Dear Headache: Nobody Likes You…So Go Away. Please?

Everyone suffers from headaches. The good news is, there are ways to help achieve pain relief…

First, you should remember that there are two major classifications for headaches:

  • Primary Headaches – which occur for no obvious reason such as migraines and tension-type headaches
  • Secondary Headaches – are attributed to underlying clinical problems of the head or neck, which are called cervicogenic headaches

Knowing what type of headache you’ve been getting can greatly help you achieve pain relief.

So what kind of headache do you suffer from?

Here is a breakdown of the common symptoms for each classification of headache:


  • Recurrent headaches
  • 4-7  hours duration
  • One sided pain
  • Pulsating type pain
  • Moderate or severe intensity
  • Worse by doing routine activities
  • During headache, 1 or more are present: nausea, vomiting, light or sound sensitivity.

Tension-Type Headache:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Last minutes to days
  • Both sides of head
  • Pressing pain, tightening pain (band-like)
  • Mild to moderate pain
  • May be tender to touch
  • No nausea / vomiting
  • May be sensitive to sound or light (but only one)
  • Not made worse by routine activities

Cervicogenic Headache:

  • Pain referred from a source in the neck
  • Feels like it is in 1 or more regions of the head and/or face
  • Clinical, lab., or imaging evidence of a disorder within the neck (spine or soft tissue)
  • If tender spots are the only cause then it is a tension –type headache not cervicogenic.

How much does your headache impact your life? Take the Headache impact test:

To assist your chiropractor in getting a better diagnoses and treatment keep a headache diary such as the one here: 

So now that I have an idea of the type of headache I have, what should I do?

There are recommended clinical guidelines you may be interested in looking into to help you achieve the fastest pain relief possible. They are as follows:
Because of the intensity and disabilitating effects of migraines, treatment is highly involved: Chiropractic treatment 1 to 2 times a week for 8 weeks, a weekly 45 min. massage, specific exercise, stretching and relaxation routine, and stress & nutrition counseling.

Tension-type headaches
are best treated by seeing a chiropractor who can teach you how to mobilize the affected area. These exercises will need to be done for 10 minutes, 2 times per day for 6 weeks, then at least 2 time per week for 6 months.

Cervicogenic headaches are best treated seeing a chiropractor 2 times per week for 3 weeks and by doing prescribed exercises 2 times a day for 6 weeks.