Are Your Headaches Normal?
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I have lost count long ago when asked about headaches, how many patients say that they suffer no more headaches than ‘normal’!

My question to them is always ‘How normal is pain then?’ 🤔

As pain is designed to tell you that something is wrong, I have yet to find out what ‘normal’ level of pain is!

Headaches are remarkably common, with 40% of the population suffering from these at any one time. Fortunately, the majority (90%) are not due to serious disease but can be so painful that they can severely disrupt lives 🤕. They are in fact, the second most common problem that we see in clinic.

Mostly we see tension headaches, which are the most common type, often described as a tight feeling like a ‘hat band’, around the head they can give dizziness, tiredness and nausea.

They are often associated with a stiff and sore neck and can range from a dull annoying ache to be completely debilitating, being more severe than a migraine, (although this is rarer) or anything in between 😵.

They are caused by increased tension in the muscles around the base of the skull or in the neck, which can affect the blood supply or the nerves into the scalp.

Although poor posture or increased stress are the main culprits, they may also be associated with wear and tear in the neck or overtly tight muscles. They may be a result of a past or recent trauma such as a sports injury, a fall or a car crash and often the headaches can come on after a period of time or persist after the neck pain has settled.

We have even seen patients whose headaches have come on following dental treatment as any problems with the jaw (TMJ) can also cause abnormal muscle tension and lead to these headaches.

The main issue with these headaches is that they can often ‘fly under the radar’ as they are usually intermittent or low level, so that they become so persistent that they are perceived as ‘normal’ and so you just put up with a certain level of pain and discomfort and don’t really think that it’s worth doing anything about. So, they last for months or even years.

BUT

They indicate that something is wrong and although rare, sometimes they can be an indication of a serious medical problem.

However, if you have any of the following symptoms you should urgently seek medical advice:

  • Severe morning headaches
  • Headaches that can be described as ‘being like no other that you have ever felt’ 🌪
  • Headaches coming on a few hours after a blow to the head
  • Headaches with a fever and neck stiffness
  • Vomiting and feelings of lethargy
  • Weakness in the arm, slight drooping of the eye and/or slurred speech.

But more commonly tension headaches have a nasty habit of gradually or suddenly escalating into much more severe headaches, which cause a lot more of a problem and unfortunately, this is usually the stage that we tend to see people.

However

This is somewhat frustrating as a practitioner as these headaches respond remarkably well to some small changes in lifestyle and some good treatment. We see a lot of patients that have their lives disrupted and suffer unnecessary pain, that could have been avoided if they had done something when they had a ‘normal headache’

Most patients report relief after the first treatment 😅. But like most conditions, the quicker they are treated the quicker they can get better, and less treatment is needed to do this.

We would expect you to be completely symptom free within 6 weeks, although some do need checking every 4-6 months, especially if there are some degenerative changes in the neck.

So, if you’re getting ‘normal’ headaches maybe it’s time to get them checked and sorted out.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of videos to help relieve your headaches.

How to improve your sitting posture:

AND

Here’s a great way of decreasing any stress to help your headaches 🧘‍♀️:

A patient I saw recently, who had treatment for tension headaches, told me that she didn’t realise what effect her headaches were having on her life.

How she felt clear headed, was able to concentrate better, how much calmer and more patient she had become and how much her daily pain was grinding her down.

She didn’t realise how bad she was until she felt so much better!

So, if you want to feel so much better, don’t accept that your headaches are ‘normal’.

Call us on 01273 725667 to book an appointment, so that we can help you actually be normal and not suffer from headaches. 😊🌟

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