Migraine headaches are caused by an enlargement of blood vessels that leads to the release of certain chemicals from nerve fibers that wrap around the large arteries in the brain. When these blood vessels enlarge, they stretch the nerves that coil around them and cause the nerves to release chemicals. These chemicals then cause inflammation and pain.
Migraines are severely debilitating and can cause excruciating pain. They can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and are often accompanied by severe nausea and sensitivity to noise, light, smells, and touch.
There are many suspected causes for migraine. In addition to environmental factors, research is also indicating that food allergies may be a factor that contributes to migraine headaches (cheese, red wine, chocolate).
What are the causes of headaches and migraines?
There are two types of headaches: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with (caused by) other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by associated disease. The associated disease may be minor or serious and life threatening.
Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache; as many as 90% of adults have had or will have tension headaches. Tension headaches are more common among women than men.
Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. An estimated 28 million people in the United States (about 12% of the population) will experience migraine headaches. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Before puberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty, more women than men are affected. An estimated 6% of men and up to 18% of women will experience a migraine headache.
Cluster headaches are a rare type of primary headache, affecting 0.1% of the population. An estimated 85% of cluster headache sufferers are men. The average age of cluster headache sufferers is 28-30 years, although headaches may begin in childhood.
Secondary headaches have diverse causes, ranging from serious and life threatening conditions such as brain tumors, strokes, meningitis, and subarachnoid hemorrhages to less serious but common conditions such as withdrawal from caffeine and discontinuation of analgesics. Many people suffer from "mixed" headache disorders in which tension headaches or secondary headaches trigger migraine headaches.
Not only is there a connection between poor posture and headache frequency, and there is also a definite association between neck pain and both migraine and tension-type headaches. Our heads are like a 10-pound bowling bowl that sits on a much smaller base, our neck. If it’s not balanced correctly, the head can aggravate the cervical spine and trigger muscle tension and tightness. This can lead to spasms or the development of headaches.
There are two major groupings of nerves that affect the head and upper torso. Tight muscles that impinge on these nerves can lead to headaches, breathing difficulties, and/or neck, shoulder, chest, arm, wrist or hand pain. The majority of all headaches and migraines are caused by six little muscles located at the base of your skull, the suboccipital muscles. They can become so tight that they start to cause all kinds of physiological changes in your body that ultimately result in pain.
PDTR has shown greatly effective in disrupting the cycle of pain and the resulting dysfunction in the muscle. I can also release the tightness in the affected muscles, which allows your head to move freely again. In addition, Trigger Point Therapy can release trigger points in your shoulder and neck area, which can often lead to headaches.