Headaches

Fact Sheets

There are many different types and causes of headaches. Below are a few of the more common different types of headaches that people can suffer from. You will find separate information sheets on some of these headache types on our site.

Common types of headaches

  • Tension headaches – stress and tension
  • Cervigogenic – due to structures in and around the neck and head
  • Eye strain headache
  • Migraine – vascular headache
  • Sinus headache
  • Headache due to viral infection (ie with a cold or flu)
  • Other
    • Dehydration – common with “hang-over’
    • Side effect of medication/s
    • Associated with allergic responses
    • After trauma and concussions
    • Serious infections and illness
    • Associated with inflammation/irritation of nerves – neuralgia
    • Associated with pressure in the brain – clots / strokes, tumours etc
    • …. and many more

Treating headaches

Most of the time headaches are a very simple and only require simple treatment such as manual therapy, rest, fluids or pain killers. You should always see a health professional to correctly diagnose the cause of your headache. Hands-on treatment can be very valuable in managing certain headaches. Your Osteopath or phyio will take a full history and examine you to determine what type of headache you have and if they can help you or need to refer you for further investigation and treatment.

There are times however when headaches can indicate something far more serious and dangerous that should be investigated. You should always see a health professional as soon as possible if any of the following apply.

  • Dizziness
  • Following Trauma
  • Very rapid onset
  • The complaint that ‘this is the worst ever headache’
  • Accompanying ‘flu like’ symptoms
  • Accompanying severe cervical/ spinal pain and stiffness
  • Associated skin rash
  • Associated with faints, fits or loss of consciousness
  • Progressively worsening (either increasing in pain intensity over time or increasing duration or frequency)
  • Nausea or vomiting (particularly in children)
  • Visual or hearing changes
  • Gait disturbances (ie problems walking)
  • Problems speaking
  • Problems swallowing
  • Pins and needles around head or upper limbs
  • Pain into the arms
  • Headache that has changed or that is not the typical H/A usually experienced by the patient
  • The headache is not relieved by pain medication
  • If you also have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease
  • If you have loss of memory or inability to provide accurate history

Download the PDF Here

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