Almost all headaches are referred from the cervical spine. The three most common types of headache are muscle contraction (or tension) headaches, migraine, and cluster headaches. There are no labratory or X-Ray tests that will diagnose these. The diagnosis is suggested by a history that is typical of one of them, and there is usually no need for investigation. Treatment may be started when there are no abnormalities on clinical examination, and its progress can be gauged by observed the response to treatment.
Muscel contraction headache is believed to be caused by sustained tension of the scalp and neck muscles. It is extremely common and usually reflects a tense or depressed emotional state precipitated or aggravated by stress or fatigue. It may also occur from eyestrain. Pain is usually diffuse and often described as tight or pressing. In most people, they last only a few hours or days. Physical examination is normal, save for the finding of tender and shortened muscles in the neck and shoulders.
Migraine is produced by dilatation and increased pulsation of the arteries of the scalp and face. It affects women more often than men. Attacks may be triggered by stress and fatigue, menstruation, ovulation, alcohol, chocolate, cheese, and other foods. The classic migraine can be associated with aura, visual distortions, confusions, or dysphasia. IMS reduces the number of treatments necessary and some patients have not had migraines for weeks after treatment.
Cluster headache is also vascular in origin, but idffers from migraine in predilection for males in the third or fifth decade. Cluster headaches cluster in time. They occur one or more times a day, every day, for weeks or months, then disappear completely, only to return months or years later. Each headache is the same, beginning abruptly and centering around the eye before spreading into the cheek, temple, or forehead.
All three types of headaches are associated with muscle contraction in the neck and they generally all respond well to IMS Treatment of the cervical spoine when the restricted range of motion of the neck is restored.