The most common form of headache is the muscle-contraction type. It is described as an achy or tight sensation, pressure, or constriction, especially in the back of the neck which often causes headaches in the back of the head and the temple region. The neck and head pain is increased with tension and stress and often occurs daily. There is a high association of TMJ syndrome with this type of headache. Often times massage therapy or physical therapy is helpful for this condition but does not cure it, whereas Prolotherapy is often curative.
Cluster headache, unlike the other types of headaches which occur more often in women, occur primarily in males at a ratio of about five to one. In its classic form, the headache comes in clusters, one or two per year, each lasting for about two to three months. The headache begins abruptly and builds up to a climax in 10 to 15 minutes. The pain is usually excruciating and is felt to be the most severe headache a person can get. The pain is frequently tremendous behind the eyes. he pain usually lasts 45 minutes to one hour. The attacks may come the same time every day for a number of weeks.
Besides the severe pain, there are other symptoms: eye tearing in both eyes, red eye, and nasal stuffiness. Sometimes there is facial flushing and/or pallor with facial and scalp tenderness. A decrease in the heart rate may also be noted.
Migraine headaches are also called vascular headaches, because vascular system abnormalities give the headache its throbbing or pulsatile characteristic. Often times, a prodrome (early headache) and aura precede the headache. This type is called classic migraine.
The symptoms that occur before the migraine vary: They may involve the autonomic nervous system, (symptoms of flushing or pounding); the neurological system (numbness, tingling, and even temporary paralysis on one side of the body); or the muscular system (spasm and muscle pain typically in the neck).
The migraine headache is pulsatile, or throbbing, which distinguishes it from other types of headaches. It is often one-sided and typically resides behind the eye. For some, the best treatment is to be alone in a room and hope the migraine headache goes away in a short time. Normally this is not the case and the headaches last for several hours.
Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system controls all the bodily processes that occur automatically in the body, including breathing, heart rate, saliva formation, digestion, pain control, and of course, blood flow. The somatic nervous system controls those actions that are under our control, including muscle control, moving our eyes to see something, and decision-making.
In regards to headaches and neck pain the sympathetic nervous system has three ganglia, or nerve centers, in the neck region. These are known as the superior, middle, and cervicothoracic (stellate) ganglia.
The cervical sympathetic ganglia affect the various glands of the face including the salivary glands which control secretions in the mouth, lacrimal glands (secretions in the eyes), and the nasal, sinus and palatine glands (secretions in the nose and sinuses). One can easily see that if too many secretions were produced by these glands that excessive tearing could result (as in cluster headaches), dizziness/vertigo (by excessive secretions in the inner ear), and sinus headaches (by too many secretions in the sinuses irrespective of allergies). It is also significant that the cervical sympathetic ganglia are one of the controls of the diameter of the blood vessels in the brain. This would account for the aura of migraines (vasoconstriction of blood vessels) and the actual headache itself (vasodilation).
Doctors who utilize Prolotherapy and Neural Therapy, the injection of local anesthetics into the autonomic ganglia and peripheral nerves, routinely help patients not only get rid of their pain, but also relieve them of other symptoms, such as muscle weakness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, pins/needles sensation, and fatigue, that are related to a soft tissue injury they suffered during competition.
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