Home LifestyleHealth Breaking Down Headaches: What They Mean + How to Get Relief

Breaking Down Headaches: What They Mean + How to Get Relief

by Jennifer Tripucka
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Headaches — whether it’s a tension headache, sinus headache, or migraine, we’ve all been there and know the pain all too well. Precisely because headaches are so common, however, they are oftentimes misunderstood and misdiagnosed. You might have many questions about headaches, such as what makes a migraine a migraine, what the alternatives are to popping some pain killers, or when to see a doctor. The experts from The Spine & Sports Health Center are here to answer your questions and share some helpful tips:

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What are the different types of headaches?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a headache is “pain in any region of the head. Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a viselike quality. A headache may appear as a sharp pain, a throbbing sensation or a dull ache. Headaches can develop gradually or suddenly, and may last from less than an hour to several days.” Doesn’t sound very fun {or very specific} to us.

The truth is that there are many different kinds of headaches, but they originate from two main sources. You either have a “primary headache”, meaning that the headache is caused by the head itself, {think migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches here} or a “secondary headache” meaning that the headache is caused by a secondary condition, illness, or physical issue. This may mean a sinus headache, if you have sinusitis.

“What we see most at The Spine & Sports Health Center, are ‘cervicogenic headaches’”, said medical director, Alex Visco, M.D. “This is just a fancy way of describing a headache that is caused by a disorder of the neck (or cervical spine).”

READ: The Spine & Sports Health Center {Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture} 

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When You Should Consider Treatment:

A basic rule of thumb that we like to use at The Spine & Sports Health Center is if your pain is interfering with your daily activities and life, you should probably seek a medical opinion. Sometimes people get so used to and comfortable with a condition or symptom that they forget that it’s not normal to live that way. Specifically for headaches, however, Dr. Visco recommends scheduling an appointment with a doctor if your headaches keep you from working or sleeping or if you notice an increase in occurrence or severity. He recommends seeking immediate emergency care if you have trouble walking, seeing, or speaking, if you experience any numbness or paralysis, high fever, fainting, nausea, or vomiting.

How to Treat Headaches:

Just like there are many different causes of headaches, there are also a lot of complicated treatment options. At The Spine & Sports Health Center, our focus is on the diagnosis. We evaluate all of our patients with a thorough examination & physical assessment, and diagnostic testing. This allows us to determine whether or not you are suffering from a primary or secondary headache. All of our board-certified medical doctors and supporting staff have a great deal of experience treating secondary headaches, specifically cervicogenic headaches, through anything from physical therapy, spinal manipulation, or targeted injections in the form of non-surgical, same day procedures.

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At the end of the day, headaches are {literally} a pain. As long as you are informed and aware, however, you should have the tools to find the pain relief so many of us are seeking.

See More: What You Should Know About Breast Health

The Spine & Sports Health Center is a medical practice specializing in the non-surgical treatment of spine and joint pain. Their board-certified medical doctors provide individualized treatment plans for patients of all shapes and sizes, from young children all the way to professional athletes. Through the use of interventional pain management, sports medicine, physical therapy and rehabilitation, chiropractic, and acupuncture, they are able to provide targeted relief for patients experiencing pain due to neck and back conditions or injuries, sciatica, sports injuries, headaches, nerve damage, herniated or bulging discs, and much more.

With locations in Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne, they are always close by and eager to help! Call them at (201) 533-9200 to make an appointment — no referral needed! Weekend and after-work hours are available.

This post is sponsored by The Spine & Sports Health Center.

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