Headaches / Migraines
An estimated nine out of ten Americans suffer from headache pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Additionally, the World Health Organization states that headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Headaches are something that effects almost all of us at some point in our lives. Chiropractic care can play a crucial role in addressing the underlying cause of your chronic and occasional headaches and migraines for lasting relief.
Recurrent Headaches: Is it Normal?
Some headaches are occasional, some are frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea. And for many people who suffer from multiple headaches per week, they often come to feel that this is “normal.” Chronic headaches are anything but normal. Recurring headaches are your body’s way of telling you something needs attention internally. Discussing your headache symptoms, frequency, and severity with a chiropractor can help to identify and treat the root cause.
The most common types of headaches are known as primary headaches and are not due to an underlying disease. These headaches are usually caused by a combination of factors such as: tension in the muscles of the neck area, misalignment of the bones of the spine, and pressure on nerves or blood vessels. In some instances chemical imbalances within the body can cause them to occur. Primary headaches can also be triggered by lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, certain foods, poor sleep, poor posture, skipped meals and stress.
A more specific, and debilitating, type of headache is the migraine. These headaches are characterized by chronic, recurrent, moderate to severe pain episodes. Typically, the migraine headache affects only half of the head, is pulsating in nature, and lasts from 2 to 72 hours. They are frequently accompanied by sensitivity to light, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Migraine headache affect on average, in the United States, over 10% of the population according to the Migraine Research Foundation. This means that 31.7 million people are currently suffering from migraines. Clinical studies have shown chiropractic care to help dramatically reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
There are many ways to relieve a headache. Pain killers are usually the first resort of those suffering from a headache. These painkillers provide temporary relief, but fail to address the muscle tension and misalignments of the spine that are placing pressure on nerves and blood vessels. Chiropractors look for the underlying cause and treat it accordingly. A chiropractor will use their specialty training to find and remove the misalignments of the spine that are putting pressure on the nerves and blood vessels. Depending on the individual’s specific presentation of symptoms and results of their diagnostic exams, other therapies may be recommended. This may include medical based massage to relieve muscle tension, acupuncture, dietary changes to address chemical imbalances, and exercises to strengthen the neck and upper back.
Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments (and complimentary modalities administered in conjunction with spinal manipulations) have been shown to decrease the frequency and severity of headaches. Keep in mind that every patient is different and there may be other underlying causes that must also be addressed. If you suffer from headaches, please have a discussion with your chiropractor to see if you are a candidate for treatment.