Headaches and Chiropractic Care
Chances are you’ve dealt with a headache a time or two in your lifetime. At the least, a headache can be an annoyance that temporarily affects your day. However, headaches can also lead to debilitating chronic pain that affects overall quality of life. This is why understanding ways to possibly prevent or better manage headaches is an essential tool. You can feel in control of your headaches, or any other pain issue, with the right resources and treatment options.
Headaches and spine misalignment
When you think of a headache, spine alignment may not be your first thought. Yet, it probably should. When the spine is misaligned, it completely affects our body’s ability to function due to changes in nerve energy and flow. Thus, it can be easy to imagine that a neural imbalance can manifest as many different health issues, including headaches.
Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is an expert-based, results-oriented approach that provides a systematic approach to addressing spine alignment. This non-invasive elite approach can help restore balance to your spine. When the spine is in balance, it gives the body better potential for preventing and managing headaches.
Headache risk factors
There are many factors that go into experiencing occasional or frequent headaches. Here are some of the possibilities, they typically are a combination.
- Overuse or overexertion of the mid-back, shoulders, or neck
- Muscle strain of the upper body- especially when poor posture is evident
- Lack of good sleep
- High stress with a poor approach for better management
- Hunger- particularly due to low blood sugar
- Caffeine or sugar withdrawal
- Allergies or sinus issues
- Poor nutrition
Did you know spine misalignment can be the underlying issue or cause a large number of the risk factors listed above? For example, spine imbalances can lead to overuse, muscle strain, and poor posture.
Types of headaches
There are several different types of headaches that people can experience throughout their lifetime. Each type may be addressed with a slightly different approach. Yet, poor nerve flow and health can typically be attributed to each type. Here is quick review:
- Tension headaches- typically a dull aching sensation throughout the head often triggered by stress.
- Cluster headaches- a series of piercing headaches (usually felt behind one eye) that typically occur around the same time everyday one after the other.
- Migraines- a deep debilitating throbbing in the head that causes extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
- Sinus or allergy headaches- pain in the front of the head secondary to pressure in the sinuses.
- Post-traumatic headaches- a head or neck injury from impact such as a car accident can lead to chronic headache symptoms.
- Rebound headaches- this type of headache occurs when use of pain medications (particularly over the counter pain meds) wear off.
- Hypertension headaches- if your headache is due to high blood pressure, this is a medical emergency. It typically affects both sides of the head and is worse with exertion.
- Exertion headaches- overexertion with demanding activities related to work or exercise can trigger a short term headache that should go away once the activity is complete.
- Caffeine headaches- too much or too little (if you usually drink it regularly). Caffeine affects brain chemistry and is a stimulant, which affects blood flow to the head.
- Hormone headaches- most common in women due to cycle fluctuations with estrogen levels.
Traditional treatment for headaches
Treatment options that are traditionally used for headaches typically include a focus on pain management. These include use of pain medication, ice, rest, and heat. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are recommended around nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Other additional options that might be recommended include:
- Chiropractic care for pain management (including soft tissue management and modalities), exercise programs, posture, and manipulations.
- Physical therapy for pain management, exercise education, and more.
- Massage therapy to address muscle tension
Headaches and chiropractic care
Working closely with a CBP practitioner is a great way to address headaches. They will help you get to the root cause of your issues and restore spine alignment as a top priority. This will restore nerve energy and allow any damaged tissues in the neck (muscles, nerves, discs, etc.) to heal.
When the spine is out of alignment, it can feel like you’re stuck in a hamster wheel of pain, whether it’s a headache or some other ache. Good spine alignment allows the entire nervous system to work in sync. This means the affected sore tissues in the head and neck are getting proper signals that can allow healing and prevent future issues and exacerbation.
At Symmetry Health Center, Dr. Cynthia Boyd and her team of chiropractic professionals are dedicated to addressing your headache concerns at the source. That way your relief is sustainable and you can live life potentially free of headaches (or at least with fewer of them!). Get in touch with our team in Oakland or Alameda, CA to see what options are available to you today.