Headaches & Migraines
Headaches and Migraines
Dealing with Headaches & Migraines
If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from headaches — some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Take pain medication and hope it goes away? There is an alternative.
Research shows that spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) – a centerpiece of chiropractic care – may be an effective treatment option for cervicogenic headaches, which are tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. Pain medications have limited effects on these types of headaches, so attention has turned to the use of non-drug options. A scientific review of research¹ published in 2020 determined that SMT could be considered an effective treatment for tension headaches because it provides “superior, small, short-term effects for pain intensity, frequency and disability when compared with other manual therapies.” The authors recommend additional studies to better understand the findings.
Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About five percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.
Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.
In addition, people today engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.
What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?
Your doctor of chiropractic may take one or more approaches to alleviate pain from a primary headache:
- Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
- Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
- Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain. They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.