What you need to know about the 5 natural ways chiropractic can help with headaches. Almost everyone experiences headaches at one point in life. However, in some cases, the headaches become debilitating and significantly affects one’s life. Statistically, over 90% of the population gets to experience a headache at least once. The effect that headaches have on people’s finances, work and relationships cannot be understated.
Sadly, most people dismiss headaches as minor ailments that can heal without any care, or chose to treat them by taking some over-the-counter painkillers. It is important to note that painkillers may help treat pain that comes with headaches, but they are not a good option or solution for severe headaches. Some painkillers, taken long term, may have severe side effects, such as kidney damage. Fortunately, there is a safe and effective solution for the management of headaches – chiropractic treatment.
Before we delve into how chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches works, let’s take a look at the brass tacks around migraine headaches.
What causes migraines headache?
Several factors can cause headaches. Some of the causes are physical, while others are emotional. This often makes it difficult to pin the cause of a headache on a single factor. Nonetheless, some of the common causes of headaches include:
- Teeth problems
- Hormonal changes
- Weather changes
- Medications can also lead to headaches.
These are only some of the causes. There are many others that you will realize in your chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches. The causes also create the different types of headaches that an individual can experience.
What types of headaches does Chiropractic care help to treat?
It is important to note that the type of headache you are suffering from determines the treatment you will receive when seeking treatment. Headaches can be classified into two broad categories; primary headaches and secondary headaches.
1. Primary headaches
A headache can be classified as primary if the pain is not triggered by any other underlying condition in the body. The primary headaches include:
- Tension headaches: this type of headache is common to people dealing with stress. Persons experiencing tension headaches often get increased sensitivity on the neck or scalp. In most cases, you may not require chiropractic care for tension headaches; however, if the pain becomes persistent, that will call for chiropractic attention.
- Cluster headaches: characterized by severe pain on one side of the head, or behind an eye. At times, cluster headaches can be accompanied by swelling, redness, or nasal congestion. There’s no known cause.
- Migraine: considered the worst form of head pain. Migraines are intense and hurt for a long time. You may have a migraine for up to three days before it alleviates. Migraines can be genetically inherited or caused by life-events that cause PTSD.
2. Secondary Headaches
Secondary headaches occur as a result of another condition in the body. Secondary headaches can be treated by managing the primary cause.
- Sinus Headaches: headaches caused by an allergic reaction to something. Sinus headaches can be as severe as migraines and are often confused.
- Hypertension headaches: associated with people suffering from high blood pressure. A hypertension headache is quite severe. It can cause an effect on vision, chest pains, and throbs on both sides of your head.
- Exertion headaches: often occurs after one has been involved in an intense activity like sprinting. It rarely lasts long, but if they become common even when you’ve not engaged in a tiresome activity, you should consult a chiropractor.
- Hormone headaches: headaches that occur when there is a hormonal fluctuation in the body e.g., during menstruation.
- Post-traumatic headaches: this type of headache often occurs after you experience any form of head injury. It can last for more than six months, making it necessary to get chiropractic help to help with pain management.
Common Myths You Will Come Across On Headaches
I. You can treat all headaches by taking over-the-counter drugs.
OTC drugs only numb the pain you feel and rarely treat the underlying condition if you are experiencing a secondary headache.
Risk of Treating Migraines with Medication
Many people that suffer from migraine headaches often turn to medication to ease the pain. The problem is, these medications often have adverse side effects. If you choose to manage your pain through medications, you are putting yourself at risk. Below is a list of medications and the risks they bring to the body.
- Acetaminophen: causes acute liver failure
- Triptan medications: this is a collection of medications used in treating migraines. Their side effects include chest pains, dizziness, and often other headaches not related to the migraine.
- Ibuprofen and aspirin: These two are the most abused drugs for the management of headaches. When taken in large quantities, they can hurt the stomach.
II. Using headache medication has no harm
The truth of the matter is that headaches can cause more damage compared to the pain you are trying to numb. Some prescriptions like opioids can even bring about drug addiction.
III. Headaches indicate that there is a problem in your head
As we’ve noted above, not all headaches originate from the head. Some are a result of other conditions in the body. You may experience a headache being caused by pain on your leg.
How does chiropractic treatment help migraines?
Chiropractic care has proven to be an effective method for managing pain resulting from migraine headaches. The benefit of chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches is that it offers a safe and non-invasive treatment to patients suffering from migraines. Additionally, it is not addictive, unlike the prescription medications issued for pain management.
Since most headaches are connected with injuries and pain in muscles and other organs in the body, chiropractic adjustments can be a great relief for patients suffering from migraines. The chiropractic adjustments help align the spine and joints in the body, resulting in reduced inflammation, pressure, and consequently, fewer headaches. Some of the natural ways through which a chiropractor can help with your headaches include:
1. Manual therapies
This is a therapy where direct and specific force is applied to joints, muscles, and tissues to increase mobility. If you are experiencing pain in your neck region, accompanied by a throbbing headache, spinal manipulation may be the best solution. Expert chiropractors know where to apply the force in the cervical spine, and how to carefully handle the otherwise delicate nerves of the neck while managing pain. Manual therapies in chiropractic care are quite efficient because most headaches are caused by spinal misalignments.
The frequency of this form of treatment depends on how severe your headache is and the chiropractor’s diagnosis. There are cases where you can find relief in one chiropractic session while in others, you may have to attend three or more sessions.
2. Soft tissue therapy
Soft tissue therapy is a form of therapy where soft tissues in the body are released from extreme muscle spasms using mechanical devices or with the hand. It is offered by chiropractors to help relieve inflammation, reduce spasm, and improve circulation in the body. Soft-tissue therapy can also be used to correct abnormal postures. How soft-tissue therapy is administered is geared towards alleviating pain and treat affected areas in the body, which may be bringing about your headaches.
Chiropractors are among the few licensed individuals who can offer soft-tissue therapy to treat various conditions in the body.
3. Physical Therapy Modalities
Other modalities offered by chiropractors that help with the treatment of headaches include:
· Muscle Stimulation
Muscle stimulation occurs when electric pulses are directed to specific areas of the body through electrodes placed on the skin. It is important to note that there are several types of muscle stimulation that differ based on what they are treating. Some can be used to reduce inflammation and reduce spasm, while others help with muscle contraction.
Ultrasonography is also used by chiropractors to treat joints and tissues. The sound waves generated by the ultrasound help massage damaged areas to reduce swelling, alleviate pain, reduce stiffness, and increase blood flow. It is effective and can be used on almost all types of headaches except those that are primary.
· Ice and heat therapy
For ages, ice has been used to treat pain, the same as heat. While ice is majorly used to prevent swelling, chiropractors use heat therapy to help relax muscles in the body and increase blood circulation to provide relief to patients experiencing migraine headaches.
4. Chiropractic Rehabilitation
Chiropractic rehabilitation combines various techniques, including exercise, to maintain your body’s condition or prevent injuries. As noted earlier, most people suffering from headaches often have underlying conditions that need to be treated. Chiropractic rehabilitation ensures that the joints, ligaments, and muscles are in good condition so that they do not cause headaches. Although chiropractic care can be efficient in providing relief, it may take time before the underlying problem is fully resolved.
5. Lifestyle changes and education
Another great way a chiropractor can help with the treatment of your headache is by educating you on lifestyle changes that can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches you experience or ward off the headaches completely.
Lifestyle changes such as incorrect posture can affect your joints and muscles’ health, which brings problems that lead to headaches. If posture problems cause your headaches, then you need chiropractic attention. Your chiropractor will help correct the condition and provide tips on how you can improve your posture and strength.
If you are not aware, diet can also lead to severe headaches, and unless you are diagnosed by a professional, you may not realize it. As a result, you may overuse painkillers to numb the pain while a change in diet could have helped.
When your body is getting an excess or less of something like caffeine, headaches are a common symptom. If this is your case, your chiropractor will advise you on the correct diet change to follow or provide you with recommendations and supplements to help you out.
While you may expect to find all the relief you need with your headaches by visiting a chiropractor’s office, this may not happen. In some situations, especially with secondary headaches, your chiropractor may refer you to other medical experts for further aid that will work together with chiropractic care to manage your headaches.
What should you expect from a chiropractic treatment plan for your headaches?
During your first visit, your chiropractor will engage you in some questions to establish a background of your health condition. This is also accompanied by a physical exam with particular attention to those areas where you are feeling pain. If the pain that’s causing your headache is not specific, your chiropractor may also recommend a set of X-rays.
During the chiropractic therapies, your chiropractor will place you in specific positions to treat the affected area. Treatment is done by hand or special mechanical equipment to apply controlled force on the joint, tissue, or muscle. However, how you will receive your treatment solely relies on where treatment is required, and the technique used by your chiropractor.
Once the chiropractic care is done, you may experience some minor side effects like drowsiness.
It is important to note that not all conditions can be treated with chiropractic care. If, after the chiropractic therapy, you still experience the headaches, you may want to consider a different treatment option that could potentially work better.
What should you bring to your chiropractic appointment for headache management?
It is important to note that the success of your migraine headache treatment also requires you to play a part. It is advisable to bring along documents showing your medical history, especially those relating to your migraines. Through these documents, your chiropractor will determine the best techniques to employ in treating your migraine headaches.
Get your chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches today
It is important to note that headaches can be very debilitating. They can become uncomfortable, make it hard to do the activities you are supposed to do and interrupt your life in several other ways. There is no need to suffer in silence. If you are experiencing severe headaches, kindly contact your chiropractor. The chiropractor will help to identify the cause of headaches and also provide the appropriate treatment or advice. And within a few months, you will notice the significant progress you will have made from the chiropractic treatment for migraine headaches, you undertook.