Simply eliminating or limiting the use of analgesic use will resolve most if not all of the headaches. However, most individuals are unaware that the drugs they're taking can sometimes do them more harm than good.
Migraines account for approximately 10% of all headaches. Researchers have found that 3.4 million females and 1.1 million males suffer from 1 migraine attack per month. Migraines follow a hereditary course, with 70% of migraine sufferers having other family members who are also affected. Migraine headaches often have coexisting muscle tension and cervicogenic factors which contribute to the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
The pain generated by migraines has a throbbing quality and usually involves one side of the head initially. A headache tends to reach its peak intensity after about 30 minutes. Migraines are commonly accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During severe attacks, sensitivity to sound and light may occur forcing the individual to seek a dark and quiet room mandatory. The duration of the headache can vary from a few hours to 1 to 2 days.
Migraine headaches are categorized into either "common" or "classical" migraines.
Classical Migraines differ from common migraines in that the actual headache is preceded by neurologic disturbances which indicate a migraine attack is about to take place. These include alterations in the visual field (zigzag lines, blind spots, etc.), numbness or tingling of the lips or hand, problems with balance and even loss of consciousness. These neurologic disturbances generally last 15 to 30 minutes and resolve before the headache begins. In some cases, the neurologic disturbances may persist several days after the headache has resolved.
Clinical trials conducted on chiropractic's effectiveness in the management of migraine headaches have shown remarkable improvement in many cases.
Cluster headaches are most common in middle-aged male smokers and are among the most painful of all headaches. The individual is often awakened 1 to 3 hours after sleep with a headache in its full-blown state. A headache lasts about 1 hour and attacks occur frequently over several days to weeks - thus their name "cluster". The headaches will then disappear for periods of months to years before returning. The pain in cluster headaches is deep, non-throbbing and severe located behind the ear and may radiate to the forehead and temple regions. There is also tearing of the affected eye, nasal congestion, and nasal drip.
Smoking, alcohol ingestion and napping often precipitate attacks. Immediate administration of oxygen (100% at 7 liters for 15 minutes) has been shown to provide some relief. It has been suggested that immersing the hand in ice water to the point of pain and elevating the bed may also provide some relief.