According to the National Headache Foundation over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. About 20% of children and adolescents also experience significant headaches.

A headache or “cephalalgia” is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck and it can be a symptom of a number of different conditions. There are more than 150 types of headaches. Some are harmless and some are life-threatening.

The most common types of headaches are migraines and tension-type headaches. They have different characteristics. Migraines typically present with pulsating head pain, nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound). Tension-type headaches usually present with non-pulsating “bandlike” pressure on both sides of the head, not accompanied by other symptoms.

While migraine and tension-type headaches are the most common there are several other types of headaches. A thorough evaluation is the best way to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

As a board certified chiropractic neurologist, Dr. Scott Surasky is specialty trained in the diagnosis and management of headaches and teaches continuing education programs to other doctors on this topic.

Additional types of headache include:

  • Cluster headaches

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

  • Hemicrania continua

  • Primary stabbing headache

  • medication overuse headache

  • Cervicogenic headache

Headaches should always be properly evaluated as they can be a sign of a serious medical illness. These life threatening conditions are far less common and  include the following:

  • Meningitis

  • Bleeding inside the brain (intracranial hemorrhage)

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

  • Ruptured aneurysm

  • Brain tumor:

  • Temporal arteritis

 The good news for headache sufferers is that once a correct headache diagnosis is made, an effective treatment plan can be started.

Making the Pain Go Away

Treatment to improve headache pain successfully is dependent upon an accurate diagnosis. This is accomplished by taking a thorough history, doing a complete examination, and utilizing any of a variety of diagnostic tools we have at our disposal. Once completed , the spectrum of treatment modalities available include medication, Osteopathic/Chiropractic manipulation, and Injections.