All Headaches Are Not Created Equal

Most pain management therapists believe they are able to distinguish between clients presenting with common headaches and more serious conditions such as migraines. Although most recognize that not all headaches are migraines, few can truly differentiate the inherent subtleties between the two disorders. In fact, there are more than 300 different types of headaches, each with different causes, kinds of pain, onset and frequency.

Why are migraines different?

The word “Migraine” comes from the greek word “heicranos” which means half head, since most manifest themselves on one side of the head. Actually, a migraine is a specific type of headache characterized by visual problems and an intense throbbing pain concentrated in a single area. Many headaches are accompanied by vasoconstriction or narrowing of the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain and surrounding tissue. Many migraines have the reverse, vasodilation, or enlargement of blood vessels. If the person takes the common headache medication which is usually a vasodilator it can worsen.

Many people suffer recurring headaches that can trigger migraines. As a physical therapist I’ve treated many people with head-pain. It has been estimated that about 10% of the population have HA that impact their ability to perform work and home tasks. Postural distortions from work, muscle spasms from sleeping wrong and muscle tension from auto-accidents and falls can be compounded by emotional stress.