My Head Aches! Is it a Migraine?

My Head Aches!  Is it a Migraine?

Most Canadians will suffer from at least one headache in their lifetime; however, the reason for the headache can differ from one individual to another.

Headache triggers can vary from environment, food, stress, dehydration and other things, such as from muscles, joints, ligaments or nerves.


There seems to be a relationship between individual genetics and the environment. Migraines are commonly associated with triggers. These can include hormonal changes, food and additives, stress, sleep, physical and sensory factors, changes in the environment and certain medications.


Cervicogenic – headache from the neck or cervical spine structures. Pain can be triggered or worsened by neck movement.

Tension-type – tension in the muscles of the neck or face can produce pain often associated to stress, anxiety, eyestrain, poor posture, or injuries.

Cluster – like migraines, the cause of cluster headaches is unknown. It has been suggested that cluster headaches may be caused by problems in regulating temperature, blood pressure, hormones or sleep.


Migraine – intense throbbing or pulsing sensation on one or both sides of the head frequently accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.

Cervicogenic – pain usually on one side of the head. The pain can start at the base of the skull and spread to the front of the head.

Tension-type – constant pain and pressure described as dull and achy. Pain can be felt on both sides of the head, forehead, temples and even back of the head.

Cluster – severe, stabbing, penetrating, burning or explosive recurring pain that is located on one side of the head. Cluster headaches have a rapid onset and can frequently present in patterns or “clusters” over a period of time. Often described as starting around or “behind” the eye and can cause redness or watering of the eye, stuffy or runny nose, droopy eyelid, facial swelling or flushing and sensitivity to light and noise.

Parkway Back and Foot Clinic, Stoney Creek, Chiropractic


Chiropractors like Dr. Barry McHardy of Parkway Back and Foot Clinic in Burlington, can assess, diagnose and manage headaches. Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulative therapy, can be an effective treatment for cervicogenic and tension-type headaches. Care offered by chiropractors can also decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines.

Depending on the findings of the history and patient examination, the chiropractor may recommend patient reassurance, manual therapies, modalities and lifestyle recommendations including rehabilitation.

At Parkway Back and Foot Clinic, a plan of management will be individualized to the patient’s needs and examination findings.