During a given year, 90% of people suffer from headaches. It is estimated that women are three times more prone than men to suffer from migraines. Migraines appear to be experienced by 12% to 18% of the population.
Many people aren’t aware that headaches are actually commonly treated by a Chiropractor. The causes vary a great deal but can include inflammation of the muscles or spinal cord, nerve compression or irritated joints in the neck. Many headaches stem from a muscular or spinal component, which is well within the realm of Chiropractor treatment.
If your general practitioner has examined you and has been unable to determine a specific cause of your headaches, it may be helpful to visit a Chiropractor for further examination.
Poor posture, particularly for long periods of time spent at a computer or similar workstation can lead to muscle inflammation and contraction and tensing of the muscles around the neck and back areas. In turn, this can lead to tension headaches. Pain occurs around the head and neck, often increasing as poor posture and working habits continue. Chiropractors can address the pain through a range of treatments after conducting a history and physical examination. The goals will be to treat the problem while suggesting ways to improve posture and working conditions.
Nerve Compression and Irritated Joints
Joints in the spine contain many nerve fibres. Any kind of injury or strain may potentially damage the nerves, resulting in extreme pain and headaches. The muscles become stiff and this affects the joints in the spine, leading to poor alignment. The surrounding ligaments can also become strained and injured, which further increases headache pain. A Chiropractor can, however, successfully treat headaches due to nerve compression, which will also ease other pain associated with the injury.
A cervicogenic headache is caused by the cervical spine and can occur from an absence of mobility in the upper cervical area. The term is used to refer to headaches where the primary causative agent is the spine. Chiropractic care is thought to be very helpful for this type of headache because it can correct the source directly. It is also suggested as a helpful treatment for other types of headaches such as common tension ones, because they may share the same cervical element. Tension headaches in particular can possibly benefit from spinal manipulation, as this can relax and stretch tense neck muscles and joints.
Migraines are a type of headache which may also benefit from Chiropractic care. Your Chiropractor can discuss with you whether he or she is able to treat your migraines.
Post-traumatic headaches may occur from an injury such as whiplash. Chiropractors can work to address injury to the neck and can also help to prevent further headache pain from recurring injuries.
Chiropractic treatment of tension headaches will involve an in-depth look at your lifestyle and any postural, work or related trends that may be triggering headaches. Although pain relievers can temporarily reduce the pain, a Chiropractor will focus on the root cause of the headaches and can successfully relieve headaches through:
- Determination of the nerves, muscles and joints contributing to the headaches.
- Appropriate adjustments to the neck and upper back.
- Tailored advice and tips for reducing stress in your life.
- Supportive information regarding exercise and healthy posture.
Chiropractors sometimes recommend that care begins before there is a problem, which can be helpful as part of your preventative health management. If you are already suffering from headaches, then it is even more important to investigate whether there is a spinal component to your pain.
What Will a Chiropractor Do?
A Chiropractor will perform various adjustments and movements, usually with his or her hands. The adjustments are meant to correct identified problems and allow you to regain movement and reduce headaches and other associated pain. Usually a Chiropractor will also initially conduct an extensive background history as well as a thorough examination and possibly even x-rays. He or she will then usually provide a diagnosis and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. A Chiropractor is not a replacement for your general medical doctor; rather, a Chiropractor should be viewed as a complement to your main healthcare provider.
For some people, regular Chiropractic care may be helpful and effectiveness will depend on your individual symptoms and headache causes. Be sure to seek out a registered Chiropractor and don’t be afraid to check for credentials as well as patient referrals. Some people find that they do experience immediate headache relief while others will require ongoing treatment for several years. Sometimes when a malformation in the spine is undetected for a long time, treatment can be more complicated and often requires patience. Chiropractic care is considered by many to be an alternative treatment and it does not involve medication. It is another option that may help you in your quest for a headache free day.