It is estimated that 90% of Americans are affected by headaches. Headaches can be debilitating and have a negative impact on your ability to enjoy recreational activities and to work, and they may even interfere with your ability to rest and sleep. Of course, over-the-counter medication can treat headaches, but this can cause its own complications and problems. Seeking alternative therapy and determined to find relief, many people seek relief for headaches through chiropractic treatment.
Primary vs. Secondary Headaches
There are many causes for headaches, and headaches themselves are classified into two categories. Primary headaches flare up because of the sensitive structures within the head, while secondary headaches are caused by sources outside of the head, such as muscle tension in the neck, the environment, diet, and other external causes. Primary headaches, which include migraines and tension headaches, are caused by the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels within the head, and by brain chemistry itself. These common types of headaches may be characterized by dull, throbbing, or stabbing pain or pressure and can be accompanied by nausea. As anyone who has ever had a migraine or a tension headache can attest, these types of primary headaches can often be debilitating. Secondary headaches may be caused by tension in the muscles, tissues, and joints in the neck, and they can also result from high blood pressure and certain infections. Headaches that result from neck tension may be exacerbated by excessive texting or computer or phone use and only get worse with sedentary behavior. Some headaches are also triggered or worsened by certain foods, dehydration, changes in noise or light, stress, lack of sleep, or even excessive exercise.
Chiropractic treatment to relieve headaches
Even if your headaches are addressed and managed by a general practitioner or a neurologist, you may find relief in complementary care, such as chiropractic care. In many cases, chiropractic care alone, as an alternative to other forms of treatment, can provide complete relief for headaches. If you have been dealing with chronic headaches and want to consult with a chiropractor to find relief, it’s helpful to know what to expect beforehand. First, your chiropractor will perform a complete physical examination and evaluate the history of your headaches, to determine whether they may be caused by an underlying issue that raises concerns and will require additional care. If necessary, your chiropractor will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist to address your specific headache causes and treatment needs. If a chiropractic adjustment is deemed an appropriate treatment for you, your chiropractor may use varying techniques and tools to provide you with relief. Chiropractors perform traditional, manual spinal adjustments, and many may also use tools, like low-force instruments, ultrasound, trigger-point therapy, or cold lasers to complement and enhance healing modalities and provide relief from headaches and other sources of pain or discomfort. Appropriate chiropractic treatment can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and may eliminate your headaches completely. If you have chronic headaches, contact a chiropractor to learn how you may mitigate potentially debilitating pain and discomfort through chiropractic treatment.