Some estimates suggest 25% of the population has a headache right now!! A comprehensive U.S. study reported that 10 million Americans suffer from moderate to severe disability from various forms of headaches.
Headaches can be triggered by physical or emotional stress, toxic fumes, certain foods, preservatives, alcohol, bright light, trauma, hormonal changes, too much or too little sleep, allergies, or blood pressure to name a few causes. Another frequently overlooked cause of headaches is misaligned vertebrae in the neck and upper back. When vertebrae lose their normal position and motion, delicate nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected.
A recurring headache is a sign that something is wrong. While pain-relievers like aspirin may temporarily ease discomfort, they also mask the symptoms. They do nothing to correct the source of the problem.
What Type of Headache Do I Have?
Tension headaches are the most common type in the United States and may affect as much as 95% of the population at one time or another.
Tension headache sufferers report dull, steady pain on one or both sides of the head and often a feeling of vice-like tightness. They begin with physical or mental stress that causes contractions of muscles in the neck, back and head.
Triggers of tension headaches included emotional stress from a job, home, or relationship can cause muscle tension. Sitting for long periods hunched over a desk or computer, gripping a telephone between the shoulder and ear, driving in heavy traffic or bad weather, adjusting to new lenses in glasses. Physical stress from pain can cause chronic muscle contractions leading to tension headaches.
Vascular Headaches have the feeling of intense throbbing and stabbing and occur when blood vessels supplying the scalp and brain rapidly dilate. It includes migraines and cluster headaches. They can cause debilitation, feeling of nausea and unable to bear noise and light. Cluster headaches can last from 10 minutes to three hours up to eight times a day.
Cervicogenic Headaches are caused by problems with the cervical (neck) spine and are felt in the back, sides and front of the head or the front of the face and neck. When bones of the spine lose their normal position or motion, sensitive nerves and blood vessels to the head can be affected. When spinal nerves and related tissues are stretched or irritated, they can produce throbbing headaches. Changes in the normal curvature of the neck caused by trauma, degenerative arthritis, or poor posture can cause chronic irritation to vertebral nerve roots.
When Should You Seek Help For Your Headache?
When headaches are frequent or recur over time, they can make life miserable. Pain is how the body tells us that something is wrong. It's not wise to ignore the signals and treat just the symptoms with pain relievers.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Your Headache
Dr. Day is highly experienced in finding the causes behind headaches as well as relieving the immediate pain. He can help determine whether a physical or structural problem may be involved and, if so, correct it. Usually, a series of spinal adjustments to return misaligned vertebrae to a more normal position and motion can relieve pressure on irritated nerve roots. We can also help in identifying headache triggers, suggest relaxation exercises, therapy and lifestyle modifications to help avoid future headaches.
A Safer Approach
Medical management of headaches usually involves medications which are never risk-free. Side effects and even dependencies are common. Chiropractic care offers a safe, natural alternative to relieving and preventing headaches.
Every patient responds differently. Benefit from the drug-free results millions have enjoyed by consulting a chiropractic doctor.
Berman, T., D.C., Peterson, D., D. C., Chiropractic Technique, p. 732; Churchill Livingston, 1993
Boline, R., PhD., Chiropractic Treatment and Pharmaceutical Treatment for Muscle Contraction Headaches, Proceeding 1991 International Conference for Spinal Manipulation, 303-304; Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, Arlington, VA, 1991.
Gatterman, M., D.C., Foundation of Chiropractic Subluxation, 315-316; Mosby, 1995.
Lu, J., M.D., Ebraheim, S., M.D., Spine, 23(6): 315-316; Mosby, 1995.
Maigne, R., M.D., Diagnosis and Treatment of Pain of Vertebral Origin, 346-358, Williams and Wilkins, 1995.