Headaches are a common complaint and one that can be tricky to diagnose. That’s because there are many different types of headaches, with many different triggers. Some common causes of headaches include lack of sleep, alcohol, skipped meals, poor posture, and excessive stress.
Paying attention to what sets off your headaches can help your chiropractor diagnose and treat them appropriately. Other than lifestyle factors, there are several potential causes of headaches, including referred pain from the soft tissues or bony structures in the neck.
Your chiropractor may be able to help when it comes to relieving your headaches – and without the medications so often prescribed and their long list of unwanted side effects. When you see your chiropractor about your headaches, they will evaluate to gain an understanding of your symptoms, what triggers them, and the best way to treat them. They can also provide peace of mind by ruling out underlying severe conditions or refer you to another specialist if necessary, for additional testing or treatment.
Chiropractic treatments focus on proper body alignment, particularly the spine, to relieve pain, increase function and mobility, and enhance the body’s natural healing abilities. People seek chiropractic care for numerous reasons, including reducing neck or back pain, maximizing sports performance, boosting the immune system, and alleviating the symptoms of allergies or asthma. Now, headaches are on the list of conditions chiropractic care can treat.
Many patients who have tried chiropractic treatments for their headaches report an improvement in the frequency, intensity, and duration of their headaches, as well as improved ability to complete their regular daily activities consistently. Here are four essential ways chiropractic care can help with chronic headaches:
- Through chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulations. These treatments can improve spinal function and alleviate excess stress on your system that can lead to headaches. Chiropractic care is often useful because manipulating the body can affect blood vessel function and provide relief. Spinal manipulation can be particularly effective for cervicogenic headaches, or migraines that are caused by problems related to the cervical spine.
- Through nutritional advice. Many people don’t realize that chiropractors can also offer nutritional information to help their patients recover. Changes in your diet including an increase in B vitamins may provide you with some headache relief.
- Through physical or massage therapy. Other treatments that can help with headaches are physical therapy and massage therapy. In physical therapy, your practitioner will guide you to actively move your joints and muscles in specific ways to help stretch the deep neck flexor muscles, providing more support for the neck and relieving certain types of headaches. Neuromuscular massage therapy is a useful type of massage that can help with back pain as well as headaches – particularly migraines. Neuromuscular massage involves alternating levels of concentrated pressure in specific areas to address muscle spasms.
- Through stress management. Chiropractic treatments can be very relaxing. Many people leave feeling much less tense, both from the adjustments themselves and the satisfaction of being proactive about their healthcare. Since stress is a common cause of headaches, this kind of relaxation can be very effective at relieving them. Do keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for you to adjust to your treatments.
- Through low-load craniocervical mobilization. Low-load craniocervical mobilization involves a gentler force than traditional spinal manipulation and can be useful for treating tension headaches. Force is applied to the neck joints to allow for the rhythmic movement of the cervical segments. This therapy also typically involves some stretching. Tension headaches are widespread; although they do not tend to respond well to regular spinal manipulation, they have been found to improve with low-load craniocervical manipulation.
Many people living with regular headaches have tried everything they can think of, often without success. Chiropractors commonly see patients who are frustrated with drugs and other treatments that haven’t worked; in fact, headaches are one of the most common reasons that people book chiropractic appointments. There has been a good deal of research on the effects of chiropractic care on headaches with favorable results; many patients report a reduction in the frequency, duration, and intensity of their headaches after just a few weeks of treatment. Less pain means a higher quality of life, so it’s not hard to see why it makes sense to contact a chiropractor about your headaches. Contact Redefine Healthcare today to book a consultation.
Along with chiropractic treatments, Redefine Healthcare says that there are some things patients can do at home to help ease headaches. These steps include managing stress, taking breaks from looking down at phones or from long drives, trying over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, scheduling drug-free treatments such as massage or acupuncture, and visiting a dentist to find out whether clenching the teeth might be contributing to their pain. Patients can also experiment with different ways of sleeping, such as on the side, with a supportive body pillow, and the neck in a neutral position.