Being able to think clearly and calmly allows us to make proper decisions, process our emotions, and carry on with our day-to-day lives, but sometimes this clarity can be disrupted when dealing with strong headaches. If you suffer from headaches, you aren’t alone. In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Some people experience them occasionally and others frequently, and the severity can range anywhere from dull, throbbing, to debilitating. Sometimes medication can work to relieve headaches, and some tend to experience relief after taking a rest in a dark room away from light and sound. However, we want you to know that there is a better alternative for headaches through chiropractic care.
Different types of headaches
There are three main types of headaches that chiropractors see and treat regularly: tension headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic headaches.
- Tension headaches are very common and are presented as band-like tension around the head and are thought to be the result of muscle tension.
- Migraine headaches are characterized by headaches with light and sound sensitivity, dizziness, and nausea and are often present on one side of the head. Some people take medication for the prevention of headaches or to treat the symptoms during an episode.
- Cervicogenic headaches are thought to stem from an underlying neck problem and do not respond well to medication. They often start from one side of the head and move towards the front and may affect the same-side shoulder or arm.
Sometimes headaches are episodic meaning they are infrequent and often tied to stressful events that resolve with medication or once the stress is over. Other headaches are chronic and may reoccur daily after simple activities such as right when you wake up or after a long day.
The triggers or causes of headaches may include certain foods, health problems, environmental factors such as loud noises, bright lights, certain smells, or stress. Additionally, behavioral stressors such as sitting in a fixed position too long, insomnia, or excessive exercising can trigger headaches.
What can you do?
We understand that you may not always be able to come in for a consultation or adjustment. There are a few things you can do from home to prevent headaches or relieve your symptoms from home:
- If you spend most of your time in a fixed position such as sitting at a desk, looking at a computer, driving for long periods, playing video games, or looking down at your phone, remember to take a break and stretch every hour. Stretch your head, neck, shoulders, and back through various range of motion exercises to relax muscles and reduce strain.
- Engage in low impact exercises such as walking or light aerobics
- Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated as dehydration can lead to headaches
- Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth as this can create tension in the jaw which can lead to headaches
- Practice relaxation techniques and have your partner or a friend give you a massage as these can also help to reduce stress and tension within the body and mind
What can chiropractors do?
As chiropractors, we have undergone extensive training to help our patients in many ways beyond treating back pain. They know how tension within the spine can create problems in other parts of the body and can relieve your tension and stress in the body which can alleviate symptoms from your headache.
Depending on the type of headache you experience, your treatment may vary. Cervicogenic headaches are often treated by spinal or joint manipulation and deep neck exercises. Migraines may need neuromuscular massages that focus on trigger points within the body to ease the symptoms, while tension headaches can commonly be treated with stretching and gentle forces that allow proper movement of the neck and spine.
Chiropractic care is a great option to relieve pain caused by headaches in a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive way compared to prescription medication or over-the-counter medicine. Chiropractic treatment can reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort while improving physical function and performance so you can receive relief from your headache and get back to your day-to-day life. For more information on how chiropractors can help you with your headaches, contact us today.