Chances are, you have experienced at least one headache in your lifetime, and most likely you have had several over the years. If you have had a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans 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? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? Did you know that there is a better alternative that is highly effective at relieving headache pain that doesn’t involve medication?
Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – is an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.
Researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, released a report that proved spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics featured a study that found spinal manipulative therapy as an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
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.
The majority, 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.
The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. Today, Americans 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 You Do?
The American Chiropractic Association suggests the following:
• If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
• Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
• Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporoman-dibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
• Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
How can Chiropractic Care Help?
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.
A doctor of chiropractic may do one or more of the following if you suffer 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 to relieve the recurring joint irritation
and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
If you suffer from recurring headaches and you have not been able to get relief from other treatments, it may be time to call the chiropractor. Call Pagano Chiropractic at (239) 597-4355 to learn more about the different techniques chiropractors can use to eliminate your headaches for good.
5440 Park Central Ct. #2
Naples, Florida 34109