Can chiropractic care help with my headaches?
Most of us have had a headache at one point in our lives and most likely it was not enjoyable. Headaches are the most common neurological condition in New Zealand. Around 400,000 Kiwis are affected by headaches and migraines with 75% of them being women (Neurological Society of New Zealand). The reason women have more headaches and migraines is because female hormones can be a trigger. It is important to understand what can trigger a headache so that you can avoid that trigger in the future!What can cause or trigger my headaches?
The causes of headaches are not always well understood. Environmental stimuli (noises, weather, or lights) or behaviors (lack of sleep, hunger, or excessive exercise) can be triggers for different types of headaches and migraines. Many other causes involve physical trauma, a family history of headaches, neck strain, dehydration, caffeine, poor diet, or stress. 95% of headaches are not caused by disease but by these environmental and behavioral triggers. These headaches are commonly associated with muscle tension in the neck and back.
Today, people are more sedentary than in the past; for example, sitting at a desk job. This can cause headaches due to poor posture, joint irritation, and muscle strain in the neck and upper back. The other 5% of headaches are caused by physical problems or diseases warning the body that something is wrong. Either way figuring out what is causing your headaches is important to be able to treat them. So now we know what can trigger headaches, but are all headaches the same? No, people can have different types of headaches with different symptoms.
The common types of headaches people experience are tension, migraine, sinus, and trigeminal autonomic cephalgias (TACs) headaches. Tension headaches are the most common headaches that cause mild to moderate pain. They present as tension or pressure on both sides of the head. Migraines normally result in moderate to severe pain on one side of the head that can cause nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. Sinus headaches are a build-up of pressure in the sinuses normally from allergies or an infection. This causes a headache due to pressure or throbbing around your eyes, cheeks and forehead.
Trigeminal autonomic cephalgias headaches affect one area of the head. They can cause moderate to severe pain and can affect areas around the eyes or temples. A less common type of headache chiropractors often see are cervicogenic headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches are caused by pain or problems with the neck and often do not improve with medication. The headache pain is felt in one or more areas of the head. A common cause of this headache is strain or misalignment of the vertebrae in the neck that help support the head. This can also negatively affect the nerves, muscles, and blood supply to the head. Spinal adjustments are often recommended for these types of headaches. If your headaches are severe enough that they are affecting your daily life than it is time to talk to your doctor or chiropractor!
Our chiropractors at Balanced Spine assess, diagnose, and treat headaches and migraines. Evidence has shown that chiropractic adjustments can be effective in treating cervicogenic and tension headaches and can help reduce the strength and frequency of migraines. Research has also shown that adjustments can be an effective therapy for headaches that stem from the neck.
At Balanced Spine we suggest adjustments, minimizing stress, taking breaks, getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, and daily exercise and stretching to help manage headaches. Keeping a journal of your headaches and what you were doing at the time of your headache can also help us determine what might be causing them! All of this can be beneficial to your road to recovery! If you are one of the millions of people in the world who have headaches it might be the time to understand and confront what is causing them. Talking to one of our chiropractors at Balanced Spine is the next step forward to having a healthy, functioning body that is free from headaches!