Headaches are such a common problem, that in the past year half to three-quarters of the world’s adult population has reported as having one (1). There are various types of headaches that medical professionals manage daily, from cervicogenic headache to migraines.


Types of headaches

There is an array of headaches that medical professionals treat. Here are the most common headaches:

Cervicogenic headache

This type of headache is felt in the head, but the origin is from the neck structures. Most commonly it can be referred pain from muscles such as the Trapezium muscle. Pain is usually felt only on one side of the head and can be chronic in nature. (4)


Migraines are a chronic episodic type of headaches. Pain on one side of the head, with throbbing intensity, could indicate a migraine. Typically, migraine has a trigger factor like stress or food. Other symptoms are nausea, blurred vision and sensitivity to light and sounds. (5) Migraines can be complex; therefore, professional advice is highly recommended.

Cluster Headache

Cluster type headaches typically occur at night, on one side of the head. Typically, the pain is felt behind/around one eye, tearing of the eye can also indicate this type of headache. As mentioned in the name this headache can occur a couple of times a day for a period, then it disappears for a while. Cluster headaches can also be triggered, best is to identify and avoid those triggers. (6)

Tension-type headache

A bilateral type of headache that is squeezing in nature. To diagnose this type of headache you should have experienced at least 10 episodes in a month lasting anything from 1 hour to 7 days or squeezing pain (bandlike) on both sides of your head. (8)

Sinus headache

Pain in the frontal region of your face, typically worse for bending forward can indicate a sinus headache. Chronic sinus infection or sinus allergies can lead to this type of headache. Seeking advice from a medical professional to treat the infection or chronic allergies can be beneficial to treat and prevent this type of headache. (7)

Red Flags 

What are the red flags? Red flags are signs and symptoms that might indicate that there might be a serious pathology present (2). When you have one of these, go and seek professional advice immediately or phone the New Zealand Health line 0800 611 116. Here are the typical headache red flags (3):

  • Vomiting
  • A seizure (fit)
  • Drowsiness, confusion or weakness in their arms or legs
  • Difficulty waking up or bright lights hurt their eyes
  • Extreme Neck pain or stiffness
  • Loss of vision (they have trouble seeing)
Exercise and stretches


Headaches are all treated differently, and treatment can depend on many factors. There has been evidence that suggests chiropractic care can be effective in the treatment of cervicogenic and migraine headaches (9). The best is a holistic approach. Regular exercise and stretches, a well-balanced diet and correct posture are all ways that you can manage and prevent your headaches. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website, you can take pain killers such as paracetamol, gentle massage, lie in a dark room or use ice on your head or back of your neck to self-treat the headache (2).

Final thoughts 

If you are concerned about any of your symptoms or unsure about how to get treatment, go and seek advice from a trained medical professional like your Chiropractor. Alternatively phone the New Zealand Health line: 0800 611 116. One of your friendly Chiropractors at Chirohealth will be able to discuss any of your concerns regarding headaches.

“Knowledge is Power”

Albert Einstein

  1. www.who.int. (n.d.). Headache disorders. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders#:~:text=Half%20to%20three%20quarters%20of [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  2. Ramanayake, RP.J.C. and Basnayake, BM.T.K. (2018). Evaluation of red flags minimizes missing serious diseases in primary care. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 7(2), p.315.
  3. Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Headache. [online] Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/headache [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  4. Physiopedia. (2009). Cervicogenic Headache. [online] Available at: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Cervicogenic_Headache.
  5. Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Migraines. [online] Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/headache/migraines [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  6. Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Cluster headaches. [online] Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/headache/cluster-headaches [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  7. Ministry of Health NZ. (n.d.). Sinus headaches. [online] Available at: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/headache/sinus-headaches [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  8. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Tension-type headache. [online] Available at: https://physio-pedia.com/Tension-type_headache [Accessed 29 Nov. 2020].
  9. Ruegg, R., Shaw, L., Descarreaux, M., Sorra, K., Bryans, R., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Watkin, R. and White, E. (2011). Evidence-based guideline for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Clinical Chiropractic, 14(4), pp.173–174.

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