last around one hour, but will re-occur, or cluster, at some point that day.
  • Tension Headache:  Mild-to-moderate pain, can last for different lengths of time.  Pain is often centralized on the top, front, or sides of your head.  This type of headache can be episodic (occurring less than15 days/ month), or chronic (occuring more than 15 days/month).
  • Sinus Headache:  Deep pain near the forehead or superior (top) half of the face, focused around the bridge of the nose.  
  • Ice-Pick Headache: Sometimes referred to as “lightning bolt” or “flash” headaches.  These are ‘stop-what-you’re-doing’ intensity.   Sharp, stabbing-like pain lasting between 10 and 30 seconds.  Think of someone swinging an ice pick into your skull, or getting nailed by a lightning bolt right in the cranium.Some of these types of headaches can be prevented, or subsided by treating the muscles in the neck and at base of the skull. Massage therapists and physical therapists both work to loosen these muscles that are often entirely too tight and can trigger a headache. Chiropractically adjusting the neck is another treatment option, and re-aligns vertebrae that are out of proper position, releasing pain-relieving endorphins. You can also manage your headaches with nutrition. Natural remedies like Boswellia, which is an anti-inflammatory herb (that we recommend in capsule form), can actually help. However, our best method of relieving headaches is acupuncture. The hair-like needles relax your entire body in addition to the muscles that they are in, allowing you to heal from the inside, out. Acupuncture treatment is very delicate and doesn’t require your head to be moved or pushed on, so it may be the perfect treatment if you’re really in pain with a migraine or bad headache. If you think you’ve tried everything to get rid of your headaches, contact us and we will get you out of pain! Stay Well.


  • 732-414-2700

  • info@njspineandwellness.com
  • Old Bridge, NJ
    300 Perrine Road, Suite 305
    Old Bridge, NJ 08857

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