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Types Of Headaches By Location

Types of headache by location ~ Dr. Angela Walk

Headaches are one of the most common health complaints that I see in my practice. Sadly, most people have suffered for years and rely on traditional methods for symptom relief and experience no real correction or proper diagnosis.

Headaches can be more complicated than most people realize. Each type of headache has it's own set of symptoms, causes, and responds to different types of treatment.

As a natural physician and chiropractor, my goal is to identify the specific type of headache and the root cause. Then, offer natural, holistic treatments and solutions.

In this article, I will review the different types of headaches, and then present the most effective natural remedies including foods to avoid, supplementation, essential oils, and posture and pillow recommendations.

Types Of Headaches by Area

Types of headaches by location ~ Dr. Angela Walk

What Is A Neck Headache?

Headaches that originate from the cerivical spine are called cervicogenic headaches. These headaches stim from an existing issue in your neck that causes restricted movement in the joints and muscles.

The most common causes of cervicogenic headaches is poor posture, ergonomics, poor sleeping posture, and muscular tension in the neck and shoulders.

Forward Head Posture, also called Text Neck or Reading Neck, is a posture pattern where the head goes forward in relationship to the shoulders.

This anterior head carriage puts tremendous stress on the neck and shoulders and can cause a very painful headache. Proper posture is when the center of the ear lines up with the center of the shoulder.

When forward head posture begins to develop and your head begins to move forward away from its balanced position, the weight of your head begins to increase.

In fact, for every 1 inch your head moves forward, the relative weight of the head over the body doubles due to the effects of gravity.


The root of these type of headache is a spinal subluxation (or misalignment) in the upper cervical spine, which chiropractors are experts at correcting.

Other effective treatment methods would be correcting forward head posture, practicing a more upright posture, and sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow.

What Causes A Sinus Headache?

Sinus headache remedy with eucalyptus essential oil ~ Dr. Angela Walk

With sinus headaches, you feel a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or on the bridge of your nose. They happen when your sinus cavities get inflamed.

The pain usually comes along with other sinus symptoms, like a runny nose, fullness in the ears, fever, and a swollen face. A true sinus headache results from a sinus infection so the discharge from your nose will be yellow or green.


These headaches are often relieved from decongesting the sinuses. Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural decongestant. Place1 or 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl of hot water.

Throw a towel over your head and breathe deeply for 5 to 10 minutes. Otherwise add 3-5 drops to a warm bath and breathe in its healing vapers while you relax.

What Is A Cluster Headache?

A cluster headache is one of the most painful types and can strike quickly. There is often no warning and can begin with an excruciating pain behind or around one eye. They can also radiate to other areas of your face, head and neck. It is most often one-sided pain and can create excessive tearing in one eye.

They’re called cluster headaches because they tend to happen in groups. You might get them one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last 2 weeks to 3 months. Each headache attack lasts 15 minutes to 3 hours.

They happen so regularly, generally at the same time each day, that they've been called "alarm clock headaches." They might even wake you up an hour or two after you go to bed. Nighttime attacks can be more severe than daytime ones.

These headaches may disappear completely for months or years, only to come back later. Men are three to four times more likely to get them than women.

Since cluster headaches are rooted in a problem with a nerve that passes through your spine, a chiropractor is the best line of defense in fighting cluster headaches.

In people experiencing cluster headaches, the trigeminal nerve is often pinched, compressed, or shifted improperly due to a spinal misalignment.


With a gentle, specific chiropractic adjustment, the vertebra that is interfering with the trigeminal nerve will be moved into proper alignment and positioning.

Other effective treatment method would be massage therapy, dry needling, cupping, and acupuncture.

Can TMJ Cause Headaches?

Because of the proximity of the jaw to the head, it’s easy for TMJ pain to travel upward and create a TMJ headache.

There are also a number of nerves in the face that run right alongside the TMJ. This means a little bit of TMJ pain can create a big TMJ headache.

If your teeth are misaligned or you grind or clinch your teeth, a condition called bruxism, you can develop dysfunction and pain at the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include popping of the joint, pain at the joint, difficulty opening your mouth and headaches.


Applying essential oils to the jaw helps to relieve TMJ muscle tension, soothes teeth grinding & jaw stiffness, and helps ease stress that leads to jaw clenching & physical distress.

Chiropractors are able to effectively diagnose and treat this condition. A consultation with your dentist would also be suggested.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Tension Headache?

Tension headache symptoms ~ Dr. Angela Walk

The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are also called stress headaches and originate in the neck and across the shoulders. The pain can also radiate to the whole head, temporal and frontal regions.

Triggers of tension headaches include alcohol, eye strain, dry eyes, fatigue, smoking, poor posture, emotional stress, decreased water intake, lack of sleep, and skipping meals.


Studies suggest that chiropractic manipulation reduces tension and migraine headaches significantly.

Tension headaches also respond well to massage therapy, stretching protocols for the neck and shoulders, posture correcting exercises and other stress reducing practices.

How Do I Know If I'm Having A Migraine?

A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

They can last from 4 hours to 3 days and usually happen one to four times a month. Wondering how to get rid of a migraine without the use of prescription medications?


Natural remedies for migraines include adjusting your diet to avoid trigger foods, preventing nutrient deficiencies and learning to manage stress more effectively.

The most effective supplements to consider are Omega-3 fish oils, Magnesium, Vitamin B2

and Melatonin

What Are The Foods That Trigger Headaches and Migraines?

I read a health article recently that stated that 80% of migraines originate in the gut. This means that most headaches are inflammatory in nature.

Certain foods create inflammation in the gut and can contribute to many pain syndromes including headaches. Avoid gluten, dairy, and sugar foods as they are the mosts inflammatory.

I've had patients start an elimination diet and after 30 days see incredible results with lessening the frequency of their headaches and migraines. Creating a healhty gut is one of the most important things that you can do for your health.

Supplementing with a probiotic is one of the most effective ways to improve your gut health. I recommend a multi-strain probiotic to all of my headache pateints.

Not only does improving gut health decrease inflammation, it also improves your immune system function. 70% of your immune system health originates in your digestive tract. It's important to keep that space healthy.

How Can I Prevent Migraines Naturally

Migraine episodes can be painful and interrupt your life. Fortunately, there are some lifestyle changes you can make and habits to adopt that can help you prevent them.

These include:

  • eating at regular times each day and never skipping meals

  • limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake

  • getting plenty of sleep

  • reducing the stress in your life

  • limiting the amount of time you’re looking at bright lights, or are in direct sunlight, which can both cause sensory migraine

  • taking frequent “screen breaks” from computer, phones and other screens

  • trying an elimination diet to help you identify any food allergies or intolerances that may be headache triggers

  • Avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol. artificial sweetners, MSG, and nitrates (deli meats, hot dogs).

Best Supplements For Headaches & Migraines

Magnesium for migraines ~ Dr. Angela Walk

The most common nutrition deficiencies that we see with headaches and migraines are Magnesium and Vitamin D.

Magnesium is one of the most successful headache remedies. People who suffer from serious headaches, like migraines, often have low levels of magnesium and several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by 41.6%.

Other research has shown that taking daily magnesium supplements can be effective at preventing menstrual-related migraines.

I encourage my patients suffering with migraines to supplement with between 250 and 500 mg of magnesium a day. This is the brand I use and recommend.

Vitamin D deficiency is at the top of the list when it comes to contributing to headaches. And recent studies have shown that 70% of Americans have low levels.

Many people who have difficulty sleeping, also are deficient in vitamin D and this combination further leads to more headaches.

I recommend supplementing with vitamin D3 (D3 is the best form to take). Most nutritionists recommend staying within the therapeutic range of 3,000 to 5,000 units daily. (Approximately 25 units per pound of body weight).I

Can Dehydration Cause Headaches?

Can dehydration cause headaches? Dr. Angela Walk

Every day, our body is stuck in a battle to retain the right balance of water and electrolytes, to make sure it can function properly.

This is because we constantly lose fluid during the day through normal bodily functions such as urine, sweat and saliva – so it’s important that we consistently replace that fluid.

When the human body loses more fluid than it retains, it will become dehydrated. If your body does become dehydrated, you may experience a variety of different symptoms, including increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark colored urine, fatigue or dizziness, and even a headache.

What does a dehydration headache feel like?

Because headaches are a common symptom of many different conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out whether the pain in your head is being caused by dehydration or by something else.

Dehydration headaches may cause pain on all sides of your head, while a migraine may only cause intense pain on one side of the head and will often be accompanied by symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or light and sound sensitivity.

Dehydration headaches will also feel different from a sinus headache, as dehydration headaches do not cause pressure or pain in the face, while sinus pressure headaches do. The first thing to do if you feel dehydration pain sweeping across your forehead is to reach for some water to help replace those lost fluids and balance electrolytes. But how much water should you actually be drinking each day? I recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you would need 75 ounces a day to stay hydrated. If you are actively exercises, you would need even more than that.

Best Esssential Oils For Headaches & Migraines

Best essential oils for headaches and migraines ~ Dr. Angela Walk

Essential oils are also an excellent way to get natural tension headache relief. Essential oils can be applied to the painful side of the head, neck, temples and elsewhere to soothe muscular tension and stress.

Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Wintergreen & Chamomile are the most effective essential oils to relieve headaches. I handcraft essential oil blends and have a blend especially for these symptoms.

Our Head & Neck Tension blend is a favorite with our patients. It soothes headache, neck, and muscle tension, supports migraine and TMJ relief, soothes mental fatigue, and is calming and relaxing.

Can Bad Sleeping Postion Cause Headaches?

Can bad sleeping posture cause headaches? Dr. Angela Walk

Poor sleeping posture and an unsupportive pillow can put stress on the neck and create misalignments of the spine and tight muscles. This can lead to headaches as we discussed earlier.

Sleep on your side or back, but NEVER on your stomach. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees is the BEST position because we are able to maintain a more neutral posture.

If you sleep on your side, be sure to keep your head and shoulders back and avoid rolling forward in the fetal position as this puts your head in forward head posture and creates neck tension.

Only bend your knees slightly and put a pillow between your legs to keep your hips in a more neutral alignment. Think about our natural standing position with good posture and that's how you should look while sleeping.

Best Pillow To Prevent Headaches & Neck Pain

Your pillow should be fairly firm and supportive. It should be the right height to keep your neck and spine straight and even. Side sleepers would need a pillow slightly thicker than pillows needed for back sleepers.

Your chin shouldn’t be drawn in to your chest or leaned too far back. Most people use pillows that are too thin and the head is tilted all night.

This causes the neck joints to become misaligned and leads to neck pain and even headaches.

Can CBD Help Headaches?

Can CBD help headaches and migraines? Dr. Angela Walk

Recently, it has come to light that the endocannabinoid system, a network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors, plays a major role in our central nervous system and may influence migraines.

Emerging research shows that many ailments may be related to dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short.

The ECS is involved with regulating appetite, sleep, pain, mood, memory, metabolism, immune function, digestion, and much more.

Chronically low cannabinoid levels is believed to play a role in causing conditions like migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.

In fact, a study looking at the endocannabinoid anandamide found that those who suffered from migraines had significantly less anandamide in their cerebrospinal fluid than those who did not experience migraines.

Meaning: Low endocannabinoid levels could be the root of your migraine pain.

I recommend this CBD Hemp Extract 500mg that we source locally from a Tennessee hemp farm. If you have more severe headache pain, I recommend the 1,000mg.


Dealing with headache pain can be life changing, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. By arming yourself with knowledge and taking charge of your healing, you can get back to the activities you love and feel like yourself again.

Headaches have a variety of causes and gratefully, most headaches are highly manageable with natural treatments. Avoiding inflammatory foods, adding a magnesium supplement, applying essential oils, correcting posture, and staying hydrated, we have a greater chance of preventing headaches.

We hope that you find our posts helpful and please feel free to forward this information to anyone who suffers from headaches. We strive to educate our patients on all aspects of health.

Wishing you Health & Happiness.

Dr. Angela

Dr. Angela's Best Recommendations:

PLEASE NOTE: I ONLY recommend products, supplements & essential oils in my posts that I have personally crafted and I know exactly what is in them, or that I have recommended to my patients and know the efficacy and therapeutic value.

Head & Neck Tension Essential Oil Blend

Hi, I'm Dr. Angela Walk..

I have been involved in the health industry for over 20 years as a wellness physician and holistic nutrition coach.

I have written extensively for health publications and I am keenly aware of trends and new developments. By working to inform readers of the natural options available to them, I hope to improve your health and quality of life.

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