How Does Chiropractic Work For Headaches?
Headaches are one of the most common complaints that we see at our office. Although there are many causes of headaches we have found that many different types of headaches originate from mechanical problems in the neck. Some headaches such as migraine and cluster headaches are related to vascular problems. These often include nausea and/or vomiting and can be quite disabling and require rest in a dark, quiet place sometimes for a half or a whole day. Other headaches can be categorized as "tension" headaches. These usually result from tightness in the muscles in the neck and upper back caused from stress, work, lack of sleep, sinusitis, trauma such as whiplash, and others. Pain can be felt in the upper neck or the back of the head as well as in the frontal, sinus region, top or sides of the head. It can vary from a throbbing pain to an ache to just a constant pain.
What most people don’t realize is that mechanical dysfunction of the vertebrae of the neck will cause increased muscle tension as well as irritate the delicate nerves that control blood flow into the head. Improving the movement or alignment of the bones in the neck can relieve the pressure and irritation that results in headaches. How do we get misalignments or dysfunction in the joints of the neck? This can be due to trauma such as falls or car accidents. Repetitive stress such as hours of work on a computer, poor posture or stress can also take a toll over time. In many patients it is a combination of activities that took place often years before which has led to chronic and recurring headaches. The examination evaluates these issues as well as attempts to rule out other more serious causes, which can occur but are more rare.
A thorough evaluation will be performed so headache patients can be properly managed. Treatment approaches include: adjustments, soft tissue therapy (trigger point stimulation, myofascial work), posture correction exercises and other exercises, education about job modifications, co-management with other health care providers, if medication or injection therapy is needed.