What is a headache?
Headaches are among the most common causes of physical discomfort – around 7 in 10 people experience at least one headache each year, and over 45 million Americans suffer from frequent or even disabling headaches. Despite their prevalence, headaches can be difficult to treat and prevent.
That’s because there are numerous types of headaches, and even more potential causes. Some headaches are symptoms of an overarching problem; others are both the symptom and the cause. The most common types of headache are migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and post-traumatic headaches.
All headaches are characterized by pain in the head, scalp, or neck. In some cases, patients may also experience sensitivity to light and sound, visual auras, loss of appetite, or mood swings. Depending on the cause and type, headaches can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
What causes a headache?
All headaches can be classified into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are caused by chemical activity in the brain, the muscles of the head and neck, or the nerves and blood vessels surrounding the skull. They are not caused by an underlying condition.
Cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines are the most common examples of primary headaches. While they aren’t caused by any underlying conditions, these headaches can in fact be triggered by external factors. Common triggers include alcohol, specific foods like cured meats, a lack of sleep, poor posture, skipped meals, and stress.
Secondary headaches are caused by one or more separate conditions. Secondary headaches can occur as a result of a sinus infection, for example, a hangover, dehydration, or even dental problems. They can also occur because the patient is suffering from an aneurysm, a concussion, a brain tumor, or encephalitis.
The most common causes of a headache include:
- Lack of sleep
- Underlying conditions
Source: Mayo Clinic
Luna’s physical therapists treat
Luna’s talented group of physical therapists specialize in treating patients who suffer from headaches. Our PTs understand the debilitating effects of chronic headaches, and can help patients to not only identify the root cause, but address it with strengthening exercises, postural training, and lifestyle changes.
The best part of Luna? Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.