Headaches affect almost half of the population at some point in their lives. They can be caused by a lot of different things including mechanical issues in your neck, metabolic issues with your diet, or trauma. Have you ever had a headache that was so bad that you had to close the blinds and lay down in a dark room completely still? How about headaches that cause visual disturbances like dancing lights (aka an “aura”) or other painful phenomena? Sometimes we develop a stress produced headache that gets worse as the day goes on. To quote a recent new patient, “headaches are the worst!”. That said, there are conservative options for dealing with most headaches that can produce fantastic results!
We see patients in our office every day that are suffering from the debilitating effects of headaches. One young woman suffered from weekly headaches for almost a decade and could not seem to get over them no matter what she tried. A careful evaluation of her problem discovered that she was getting tension headaches caused by poor posture while studying. This poor posture led to muscle weakness, spinal stiffness, and long-term posture changes. Those chronic stressors led to frequent headaches that could occur at almost any time and drained a lot of the fun out of her life in addition to interfering with her school work. It did not take long to reintroduce motion to her stiffened spine, rehabilitate the surrounding musculature, and train her on proper sitting posture. Within a few visits her headaches ceased to occur on a weekly basis and now she hardly has them at all! For almost 10 years she suffered from frequent headaches. If only, she had a proper evaluation and treatment plan to take care of this common problem sooner.
There are many types of headaches and also many different causes of headaches. Some of the most common types of headache include:
- Tension headaches – caused by stress, poor posture, and muscular tension.
- Migraines – intense, deep headaches with or without visual disturbances that can be caused by a variety of things.
- Cluster headaches – intense and piercing headaches that occur several times in a cluster throughout the day.
- Allergy/Sinus headaches – caused by seasonal allergies, sinus infections, and/or other allergic reactions.
- Hormone headaches – caused by hormone imbalances or changes such as hypothyroidism, menstruation, or menopause.
- Caffeine headaches – caused by lack of (in the case of withdrawal) or too much caffeine.
- Exertion headaches – caused by exercise.
- High blood pressure headaches – high blood pressure (aka hypertension) can cause headaches.
- Post-traumatic headaches – headaches following a traumatic event such as a car accident or sports injury are extremely common.
- Rebound headaches – headaches caused by medication especially over the counter pain relievers.
There are many different types of headaches and therefore the ideal treatments will vary based on which actual diagnosis you have. The first and most crucial step is correctly diagnosing the type of headache. Your chiropractor will perform a thorough history and examination to determine the root cause of your headache. Diet review, history of presentation, and physical examination are all part of the process. Once that process is complete, a formal diagnosis will be determined and treatment options will be presents. Depending on the type and severity of your headache, you will be given recommendations for treatment which may include:
- Soft tissue work
- Dietary recommendations
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Exercise rehabilitation
- Posture training
- Referral for medical co-treatment which may include medication or injections
A short period of conservative physical treatment combined with long-term habit changing and some light supplementation is often enough to tackle even the worst of recurring headaches. There is no magic formula for treating all headaches but a good amount of underlying research suggests manual therapy treatments are effective for treating many different forms of a headache. The chiropractors at Community Chiropractic Clinic, LLC are trained to listen to your headache concerns and help you deal with them in a safe and conservative fashion. We have helped thousands of people who have had their lived negatively affected by various types of headaches. If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of headaches, consider calling on us to help you with them. Life is too short to live another day with a headache!