Headaches and How They Relate to Chiropractic Care

Headaches and How They Relate to Chiropractic Care

About half of adults worldwide have experienced headaches over the past year. Of those, more than 90% have experienced primary headaches, which include tension, cluster, and migraine headaches.

Tension headaches are most commonly experienced among adults. These types of headaches can occur periodically or even daily. They are often described as a constant pain and pressure felt in the forehead or at the base of the head around the neck and tend to get worse as the day goes on. Tension headaches can be caused by a number of factors including tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, poor posture, stress, and fatigue.

Migraine headaches, most commonly occurring in women, can be described as an very intense, throbbing pain, commonly on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Pain from a migraine can be intense and last from a few hours to a few days. Although the cause of migraines is unknown, there is believed to be a genetic link. Many people describe various factors and being triggers for migraines, including certain foods, drinks, changes in sleep, stress, activities, and even changes in the weather.

Cluster headaches, although uncommon, are often described as the most painful of all the types of headaches. The headaches occur in cluster periods lasting from weeks to months, and usually occur during the same season each year. Cluster headaches are described as an extreme, burning pain usually on one side of the head. Someone experiencing a cluster headache may be described as restless, as the pain is so severe that they cannot sit still. Although extremely painful, cluster headaches usually last for only a short amount of time. Common treatment for these types of headaches include over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and prescription medications such as triptans, ergots, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. The pharmaceutical route typically can reduce the pain and frequency but rarely eliminates headaches completely.

Medication will damped or potentially eliminate the symptoms of a headache. However, they do not alter the source or cause of the headaches.

Studies done that show Chiropractic Care can help Headaches

In a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, several clinical trials indicate that spinal manipulation therapy can help treat migraine headaches. In one study of people with migraines, 22% of those who received chiropractic manipulation reported more than a 90% reduction of attacks. Also, 49% reported a significant reduction of the intensity of each migraine.

In another study, people with migraine headaches were randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation, a daily medication (Elavil), or a combination of both. Chiropractic Care through spinal manipulation worked as well as Elavil in reducing migraines without the side effects of medication. Combining therapies didn't work any better.

Studies suggest that chiropractic manipulation reduces tension and migraine headaches. The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College conducted a study involving 729 subjects, of whom 613 received chiropractic care and their outcomes ranged from good to excellent, indicating that it’s a positive and beneficial headache remedy (US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health)

In addition, researchers reviewed 9 studies that tested chiropractic for tension or migraine headaches and found that it worked as well as medications in preventing these headaches.

One of the best things about chiropractic care is that it’s a drug-free and surgery-free path to healing naturally. The chiropractor can reduce oxidative stress in the body, just like an antioxidant.

Oxidative stress is the damage that occurs when free radicals outnumber the body’s antioxidants. Oxidative stress damages all body cell components: proteins, lipids and DNA.

In addition to Chiropractic care, studies have shown that lifestyle changes such as getting more sleep, avoiding situations that trigger headaches, and relaxation techniques have also helped with headaches.

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  1. chiropractor

    I am so thankful to have been mentored by two of the top Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctors in California, Dr. Tom Forest and Dr. Truong. They specialize in treatment of chronic diseases that Medical Doctors prescribe life time medication for with no hope of a cure. Diseases such as vertigo, chronic neck, shoulder, arm, hand, back, and leg pain; chronic headaches, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, stomach problems, whiplash, and neurological disorders. I have been truly blessed by the knowledge these world class upper cervical Chiropractors have generously passed on to me.