If you suffer from headaches, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that approximately two-thirds of the global population suffer from headaches, affecting all ages and all walks of life. While there are many different “types” of headaches, clinically, we have found the majority are related to joint issues in the neck. Thankfully, most of the causes and ensuing problems can be corrected with Chiropractic Care and patients can sometimes enjoy almost instant relief, while others experience a more gradual decline in their symptoms over a few days or weeks.
A thorough examination is performed first, to determine the type and cause of headache. Once determined, specific Chiropractic adjustments are used to correct structural alignment and restore function to the joints and surrounding muscles, often relieving headaches immediately or over the course of a few days. The ‘Chiropractic adjustment’ is a procedure in which trained Chiropractors use their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled force to a spinal joint or area.
COMMON CAUSES OF HEADACHES & MIGRAINES
Some headaches are mild, infrequent and resolve quickly while others can be debilitating and severely reduce your quality of life. Headaches can be caused but not limited to;
The functioning of your cervical spine
Muscular tension (neck and upper back)
Trauma (e.g. whiplash)
Poor posture or Physical stress
MOST COMMON TYPES OF HEADACHES
One of the most common types of headaches. They originate from structures in the neck and are caused by a loss of normal functioning of the spine, leading to spinal joint dysfunction and irritation of the nerves and other tissues in the neck. They are generally described as a dull, constant ache, often starting in the upper neck and spreading to the top or side/s of the head. These headaches are often associated with traumas such as whiplash, falls, poor posture or physical stresses such as a poor work environment. This type of headache responds exceptionally well to Chiropractic care.
Tension Type Headache
These headaches most commonly originate from spasming or tight neck muscles due to poor posture or restricted vertebral movement. Other common causes include emotional stress, depression, alcohol use and eye strain. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 20 people will suffer from daily tension headaches. Tension headaches can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from migraines, but are described as a mild to moderate pain, pressure or tightness across the forehead, behind the eyes or into the temples. Tension headaches respond excellent to Chiropractic care with a combination of stretching, strengthening and/or lifestyle changes.
RESEARCH Research shows that Chiropractic adjustments (sometimes known as spinal manipulation) may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. A 2014 report from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) found that interventions commonly used in chiropractic care improved outcomes for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain (1). Also, a 2011 JMPT study found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, may improve symptoms related to migraine and cervicogenic headaches (2).
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014; 37: 42-63.
Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, et al. Evidence based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011; 34: 274-89.
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