Headaches: how can the chiropractor help you?
Headaches have become a very common ailment. Everyone can have an occasional headache at the end of the day, but it seems to more than 20% of the population that these pains are chronic and too frequent.
Curiously, these headaches can follow a certain pattern, and often acts such as stopping the morning coffee, or that there are changes in pressure over time can be triggers for a headache.
Most episodes of common headaches are not serious and can treat themselves. However, being aware of the characteristics of different types of headaches can help determine if these headaches are something that a visit to the chiropractor could greatly help with.
There are three main types of headaches: tension, migraine, and cluster headache. We will briefly review each of them.
Tension or cervicogenic headache
This is the most common type of headache. A typical attack of tension headache produces dull, compressive pain on both sides of the head. In tension or cervicogenic headaches, the neck is the source of the problem, and pain is often perceived in one or more areas of the head and / or face.
These episodes of pain can last from 30 minutes to even seven days. And although the cause of tension or cervical headaches is unknown, stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, and poor posture are triggers that precede episodes.
The good news is that you can help relieve pain in some cases with a hot shower, taking the amount of water that we should or a light massage on the pain areas, since it is not recommended to depend on palliative medication chronically.
Headaches: how can the chiropractor help you?
The chiropractor assesses and helps people with headaches. Current scientific evidence indicates that chiropractic care, including manual therapy, is beneficial in alleviating cervicogenic and tension headaches.
“Current scientific evidence indicates that chiropractic care, including manual therapy, is beneficial in alleviating cervicogenic and tension headaches.”
Migraines, on the other hand, are usually more severe and can be quite debilitating for those who suffer them. The pain usually centers on one side of the head, starting around the eye, temple, and extending to the back of the head. The episodes can last between 4 and 72 hours and the pain has the following characteristics:
One day in serious attacks.
Unilateral pain (on one side only).
Nausea and vomiting.
Fatigue and tiredness.
Although migraines can strike without warning, they are often triggered or aggravated by specific triggers such as loud noises, bright light or strong odors, or excessive heat. In some people, attacks are preceded by several hours of fatigue, depression, and irritability, and in nearly a quarter they experience vision with aura before the headache. This aura is felt in the form of halos, flashes, or flickering lights before the episode, although numbness or tingling in the neck and head area is also common.
“That is why it is important to identify the specific triggers in each person”
As pharmacological treatments they help alleviate the symptoms once the pain has started, but little is known about how to treat the origin of the pain with only drugs. That is why it is important to identify the specific triggers in each person and keep in mind that scientific studies have also shown that chiropractic care can help decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines without the need for medication.
Cluster headaches attack men five times more often than women. This type of headache gets its name because it comes in batches; for example, one to eight headaches a day over a period of one to three months that can recur every few years.
The pain is quite intense and always hits only one side of the head. The headache starts abruptly and lasts from 30 minutes to an hour, on average. Also, the eye on the affected side tends to become red and watery, the eyelid often falls out, and the nose drips. Most people become restless and upset during the attack, and nausea, sensitivity to light and sound are common.
The high consumption and demand for headache drugs has made increasingly stronger pain-reducing medications appear on the market, and consequently, less and less action is being taken on the causes of this pain. This is where your chiropractor can help you.
How can your chiropractor help you?
The chiropractor is an expert on the spine, muscles, and nervous system, and is specifically trained to find the underlying cause of headaches.
In the chiropractic consultation, a complete medical history and an examination are carried out to determine if the symptoms come from a dysfunction of the spine or other structures such as muscles or ligaments. In addition, other possible causes will also be ruled out and you will be referred to the appropriate medical professionals when necessary for additional testing or care.
In addition to receiving chiropractic care, part of the process is also finding out what lifestyle factors may be triggering or favoring the onset of your headaches.
“Chiropractic is the answer for millions of people who suffer on a daily basis.”
The chiropractor will explain your care options, which may include spinal manipulation or mobilization, soft tissue therapy, or other modalities. Your chiropractor will also prescribe exercises to help you correct your posture and will check that your diet and hydration level are favoring your recovery process.
Currently we already have numerous studies that have shown the benefits of chiropractic adjustments for both tension pain and migraines or cluster headaches. Up to 72% improvement has been found among the sample of people who were treated, collecting very positive results and once again approving that chiropractic helps millions of people who suffer daily.