Is it Normal to Have Headaches Every Day?

woman-holding-her-head-headache-copy

“Is it Normal to Have Headaches Every day?”

This is something we get asked alot!  A huge majority of our patients will let us know that they suffer with regular (even daily) headaches.  However, most of these patients let us know that their regular headaches are NOT the initial complaint that they came to us with… Leading us to thinking that people consider this normal.

So the quick answer to the question “Is it normal to have headaches every day?” is NO.

Many people will just reach straight for the painkillers for a headache, and this is so common that a regular headache is now considered normal by many people.   If you find yourself reaching for over the counter medication to tackle your regular headaches more than that, then you might want to consider what is causing your headaches in the first place.

What is causing my headache?

Did you know there are 150 diagnostic categories for headaches?  Within those 150 categories there are many sub-categories and variations, so in total there are HUNDREDS of different types of headaches and migraines.  So please take our word for it that generally headaches are much more complex than most people think.

Of course, I’m not going to go through every single headache type out there! Today I just want to discuss one of the most common types of headache, called the tension headache or “cervicogenic” headache.

**SIDE NOTE: cervicogenic means “pain somewhere in the body that originated in the neck”**

This is the type of headache that most people will consider “normal”.

Frequently a cervicogenic headache will have the following characteristics:

  • Dull achey pain at the back of the head, just where the skull meets the top of your neck – this can occur on both sides or sometimes only one
  • Pain can refer around the eyes, feeling “sinusy”
  • Dull achey pain at the top of your head
  • Headache worsened by a long day at work or computer
  • Headache develops weeks or even months after a traffic accident
  • Neck pain and stiffness usually accompany the headache
  • Tender areas in the neck and upper shoulders
  • You may hear grinding, clicking or popping sounds when turning your head

This list is certainly not exhaustive – as I said there are many variations! The thing about cervicogenic headaches is that in the majority of cases they are caused by lifestyle choices and postural changes, which basically means there is alot that you can do to help ease the symptoms.

Firstly you need to address your upper body posture.  Most headache and neck pain victims have what we call an “upper cross syndrome” posture which looks like this:

Upper Cross Syndrome

This posture causes pressure on the muscles, joints and nerves located in the upper part of the neck which can send pain signals to the head and face. So even just the simple act of improving your upper body posture may relieve some of the headache symptoms.  Here is a quick guide to creating a better upper body posture:

  • Straighten up!
  • Pull your shoulders back, and “tuck” your shoulder blades down
  • Move your chin backwards slightly, almost as if to imitate having a double chin
  • When you feel your body creeping back into the crouched forward posture – straighten up again!  Or if sitting get up and move around for at least 30secs.

Headache sufferers may also find some temporary relief from performing an upper trapezius stretch, which you can learn how to do here.

There is evidence to suggest that upper cervical and upper thoracic adjustments (adjustments/manipulation at the top of the neck and back) can effectively reduce headache symptoms (see published research HERE)

Some people may find that simple postural adjustments will be enough to alleviate headache symptoms, but some people will need some extra help. Chiropractors and Osteopaths are experts in assessing what might be causing your headaches.

To make an appointment please call 01330 824040 or book online HERE.

Felicity Rogers

Felicity graduated from the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic in 2007 upon completion of a BSC degree in Chiropractic and has been working as a Chiropractor in the UK for over 7 years.

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