The list of treatment options for dealing with headache pain is immense. In addition to the numerous medications on the market for headaches, many sufferers change their dietary and social habits, use prescription Botox injections over the head and neck, learn cognitive relaxation techniques, try meditation and/or hypnosis, and the list goes on and on. There is, however, one option that is often overlooked by our healthcare system, and that option is chiropractic care. Chiropractic care has been proven to be safe and effective for the treatment of some common types of headaches.
The most common type of headache pain is the Tension Type Headache. Tension headaches often start as posterior neck pain or pain at the base of the skull that is described as dull or achy. This pain can be caused by tension in the muscles that attach to the spine and the base of the skull. As the tension increases, the pain can radiate from the neck to the back of the skull and even into the forehead. The pain can be one sided or occur bilaterally. Tension headaches affecting both sides of the head and neck are often described as feeling a tight band surrounding the entire head. While tension headaches are usually mild to moderate in severity, they can be long lasting and occur frequently. Some individuals that suffer from tension headaches report experiencing them every day for months or even years.
The second most common type of headache pain is the Migraine Headache. Migraine headaches are usually severe and vary in duration from hours to days. While the reported symptoms vary, many migraine sufferers report debilitating pain which is pulsating or throbbing in nature and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and/or sound. For some, migraine headaches are preceded by an aura. An aura is an event which alerts the individual to the oncoming headache. The aura is typically a visual disturbance described as flashing or strange lights, blurred vision, and difficulty focusing. While some individuals are able to identify triggers, such as foods, medications, and environmental factors which cause them to have a migraine headache, there is still some debate about what is actually causing these headaches. However, it is accepted that certain structures in the brainstem, located in the upper cervical spine, play a role in the cause of migraine headaches.
The third most common type of headache is described as Mixed Headache Syndrome. Mixed headaches are a combination of tension and migraine headaches.
Chiropractic care can help. Because both tension and migraine headaches are known to be connected to the structures in the cervical spine, chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine is very often an effective tool to treat headache symptoms. After completing a history and examination focused on the patient’s complaint, a chiropractor will identify vertebral joints in the cervical spine that are restricted in motion, meaning the joint is lacking its normal physiological range of motion. Once these areas of joint restriction are identified, there are many different chiropractic techniques that are available to correct the motion restriction. The most frequently utilized adjustment technique among chiropractors is called Diversified or HVLA. HVLA stands for High Velocity, Low Amplitude. This adjustment is simply a quick thrust applied to the dysfunctional joint in an effort to restore the normal range of motion.
Chiropractic care is safe. While there are some risks associated with chiropractic care, severe complications are extremely rare and are influenced by factors such as age, social habits, and health history. The most common risk associated with chiropractic manipulation is mild, temporary discomfort reported over the area which was adjusted.
If you experience headache pain, don’t suffer needlessly. Call us today to schedule a free consult at Brummert Family Chiropractic in State College to see if chiropractic care could be an effective option for you. Click here to contact us through our website or click here to book a consultation.