How Chiropractic Therapy Can Help with Headaches

Depending on the frequency, type, and severity, headaches can be debilitating. They can keep you from getting done what you need to get done. They can make you sick and keep you from your family. When you suffer from headaches, it's important to get relief. Medications may not do it for you and can even be the cause of your headaches.  

There are different kinds of headaches. Before seeking treatment, it is helpful to understand what type of headache you're dealing with and the kinds of remedies that might help.  If you're looking for ways beyond medication to manage and even avoid your headaches, take a look at chiropractic therapy. 

Cluster Headaches

Characteristics. Cluster headaches cause intense pain behind and around your eye. This can also extend into your cheek, head, forehead, and neck. They occur in multiples with periods of headaches that alternate with relief. These types of headaches can cause nausea. It can last anywhere between 15 minutes and three hours for each headache. These affect more men than women.

Causes. The exact cause is unknown, but there does seem to be a pattern. The time of year, day and time can be cyclical. It's common to have long periods between occurrences.

Treatment.  Chiropractic can help cluster headaches, but it can be more difficult since the exact cause is unknown.  When someone experiences these headaches, the body is trying to communicate that something is wrong. Chiropractic care can help in the healing process.

Migraine Headaches

Characteristics. Migraine headaches are characterized by a sensitivity to sound and light. They can also cause dizziness and nausea.

Causes. There are a variety of things that can trigger a migraine, but the exact cause remains unknown. Hormonal changes connected with menstruation can trigger migraines. So can emotional changes such as stress, shock, anxiety, excitement, and depression. Physical triggers, such as low blood sugar, exhaustion, poor posture, and shoulder or neck tension, can be to blame.

Migraines can also be diet-related. Alcohol, caffeine, and dehydration can trigger them. Even things in your environment may be causing them. Temperature changes, bright lights, strong smells, flickering screens or stuffy rooms could also be to blame.

Treatment. Medications seem to be the most effective, but chiropractic therapy may be helpful as well. Neuromuscular massage may help. This involves a massage that focuses on trigger points in the neck, shoulder, back, and head. This can help ease symptoms. Another option is a multidisciplinary care intervention. This involves a combination of relaxation techniques, physical therapy exercises, dietary counseling, and stress management.

Tension Headaches

Characteristics. These types of headaches are pretty common. They are a result of prolonged muscle tension. in the shoulders, neck or head.

Causes. Most people will experience at least one tension headache during their lifetime. These can be caused by a variety of different things. It could be posture, dehydration, stress or anxiety.

Treatment. These types of headaches generally improve with acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories, but chiropractic therapy could be useful as well.

If you experience chronic tension headaches, it can be worth it to look into chiropractic care. An option is something called low load craniocervical mobilization. This involves gentler force than is used in spinal manipulation. Rhythmic movement of the cervical segments is encouraged by this gentle force on the joints of the neck.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Characteristics. Cervicogenic headaches usually start with pain in the back of the head that then moves to the front. A lot of times there can be shoulder or arm pain on the same side as well.

Causes. These are believed to be caused by an underlying neck problem and then triggered by an injury.

Treatment. These are the least common type of headache and they usually don't improve with medication. This is the only type of headache where spinal manipulation is recommended. It would need to be performed by someone specifically trained in that area. A controlled force is applied to a certain joint in your spine. This does have some serious possible risks that need to be considered, so you need to consult with a medical professional.

There are other options such as joint mobilization and deep neck flexion exercises. For joint mobilization, the cervical spine will be targeted to help relieve the headaches. Flexion exercises need to be guided by a healthcare professional.

Chiropractic Care Can Help with Headaches

A chiropractor is a valuable asset to your healthcare team. They can help to diagnose and manage your headaches. Chiropractic care is most effective in treating cervicogenic and tension headaches. It can also help decrease the frequency and intensity of migraines.

While it can be difficult to avoid headaches altogether, understanding your triggers and your treatment options can help you can get relief. Chiropractic therapy has many benefits and can be a great tool to help with your headaches. Looking for help with headaches, neck or back pain? Schedule your initial consultation or treatment here: