Headaches neurologic system Disorders and Musculoskeletal Systems


Headache disorders affect the nervous system of the body, and statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that nearly half of the world’s population has experienced headaches in the course of their lives (WHO, 2016). The prevalence of headache disorders in the world is estimated to be around 50%, affecting people from all races, geographical areas, ages, and income levels (WHO, 2016).

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Typically, headache disorders are a product of small disorders such as cluster headache, migraine, and tension-type headache (Lipton & Bigal, 2006). There is little academic information on the pathophysiology of cluster headache, migraine, and tension-type headache. The source of cluster headaches and migraines is the brain, typified as a neurologic dysfunction that involves the cranial vessels and the trigeminal nerve (Kunkel, 2010). Individuals that suffer from cluster headaches experience an excessive activity in the parasympathetic nervous system while sufferers of tension-type headache experience disturbance of the central neurologic system (Kunkel, 2010). Besides, tension-type headache is caused by increased activities in the cervical and pericranial muscle due to factors such as grinding of the teeth, poor posture, anxiety, and flexion-extension injury of the neck (Kunkel, 2010).

On the other hand, migraine is a unique type of headache disorders that is triggered by the periodic unsteadiness of the neurovascular system. The serototin available in the neurovascular system might be shrinking, or the neurotransmitters also present in the neurovascular system might be becoming insensitive, causing the production of substances that cause perivascular inflammation and vascular dilation (Kunkel, 2010). The physical assessment and examination of headaches neurologic system disorders entails checking the temperature, blood pressure, identifying evidence of injury, examining inside of eyes to check signs of bleeding and examining the stiffness of movement (Lipton & Bigal, 2006). Moreover, the assessment also includes evaluation of body balance, evaluation of muscle strength and reflexes of the nervous system, and checking the overall mental status (Lipton & Bigal, 2006).

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Migraines can be treated by using cold packs, sleep, and abortive medication. Besides, patients with migraines need to be educated on triggers that cause their condition. Some of the triggers of migraines include bright lights, weather changes, food additives, stress, strong odors, or skipping mills. Tension-type headache can be treated by  massage, sleep, hot shower, and educating patients to avoid stress factors. Also, analgesics such as aspirin and sedating medication can treat episodic tension-type headaches. Cluster headaches can be treated by providing daily preventive drugs such as lithium carbonate, verapamil, topiramate, and methysergide (Kunkel, 2010).

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  1. Kunkel, R. S. (2010, August). Disease Management: Headache.
  2. Lipton, R. B., & Bigal, M. E. (2006). Migraine and Other Headache Disorder. Taylor & Francis.
  3. WHO. (2016). Headache disorders: Fact Sheet.
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