Treating Headaches with Chiropractic Care
Treating headaches with an effective, holistic approach.
Many people consider suffering through chronic headaches to be a normal part of their lives. In a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control over 20% of women and 10% of men reported that they’d had either a migraine or other severe headache in the previous three months.
Headaches are not a “little” problem.
How many times have you heard someone say (or said yourself), “Oh, it’s just a headache?” We may tend to play it down when we have a headache, but they can be a serious problem that affects our quality of life, our work and our overall health.
According to The World Health Organization, as much as 4% of the world’s population suffers from a headache or migraines for fifteen days out of every single month.
That’s half the month, every month, spent in pain. That can have a huge impact on a person’s ability to enjoy their life, take care of their family, and make a living.
The Global Burden of Disease Report found that migraine headaches alone were responsible for 1.3% of the total years spent on disability. Additionally, thousands of sick days are used each year due to non-migraine headaches.
The different types of headaches and their causes.
Many people suffering from chronic headaches are dealing with migraine headaches. Migraines usually begin during puberty, become most frequent between the ages of 35-45 and usually become a lifelong problem.
They’re caused by inflammation of the nerves and blood vessels in the head and are generally very severe and often debilitating.
Nausea often accompanies a migraine headache, though that’s most common in children and teens.
Symptoms of migraines include:
- Often felt on just one side
- Pain seems to come in waves
- Unable to handle movement
- Hypersensitive to sound and light
Tension headaches are the most common type of severe headache. Causes of tension headaches include:
- Tension in the neck muscles
- Poor alignment of the vertebrae in the neck
Depending on the severity of the problem, tension headaches can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Many people describe the pain of a tension headache as feeling like their head is in a vice or has a tight rubber band wrapped around it.
Cluster headaches aren’t very common, but they are one of the most debilitating types of headache. Unlike migraine and tension headaches, cluster headaches affect men far more frequently than they do women and most people don’t start having problems with cluster headaches until they’re in their twenties. Cluster headaches are generally short but occur frequently and the pain is often centered around the eyes. During a cluster period:
- Headaches usually occur every day, sometimes several times a day.
- A single attack can last from fifteen minutes to three hours.
- The attacks often occur at the same time each day.
- Most attacks occur at night, usually one to two hours after you go to bed.
Why chiropractic treatment may be the best choice for headaches.
As common as headaches are in this country and as disruptive as they can be to patients’ lives, headaches are surprisingly undertreated in America. In a recent study, only half of migraine sufferers had seen a doctor for treatment in the last year and only two-thirds of them had gotten a correct diagnosis. One of the reasons for misdiagnosis may be that headaches are barely covered in during a medical school education.
However, headaches are one of the most common problems treated by chiropractors. Because they see so many patients with all types of headaches in their practices, chiropractors are often better able to correctly diagnose and then effectively treat chronic headaches.
How chiropractic treatment can help relieve your headaches.
There are several ways that we approach treating chronic headaches and much depends on the type of headache you have. Several recent studies have shown spinal adjustment to be effective in reducing the pain and frequency of migraine headaches. Nutritional counseling can often help with identifying and avoiding foods that trigger migraines.
Adjustment, massage, exercise, and relaxation can be very effective in treating tension headaches. Cluster headaches are more difficult to treat and research is ongoing, but lifestyle modifications are often helpful in reducing their frequency.
We’ve been helping people with headaches in Twin Falls and the surrounding communities for nearly twenty years and we welcome you to call to schedule a consultation so that we can determine how best to relieve your pain and get back to living a fuller and more active life.