What are headaches?
Headaches are the body’s warning sign that the nerves and blood vessels in the neck are irritated. With more hours spent in an upright, fixed position in front of a TV or computer or looking down to read or text, comes increased joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, back, etc which then causes the head to ache. Headaches can cause nausea and debilitating pain that affects productivity and every day life. It is important to understand the type of headache you may be experiencing, the triggers and ways to alleviate pain until you are able to schedule a chiropractic appointment.
Types of Headaches
Primary Headaches are headaches associated with muscle tension in the neck and can be categorized as seen below. These headaches make up 90% of headache cases.
- The most common headache affecting more than 75% of those with headache pain is the Tension Headache. These headaches are caused by muscular strains in the head and neck area, eye strain (poor vision) and/or emotional stress. Characterized by dull, steady and aching pain on both sides of the head, they are often described as a dull ache behind the eyes or band around the head that can last from 30 minutes to several days or months.
- Most common in men, Cluster Headaches are known as the cousin to the migraine. Although typically short, these headaches can cause excruciating pain that can last from 15 minutes to three hours over a series of several days. They are likely related to the dilation of the blood vessels increasing localized pressure in the brain, and tend to occur at night.
- Twenty-five million people in the United States experience Migraines characterized by intense pulsing in the head, nausea, light and noise sensitivity that is gradual in onset. Caused by a constriction of blood vessels in the brain, many people find migraines often lead to visual symptoms or an “aura” described as flashing lights or dream-like appearance.
Secondary Headaches are headaches that are symptoms of an underlying medical condition or injury. The worry is not the headache, but rather the root cause that has to be diagnosed and addressed. Secondary Headaches make up 10% of total headache cases. Some possible causes are:
- Vascular- Arthritis, stroke, hemorrhage
- Infections -Sinusitis, dental and ear infections
- Tumor- Benign intracranial hypertension
- Endocrine conditions- Hypoglycemia, hypercapnia, etc.
- Obstetric- Pre-eclampsia
Although the greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck, triggers of headaches can be anything from foods, noises, lights, and stress to excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, menstrual periods, and insomnia. Migraines for example are often triggered by lack of sleep, stress, flickering lights, strong odors, changing weather patterns and food high in an amino acid, tyramine.
Before you are able to book a chiropractic appointment, we encourage you to recognize what might trigger your headaches, so you can avoid these triggers when possible. To ease your headache until your chiropractic appointment, be sure to:
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Eat Nutritional Meals
- Stretch and Take a Break from Fixed Positions
- Try Low-Impact Exercise
- Apply an Ice Pack to Numb and Alleviate Pain
- Apply Heat to Shoulder and/or Neck to Relax Muscles
- Avoid Bright Lights and Noise
- Rest in a Quiet Atmosphere with a Pillow to Support the Neck
Headaches & Migraines: A Chiropractic Approach
Whenever your nervous system and spine are healthy and functioning properly, your body is better able to manage pain. Chiropractic care provides an alternative approach to help with migraines and headaches outside the typical over-the-counter medications one might be familiar with. Adjustments help restore nervous system communication with proper alignment, improve spinal function, alleviate stress and helps patients manage and relieve pain caused by migraines and tension headaches. Our staff will also provide advice on posture and relaxation techniques to relieve tension while you are at home or working to pair with our care.
Some benefits of chiropractic adjustments can provide patients include reduced pain and discomfort, decreased inflammation, relief from stress and tension disorders, and improved physical function and performance.
Schedule An Appointment
If you are suffering from frequent headaches or migraines, consider chiropractic care. Knowing every individual’s case is different, Rollette Chiropractic Center offers a custom plan of offers a custom plan for your individual needs after a thorough consultation and evaluation. Schedule an appointment today and be on a journey of relief from headache pain.