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Headaches are one of the most common pains experienced throughout the U.S. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 Americans are known to suffer from headaches of varying degrees of pain. Sometimes, the headaches are occasional. Some people deal with them frequently. And they can range in discomfort levels from dull and throbbing to seriously debilitating and nausea inducing. And, unfortunately, many people choose to suffer through them and try to carry on with their day. But there’s a better option: chiropractic care.
A number of studies have shown that spinal manipulation and other chiropractic treatments can be effective in relieving the pain of headaches that originate in the neck, as well as tension headaches. In fact, according to a 2014 report published in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, common chiropractic interventions have delivered improved patient outcomes in regards to migraine and cervicogenic headaches
A short-lived headache that is infrequent or feels like a one-time event isn’t much to be worried about, and it is generally best left to go away on its own. But recurring headaches are often caused by a misalignment of bones in the neck and upper back. This misalignment can cause irritation and pressure to the nerves in the neck and back, which then send pain up into the head. Nerve irritation can also cause an alteration in the blood flow to the head due to vasodilation (a dilation of the blood vessels which decreases blood pressure) and vasoconstriction (the constriction of blood vessels, which increases blood pressure).
There are a few common headache types that are treatable with chiropractic care. Tension headaches, for example, are extremely common, and they are the result of muscle tension that comes along with prolonged tension of the head, shoulders or neck. While chiropractic treatment hasn’t been shown to be helpful with episodic tension headaches, it has shown promise for those suffering from chronic tension headaches.
Migraines have shown a great response to chiropractic care. Generally characterized by severe pain and often accompanied by dizziness and nausea, these debilitating headaches tend to be recurring. The extreme pain they cause can last for hours and occasionally days. While some people experience warning signs when a migraine is approaching‚ such as mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness and more — while others get no warning at all.
Cervicogenic headaches, which often don’t improve with medication, have been shown to respond well to spinal manipulation. Believed to stem from underlying neck problems that can be triggered by an injury, these types of headaches typically start with a one-sided pain that begins in the back of the head. This pain then moves to the front, and it is often accompanied by arm pain or same-shoulder pain.
By unlocking the bones of the neck and back and restoring them to proper alignment, the nerve irritation that causes the headache is reduced, thereby reducing the effects of the headache. Instead of simply treating the symptom, i.e. the pain, a chiropractor is able to fix the root cause of the headache. When the nerve irritation has been treated, so has the headache.
A chiropractor may use a variety of treatment options to help end the pain caused by headaches. A spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment may be performed to improve spinal function and help relieve the stress on your system. He or she may also provide nutritional advice — a change of diet and the addition of B complex vitamins is often helpful. A chiropractor may also give patients advice on posture, ergonomic (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques in order to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the upper back and neck.
If you have spent too long suffering from painful, recurring headaches, it’s time to make a call to Dynamic Chiros. With our unrivaled expertise and strong focus on patient wellness, we can customize a treatment plan to help put an end to those headaches.
To get started on bettering you health, contact us today!