There are many possible causes of headaches or migraines. The most common are listed below:
- Muscular tension &/or joint stiffness and dysfunction in the neck, jaw, or upper spine
- Unstable blood sugar levels
- Hormonal issues
- Sleep issues
- General systemic illness/fever /infections
- Bio-chemical factors/irritants
- Food allergies/Intolerances
- Drugs and medications (including the contraceptive pill)
- Mineral/Vitamin deficiencies and imbalances
- Emotional/Psychological Stress, Depression or Anxiety
- Uncorrected visual problems
- Circulatory/Blood Pressure Abnormalities
- Referred pain (e.g. Teeth, sinuses, ear)
- Raised Intracranial Pressure (IH)
There may be other causes of head pain, but these are often a combination of one or more of the above.
NB. It is worth noting that many people with chronic head pain are fearful they may have a brain tumour. In fact, worrisome headaches are very uncommon in under 50s, and headache is rarely the main presenting feature of brain tumour. Helena Bridge spends much of her time when not in the clinic teaching students and colleagues about headache safety, and promises always to err on the side of caution: she will assess your headaches strictly according to the latest medical guidelines (NICE CG150 & BASH 2019).
Head Pain Classification
Various classification systems exist; these can be rather complicated but basically divide head pain into:
Primary headache disorders – including various migraine types, tension-type headache, cluster headache and others
Secondary headache disorders – these are headaches linked with other conditions including head trauma, vascular disorders, non-vascular intracranial disorders e.g. raised/low fluid pressure, infection, metabolic disorders, cranial neuralgias, medications, disorders of associated structures such as neck, eyes, ears, nose/sinus, teeth, and jaw etc.
For further more specific information on headache types Click here
It is likely that if you have suffered for many months or years, some of the above terms have been mentioned. In the past you may have had various tests, and your headache/migraine has been given a medical classification. Unfortunately this does not necessarily lead to an effective treatment. This is where our specialised clinic can help. Click here to find out how