Headaches and migraines can be debilitating, affecting millions of people worldwide. At Axon Integrative Health in Denver, we understand the impact these conditions can have on your daily life. That’s why we offer a range of effective solutions to provide relief, including chiropractic adjustments, endo nasal release (nasal specific technique), laser therapy, PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) therapy, and neuro-acupuncture. Let’s explore the different types of headaches and migraines and discuss how our integrative approach can help alleviate your symptoms.
What are the differences of Headaches and Migraines?
The difference between the two is the pathophysiology that is underlying the condition. Headaches are caused dural tension, inflammation, and improper energy usage in the brain. Migraines are caused by a blood flow rebound phenomenon and perpetuated by metabolic cascades.
The difference in vascular involvement between migraines and the mechanisms of neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity in headaches can be explained as follows:
Vascular Involvement in Migraines:
Migraines were historically believed to be primarily vascular in nature, with theories suggesting that changes in blood vessel size and blood flow played a significant role in triggering migraine attacks. This theory led to the development of medications targeting blood vessels, such as vasoconstrictors. However, current research suggests that migraines are more complex and involve multiple mechanisms beyond vascular changes.
While vascular changes still play a role in migraines, they are now understood to be secondary to underlying neurochemical and neurogenic processes. The activation of trigeminal nerves, release of neuropeptides (such as calcitonin gene-related peptide or CGRP), and the subsequent inflammatory response are considered key contributors to migraine pathophysiology. These processes can lead to vasodilation and inflammation of blood vessels, contributing to the pain and associated symptoms experienced during migraines.
Neuroinflammation and Excitotoxicity in Headaches:
Headaches, particularly tension-type headaches and some types of cluster headaches, are believed to involve mechanisms related to neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity.
Neuroinflammation refers to inflammation of the nervous system, including the activation of immune cells and the release of inflammatory mediators. In tension-type headaches, it is thought that increased sensitivity of pain pathways and the release of inflammatory substances contribute to the headache symptoms. This may be triggered by various factors such as stress, muscle tension, or psychological factors.
Excitotoxicity is a process characterized by excessive activation of certain neurotransmitters, particularly glutamate, which can lead to neuronal damage or death. It is implicated in various headache disorders, including migraines and certain types of chronic daily headaches. Excitotoxicity can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as excessive stimulation of pain pathways or imbalances in neurotransmitter levels.
Both neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity can lead to an amplification of pain signals and sensitization of the nervous system, resulting in the perception of headaches and increased pain severity.
It’s important to note that the exact mechanisms underlying migraines and headaches are still being researched and understood. The understanding of these conditions continues to evolve, and future studies may provide further insights into the complex interplay of vascular involvement, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity in headache disorders.
If you experience frequent or severe headaches or migraines, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management strategies tailored to your specific condition rather than using Dr.Google for self-diagnosis or treatment.
Tension headaches are a common occurrence and are often associated with stress, muscle tension, and poor posture. At Axon Integrative Health, our chiropractic adjustments can help relieve muscle tension and proprioceptive deficits, which can contribute to tension headaches. The brain does not have pain receptors, but the thin sheet of tissue called dura matter does. When there is inflammation in the brain it can put pressure on the dura matter and cause pain. The small muscles at the base of your skull are directly attached to your dura matter as well, tension here can cause direct tension to the brain. Therapy at Axon including chiropractic adjustments, cold laser therapy, and proprioceptive training will reduce this occurrence and can result in lasting and sometimes permanent relief from chronic headaches.
Migraines are a complex neurological disorder characterized by severe recurring head pain due to vascular changes in the brain. A migraine is NOT “a really bad headache” and there are even some headaches that are much more pain severe than a migraine is (such as cluster headaches, and temporal arteritis). Our integrative approach at Axon Integrative Health addresses migraines from various angles to provide comprehensive relief.
a. Migraine without Aura: This is the most common type of migraine. It involves moderate to severe pulsating pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
b. Migraine with Aura: Some people experience a warning sign or sensory disturbance known as an aura before the onset of a migraine. Auras typically involve visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or temporary vision loss. Other sensory symptoms like tingling sensations in the face or hands can also occur.
c. Hemiplegic Migraine: This is a rare and severe type of migraine that causes temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body before or during the headache phase. Other symptoms may include vision changes, difficulty speaking, and confusion.
d. Chronic Migraine: When a person experiences migraines on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, with at least eight of those days being migraines, it is classified as chronic migraine.
What are some of the symptoms, triggers, and impacts of daily life for Migraines?
Symptoms: Migraines are often accompanied by additional symptoms beyond head pain. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), and visual disturbances such as flashing lights or blind spots (aura) that may precede the headache. Headaches, on the other hand, usually do not have these associated symptoms, although they can occasionally cause mild sensitivity to light or sound.
Triggers: Migraines are commonly triggered by specific factors or triggers, which can vary from person to person. Common triggers include certain foods (e.g., chocolate, aged cheeses), hormonal changes, stress, lack of sleep, strong odors, and bright lights. Headaches, on the other hand, can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as tension, dehydration, sinus congestion, eyestrain, or even a common cold.
Impact on daily life: Migraines can significantly impair a person’s ability to carry out their daily activities. The pain and accompanying symptoms can be debilitating, leading to missed work or school days. In contrast, headaches may cause discomfort but typically do not interfere with daily functioning to the same extent.
Treatments for Headaches and Migraines in Denver
a. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate headache and migraine symptoms by improving the movement of the spine, improving proprioceptive inputs, modulating pain pathways, and promoting overall nervous system health.
b. Endo Nasal Release (Nasal Specific Technique): This specialized technique focuses on releasing tension and pressure within the sinuses and nasal passages, which can be a contributing factor to headaches. By gently supplying input to the structures within the nasal cavity, we aim to reduce inflammation and improve the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, providing relief from headaches and migraines.
c. Laser Therapy: Our advanced laser therapy utilizes low-level laser technology to target specific points on the body associated with headache and migraine relief. This non-invasive and painless treatment stimulates cellular healing, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and promotes overall wellness, helping to alleviate symptoms.
d. PEMF Therapy: Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy has shown promising results in managing both headaches and migraines. By delivering specific frequency electromagnetic pulses to the body, PEMF therapy promotes circulation, reduces inflammation, and supports the body’s natural healing processes.
e. Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points along the body’s energy pathways. Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain, reduce the frequency of migraines, and promote relaxation and overall well-being. Neuro-Acupuncture provides relief by stimulating direct areas of the brain by inserting acupuncture needling into the scalp.
f. Vagus Nerve Stimuation: This can be electrical or air-pressure stimulation. The vagus nerve is the controller of the Gut-Brain axis, the Autonomic Nervous System, and the pain modulation system in our brain. Stimulating this nerve can help with a myriad of health benefits including migraine and headache relief, along with gut functioning benefits, mindset control, and calmness to stress and anxiety.
What are some of the different types of headaches and migraines??
There are several different types of headaches and migraines, each with its own distinct characteristics. Here are some of the most common types:
Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches are intense, excruciating headaches that occur in cyclical patterns or clusters. They cause severe, burning or piercing pain on one side of the head, often around the eye. Cluster headaches are known for their rapid onset, occurring multiple times a day for several weeks or months, followed by periods of remission.
Sinus Headaches: Sinus headaches are often associated with sinusitis, an inflammation or infection of the sinuses. The pain is typically felt in the forehead, cheekbones, and bridge of the nose. Other symptoms may include nasal congestion, facial pressure, and a runny or stuffy nose.
Rebound Headaches (Medication Overuse Headaches): Rebound headaches occur as a result of overusing pain medications for headaches. They typically occur daily and can be similar to tension headaches or migraines. These headaches can develop when pain-relieving medications are taken too frequently or in excessive doses.
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples, and there may be other types of headaches or migraines that are less common. If you are experiencing recurrent or severe headaches, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Distinguishing between the two.
It’s important to note that while migraines and headaches have distinguishing characteristics, diagnosing the specific type of head pain should be done by a medical professional. They will consider your symptoms, medical history, and may order additional tests to rule out other underlying causes. If you frequently experience headaches or migraines, let us know and we can help distinguish between the two as well as provide strategies for you at home and treatments in the clinic to get you pain free.
In conclusion, we work with you to determine your diagnosis, and personalized treatment plan to effectively change your symptoms and give you lasting relief.
Contact us today for more information by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page or giving us a call!