Chiropractic Care for Headaches
Are you prone to headaches? If so, you’ve probably realized that performing normal, day to day activities is nearly impossible if you suffer from them consistently. If severe enough, like a migraine, it feels like relief is unachievable at times. Maybe you’ve tried everything to manage your headaches. But have you ever tried a more holistic approach to find relief, such as chiropractic treatment that involves spinal manipulation, exercises, massage, and stretches? We know what you’re thinking. How do headaches have anything to do with chiropractic? In actuality, it has everything to do with the spine’s alignment with the neck.
According to the American Chiropractic Association (AOC), “About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by [disease]. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches . . . The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck.” The chances of having a headache directly related to a neck problem are quite high. Still not convinced? Keep reading to find out which chiropractic techniques suit your headache.
Episodic tension headaches are the most common. They occur periodically, usually less than fifteen days per month. Over-the-counter pain medication happens to be the better course of action since spinal manipulation has not been found to help with episodic tension headaches. That’s a different story when it comes to chronic tension headaches, which occur more than fifteen days per month. A low-load craniocervical mobilization technique is used to relieve chronic tension headaches. This involves spinal manipulation but with lighter force. Force is gently put on the neck joints, which allows for smoother movement of the cervical segments. Stretching is also recommended in order to prevent chronic tension headaches from getting so bad.
Cervicogenic headaches involve a one-sided pain that begins at the back of your head then moves to the front. It is often accompanied by shoulder or arm pain. It’s believed that cervicogenic headaches come from an untreated, underlying neck problem that is triggered by a fresh injury. These headaches are less common and typically don’t get better with pain medication. For this reason, spinal manipulation should only be used for patients suffering from cervicogenic headaches. Spinal manipulation involves your chiropractor adding controlled force to specific joints in your spine. Joint mobilization is another technique in which your joints are moved passively to improve movement and reduce pain. Deep neck flexion exercises for cervicogenic headaches involve actively flexing your muscles and joints with attentive guidance from your chiropractor.
Migraines differ from headaches in the way that they can bring on dizziness and nausea. Medication and injections for relief and prevention of migraines is an option, but chiropractic treatment is a more holistic option if you don’t want to go the drug route. Neuromuscular massage involves a keen focus on the trigger points in the back, neck, shoulder, and head. A combination technique called multidisciplinary care intervention involves physical therapy exercises, stress management, dietary counseling, and relaxation techniques. This combination of care has been proven to reduce the duration, frequency, and pain associated with migraines.
Whichever type of headache affects you, we will help you get back to feeling like yourself. Contact our office today to learn how we can get you started on a treatment plan.