Headaches and Chiropractic
Did you know 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches? Many people may wonder why they have headaches and what they could do to help relieve the pain. Over-the-counter pain medicine is a very common way people in the U.S. try to relieve headache symptoms, but unfortunately they are only masking the problem rather than fixing it. Have you ever tried Chiropractic for your headaches?
In our office we have patients of all different ages who experiences headaches of all different types. There are tension type headaches, migraines, sinus headaches, cervicogenic headaches (stemming from your neck), and many others. We often see patient’s suffering from migraine headaches. Migraines present in multiple ways, but some of the most common symptoms are: throbbing in one particular area of the head that can vary in intensity, nausea, and sensitivity to light and to sound. Often times patients with migraines are prescribed medication similar to antipsychotics, or an off brand medication used to treat epilepsy. The side effects associated with these medications can be more harmful than good. Other treatments used by patients suffering from these headaches could be avoiding triggers, dietary changes, over-the-counter medications, and acupuncture.
Another common reason for headaches mentioned above is tension. Tension held in the muscles of the neck and the jaw can create radiating pain into the base of the skull. Often times we will see TMJ issues, or patient’s who possibly “grind” their teeth with stress and tension, which will increase headache symptoms.
The reason behind many of these types of headaches may be unknown, but what we do find in the chiropractic field is that if your vertebra in your neck are not moving properly, putting stress on the nerves which supply the joints and muscles in your neck, there can be dysfunction and pain. This can cause muscle spasms, decreased range of motion and symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and tension.
Lifestyle factors that can trigger headaches:
- Poor posture
- Changes in sleep or lack of sleep
- Certain foods: processed meats containing nitrates
- Skipping meals
- Dehydration (remember we need plenty of water here in AZ!)
- Hormonal changes
We encourage our patient’s to pay attention to any patterns with their headaches. Keeping a food journal, recognizing the time of the day you are most likely to get a headache, what helps, what makes it worse, etc. It is always hard hearing a patient has suffered from headaches for many years and they have them multiple times a week! They are surprised to find out that is NOT normal and they deserve so much better!
Chiropractic treatment for headaches has been recognized by many research studies showing that a cervical spine (your neck) that is moving properly with less tension on the joints between vertebra and those muscles moving joints decreases the frequency and severity of headache symptoms. Conservative treatments such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy are amazing options for patients who may be tired of prescription medications and not only want to decrease the symptoms of their headaches, but also want to increase their overall mobility and wellbeing.