Most of us have suffered from headaches at some stage. These can be rare, low-grade throbbing headaches to constant debilitating pain that can keep you from leaving your house.
There are many causes for headaches and it is important to first look for the cause. Some headaches are “red flags” to something more sinister and should be referred out to a specialist for follow up. Most are less serious and can be helped with a variety of treatment approaches.
What brings on headaches?
As previously stated there are many causes such as foods, sounds, lights, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, excessive exercise and blood sugar changes. These can be warning signs of other problems and we generally refer you to your GP or a specialist to have appropriate examination and studies performed.
The majority of headaches are what is called “primary headaches”. These often arise from neck muscle tension, especially with the rise in people who work in sedentary occupations. Most of us sit in a fixed position for too long both at work and at home. This can lead to increased neck muscle tension and joint irritation. These headaches are often felt in the neck, back of the skull, and around the scalp.
How does chiro help?
Treatments for headaches are varied and multifaceted. As most headaches are primary headaches, neck adjusting (spinal manipulation) is a common treatment and is either done by hand or with an adjusting instrument. It is a precise manoeuvre to provide better mobility in the neck, to reduce neck muscle tension and to restore range of motion. Patients typically notice improved ability to turn and tilt their head and decreased neck pain, headaches, soreness and stiffness.
Nutrition advice is often given depending on the patients needs. Exercises and stretches are prescribed and patients are often educated about better work and home ergonomics.
What does the
Research has shown that chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option for headaches. A report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) in 2014 found that treatments commonly used with chiropractic care improved outcomes for acute and chronic headaches that originated from neck pain. A 2011 JMPT study also found spinal manipulation improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.
What you can do at home
» Ice pack to your forehead, or neck.
» Over the counter (NSAIDS) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
» Caffeine has been shown to help for some headaches.
» Going into a quiet, dark room may help.
» Exercising regularly.
» Magnesium and Vit. B12 may help prevent some migraines
» Sleeping better
» Drinking plenty of water
» Learning what triggers your headaches and avoiding those things.