Chiropractor for Headaches – How it can help ease your pain
Headaches are a very common reason why people seek out chiropractic care and the good news is that seeing a chiropractor for headaches can be a very effective way to help headache sufferers.
Headaches affect a large percentage of the Australian population. It is estimated around 4.9 million Australians experience migraines  and up to 7 million suffer with tension type headaches. The World Health Organisation estimates that the around 50% of the worlds adult population suffer with a headache disorder (must have one headache within the last ear). They also report that ½-3/4 of the adult population aged between 18-65 years have had at least one headache in the past year and among that group 30% or more have had a migraine.
These reports are quite astounding as headaches (as common as they are) are not normal. As a Chiropractor in Diamond Creek and helping people from all around the local area I can tell you that I see headaches all the time and see everyday how effective a chiropractor for headaches can be.
Different Types of Headaches
It is important to note that there are several types of headaches and depending on which one it is will determine how successfull a Chiropractor for headaches will be.
The most common type of headaches are cervicogenc headaches, tension type headaches and migraines. Other types include cluster headaches, sinus headaches, pathological headaches, hormone related headaches and hypertension headaches.
For the purpose of this article I will just be discussing the 3 major types as these 3 are what Chiropractors can have great success with!
This type of headache is the most common type I see with my patients and is the type of headache you should definitely see a Chiropractor for. With this type of headache the source of the problem is the joints within the neck even though the pain is felt in a location within the head. Most of the time the headache is made worse with certain head/neck position or movements or sustained postures.
The cause of these types of headaches is still unclear within the literature but research is continually being done to find the root cause. One theory about how the neck can cause headaches is because there are some neck nerves that converge with some nerves from the head which can cause pain referral from the neck up to the head (please note I have put this in very simple terms and it is a little bit more complicated then this).
Poor posture, sustained positions, prior neck trauma and stress can all be a contributing factors to cervicogenic headaches and it is for this reason that a chiropractor for headaches may help you.
Tension type headaches
A tension type headache is also a very common headache type and I see a lot of these in my clients – especially those who work in an office. These headaches usually present as a band like pain around the head as well as patient feeling like they have a lot of tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. The pain is quite even and doesn’t throb.
There are lots of different causes of these type of headache. One big cause is poor posture and the strain that it puts on muscles of the neck and upper back. Other common vauses are stress, lack of or poor sleep, muscular stress, jaw problems, prior neck trauma or psycoligical and social factors.
Seeing a Chiropractor for headaches will help to decrease the tension that is causing the headaches by helping free up the joints and relaxing the muscles.
Migraines are a complicated type of headache as we still don’t understand the full functionality of them. What we do know is that they are caused by changes in the brain and surrounding vasculature – we just don’t know why these chages occur.
There are two types of migraines:
1. Migraines with aura
- Accounts for 20% of migraines and are categorised by an aura or prodrome. This is where there is some pre warning, usually visual changes or taste changes before the onset of the migraine
2. Migraines without aura
- Accounts for 80% of migraines and are where there is no pre warning aura. The migraine just simply starts.
Migraine pain is described as a moderate to severe unilateral throbbing or pulsing. It is either beind the eye, at the front of the head or at the side of the head. Most people experience the migraine building up for 1-2 hours and that is why as soon as people feel it they tend to go home from work and head straight to bed. They usally last a few hours to a whole day.
Common adjacent symptoms are nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound.
A lot of people have a history of some sort of triggering factor. Things such as stress, rapid hormone changes (menstruation), rapid blood sugar changes, certain foods (especially red wine, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine – just to name a few), allergies and medications can trigger some peoples migraines.
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Chiropractor for Headaches – How can I help?
There is a lot of research surrounding the safety and effectives of Chiropractic treatment of headaches. One report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that treatment options commonly used in chiropractic care improved treatment outcomes for acute and chronic neck pain. Another study from the same journal found that spinal manipulation, the main form of treatment that chiropractors perform may improve symptoms related to migraines and cervicogenic headaches. While these are great studies it is important to note that they are not entirely conclusive and more research needs to and is being done.
From a clinical perspective I see great outcomes with my patients when we use chiropractic care for headaches. Not only can a Chiropractor for headaches help with the relief of pain from that particular headache but we can have success in the reductions of the frequency and severity of your headaches (this does vary patient to patient depending on the patients type of headache and lifestyle).
As a chiropractor in Diamond Creek I do a full history and examination to properly assess and diagnose your headaches. Headaches are important to diagnose correctly and sometimes this may mean referring you out for scans or for another consultation with a different practitioner. To be a successful Chiropractor for headaches this history and examination process is very important and is why we spend most of the first consultation on this process.
If it is assessed that chiropractic care can help your headaches, I use a variety of different treatment options depending on you and your headache. Some of the modalities I use are:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Low force adjustments
- Soft tissue therapy
- Rehabilitation exercises
- Lifestyle recommendations
By using a combination of different treatment methods I not only help alleviate your headache but aim to restore proper neuro-biomechanical function so we can decrease if not eliminate your headaches for good! This of course depends on what is causing your headaches. This is the overall aim of seeing a Chiropractor for headaches – we don’t just want to help your current headaches we want to prevent future ones.
If headaches are a common occurrence in your life maybe its time to visit a Chiropractor for headaches.