What is a headache?
A headache is any pain in the head area. They can take on many forms and the symptoms can vary greatly. They may feel like a vise on the head, sharp, only on one side or both, throbbing, and even a dull ache. However you feel them, they all are a pain in the… head!
Some particularly important types of headaches are a migraine, tension-type, and cluster (1).
Migraines can affect up to 15% of the world’s population and cause more disability than epilepsy with an estimated 100 million workdays or schooldays missed annually (1).
Tension-Type are you “ordinary” headaches. These can be stress related. They can also be caused by structural musculoskeletal abnormalities or pathologies.
Cluster headaches are the most recognizable because they have very particular symptoms. These include bouts or clusters of bouts lasting 6-12 weeks, once a year, only one side of the head, intense pain around the eye commonly at night (1).
What helps get rid of headaches fast?
Depending on the type of headache, there can be different remedies. Talk to your doctor about some medication options that they recommend for you. If you are looking for some medicine-free options, here you go!
Ice can be a great tool to decrease pain. Cold therapy is known to decrease tissue blood flow by causing vasoconstriction, reduces tissue metabolism, oxygen utilization, inflammation, and muscle spasm. It helps with local pain and with central pain responses from the brain and spinal cord where it slows down the speed of nerve pain signals (2).
Here are a few products that I have recommended in the clinic for my patients.
Can Dry Needling help my headache?
Trigger Point Dry Needling has been around for over 40 years. In the past 10-15 years it has been used more by Physical Therapists. I have been using dry needling for over 5 years with great success at managing many conditions that are impacted by trigger points and muscle issues.
Headache pain can come on as a consequence of trigger points in the shoulders, neck, or facial muscles (3). The trapezius muscle can refer pain to the side of the head and around behind the ear.
Chemical processes related to muscle trigger points may also cause migraine-like symptoms such as light sensitivity, nausea, and dizziness (3).
My experiences over the past decade combined with the current evidence in the literature would say that Trigger Point Dry Needling can be a effective tool in helping headache sufferers manage pain from headaches.