Headaches are common pain events for many people, and they are often recurring.
A variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications may control headache pain, but
they only mask the pain without addressing the cause. Headache medications may also
have side effects, especially with overuse. Hoping to find a more natural and holistic
solution to chronic headaches, many people turn to chiropractic.
A headache may arise from muscular tension, vascular changes, sinus congestion, eyestrain and many other underlying causes. They can start over the eyes, in the back of the head, on the sides or top of the head, or feel centered behind the eyes. The one thing all these headaches have in common is that they hurt, and sometimes they hurt a great deal. The amount of pain associated with a headache may range from a mild ache to a throbbing, nauseating, relentless pain.
Three types of headaches are commonly seen in our clinic:
1) Tension headaches (muscular tension and contraction involving the muscles of the shoulders, neck and head). Often this tension is a result of emotional stress, though injuries can also set a pattern of muscle contraction into play. It is normal for muscles to contract when we are threatened, irritated or angry, a reaction known as the fight or flight response.
2) Migraine headaches (vascular headaches, arising from sudden dilation of the blood vessels of the head). Migraines can be triggered by hormonal changes, foods, smells, weather changes, stress, and many other triggers. The headaches often begin with symptoms other than pain, such as visual auras, nausea or sensitivity to light and sound.
3) Cervicogenic headaches (caused by pain referred to the head from the bony or
soft tissues of the neck). These types of headaches may result from stress and
tightness in the shoulders and neck muscles, and may be a common type of
headache experienced by those who constantly have tight shoulders.
Headaches can be either primary, those that start independently, or secondary, those that begin as a side effect of another disease process. Headaches arising from muscular tension (generally arising from stress) and migraine headaches (vascular headaches) are two of the most common types of headache; both of these headache types are considered primary headaches. A large body of research suggests that chiropractic can effectively treat primary headaches, and many patients have found lasting relief from headache pain through chiropractic care. The fundamental technique of chiropractic, spinal manipulation, is used to improve spinal alignment, reduce nerve irritation, relax muscle tension and improve vascular flow. Trigger point therapy, massage and adjustments are used to treat the headache. For preventative care, exercise, stretching, postural and nutritional advice is given toward the development of a long-term wellness plan to prevent future headaches, therefore promote a better quality of life.