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Headache 911: How to Treat & Prevent 3 Common Types

| Friday November 12, 20105 comments

Those of us prone to headaches know how important both rapid relief and learning how to reduce frequency and severity is to our peace of mind. 

If popping painkillers is a last resort for you, check out these three common types of headaches and what you can do to find relief:

1. Tension type headache

Did you know that 90% of headaches that strike are tension headaches? Chronic problems may be the result of stress, fatigue, or bad posture, and affect women more often than men. A common symptom is tenderness in a band-like feeling around the head.

Treat: chiropractic therapy, muscle release techniques, deep breathing and relaxation techniques

Prevent:  take a magnesium supplement and stay well hydrated

2. Migraines

All migraines share some basic features, often beginning as a dull ache and then developing quickly into a constant, throbbing and pulsating pain you may feel at the temples and/or the front or back of one side of the head. The pain may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.

Treat: alternative therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic care. 

Prevent: keep a headache diary to identify your triggers, and try naturopathic medicine to check for mineral deficiencies or food sensitivities.

3. Cervicogenic headache

A cervicogenic headache originates in the neck but is felt in your head.  It can begin or be made worse by head or neck movement. There is also marked tenderness in the muscle at the back of neck/base of skull.

Treat: alternative therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic care.

Prevent: practice good posture and strengthen your neck muscles.


What do you do to treat and prevent your pesky headaches?

by Jane Weber

Dr Jane Weber is a Chiropractor and practices medical acupuncture with The Dempster Clinic in Toronto.
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5 Comments

on November 12, 2010  flowerfaerie  366 said:


Just this year I have been having headaches daily, combined with sore eyes, light sensitivity and sometimes a sharp sinus pain. I'm going to see if any of these prevention tips make a difference. People keep saying I should see a doctor, but I generally have little faith in doctors. So I will definitely try out these different methods first. Thanks!!

on November 12, 2010  cathy3087  98 said:

I don't get many headaches but when I do, it's usually from being dehydrated. I really try and avoid taking any medications but sometimes if I get a headache and I don't have time to rest, I take it as a quick fix.

Thanks for sharing these tips Dr. Weber!

on November 12, 2010  mamaluv  STAFF said:

ouch! every day?? I used to have that problem and was examined by several different docs. Had a CT scan, bloodwork, and who knows what else until a casual comment by my dentist during my usual checkup:

"Hey, do you have problems with headaches by chance?"

Impacted wisdom teeth. Once they were out, my headaches went from daily to maybe once or twice a month. I was quite irritated that 2 years of seeking answers and having tests boiled down to a dental x-ray.

But back on topic - I find I get headaches from not drinking enough water and forgetting to eat sometimes. Often all that's needed is a hearty turkey sandwich with all the fixins and a tall glass of lemony water with a chaser of freshly squeezed o.j. In a very short time my headache is gone and I'm invigorated. So I guess my "cure" is just taking better care of myself :)

on November 12, 2010  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

This is really great, Dr. Weber thanks for the tips! I love the approach of natural treatment and prevention vs. drugs. I don't get a lot of headaches (thankfully!) but I found this really informative.

on November 12, 2010  Becky  13,113 said:

I get headaches everyday, if I'm lucky they last a few hours and go away, if not I'm stuck with it the entire day until I go home and manage to go to sleep. The doc said it's a mix of migraine and tension headache. I really hate taking pills so I avoid pain killers unless I'm stuck with it for a few days, then I'll take one.

I find that drinking something really HOT helps the pain.

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