According to the IHS (International Headache Society), 40% of Americans experience headaches, whether it be due to tension or migraines. Frequent or not, headaches are not something to live with and endure. Muscle contractions that happen in the head and neck region are the number one cause of headaches. These can happen for several reasons, ranging from listening to loud music for an extended period or lack of food and water.
When people get headaches, they often pop a pill and wait for the pain to go away, leading to adverse side effects over time, which does more harm than good.
But you don’t need to worry as there’s a better and drug-free solution, chiropractic treatment. Research has shown that chiropractic care is an efficient treatment for all kinds of headaches. A 2014 report from the JMPT (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics) indicated that particular chiropractic techniques have resulted in better outcomes for individuals with Cervicogenic, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches.
Whether you’re feeling mild, throbbing, or excruciation headaches, it’s time for you to seek a chiropractor. O’Dell Family Chiropractic chiropractic doctors are experts in applying chiropractic techniques to alleviate all kinds of headaches. They strive to provide complete care for patients, helping you stay pain-free.
But before visiting a chiropractor, you need to know what kind of headache you’re dealing with to help experts pinpoint the root cause and allow you to get the proper treatment. Knowing the symptoms and types of headaches enables chiropractors to guide you to the most appropriate chiropractic therapy for faster, smoother, and better recovery.
To help you out, here’s everything you need to know about headaches, from its causes, different types, how can a chiropractor help, and how to avoid it.
What Causes Headaches?
Headaches have become an economic and social issue worldwide, with scientists identifying over 300 causes for it. Fortunately, common headaches usually happen due to minor reasons and not severe medical conditions. Still, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention when the pain becomes unbearable to avoid further complications.
Commonly, when different pain-sensitive tissues or structures, such as the skin and facial nerves get damaged, injured, or irritated, they’re the primary reasons for headaches. However, for some, headaches can happen due to lifestyle factors such as:
- Frequently eating processed meat
- Bad posture
- Not eating at the right times
- Fatigue or excessive stress
- Insomnia episodes or lack of sleep
- Alcohol, especially red wine
Besides terrible lifestyle choices, you can also get headaches due to drug reactions, stiff neck, low blood sugar, or high blood pressure. If you can pinpoint your headache pain causes, you should know the common types of headaches to see what you can do to avoid it or treat it. Knowing them can also help chiropractors formulate the right chiropractic treatment plan for your specific condition.
Most Recurrent Headaches
Most of the recurrent headaches that people experience are tension or Cervicogenic headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Let’s dive into each one.
Tension or Cervicogenic Headaches
Tension headaches are the most common that affects more than 75% of people that experience headaches often. Individuals with this condition describe the pain as a constant dull or achy feeling on one or both sides of their head, resembling the feeling of having a tight band around the head region and behind the eyes. These typically start slowly and gradually get worse, lasting for several minutes or days. They tend to start in the middle or at the end of the day. Tension headaches happen if a person has poor posture or is experiencing excessive stress, placing constant pressure on the spine and muscles.
Although the typical time frame for tension headaches is from 30 minutes to a couple of days, chronic tension headaches can last several months. The pain associated with the condition can sometimes be debilitating. They’re usually not linked with other symptoms like throbbing, vomiting, and nausea.
The most common cause of these headaches are subluxations or spinal misalignments in the back or upper neck region. And when your neck loses its normal range of motion or positions the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor, it often goes into spasms. Then its tendons slip between the upper neck and your skull’s base. This scenario allows the tendon to attach to a fragile tissue, the dura mater responsible for covering the brain. The tendon’s attachment to the dura mater causes tension headaches. That’s why individuals with office jobs that stay in a single position for prolonged periods often experience tension headaches.
According to global statistics, over 25 million people in the United States experience migraine annually. Migraines are intense headaches that cause a ‘throbbing’ sensation often linked with light or noise sensitivity, and vertigo or nausea. Migraines can last for a couple of hours or several days, and migraine sufferers often experience visual symptoms referred to as the ‘aura’ before the migraine settles in, which allows a person to see flashing lights or see their surroundings in a dream-like state.
People usually start having migraines before the age of 30, and they tend to be hereditary, meaning it tends to run in families. Some individuals experience migraines several times in one month, while others only have attacks once or twice a year.
Migraines are usually caused by the constriction of blood vessels in the brain, decreasing the blood flow and lead to the ‘aura’ or visual symptoms that many migraine sufferers experience. When the blood vessels dilate, there will be a sudden increase in blood pressure inside your brain, causing the ‘throbbing’ or ‘pounding’ feeling. There are several theories as to why blood vessels constrict inside the head in the first place, but there’s no concrete explanation for this phenomenon.
However, one thing is for sure, and that’s several things that can trigger migraines. These include lack of sleep, the quick flickering of lights, strong odors like perfumes, frequent changing weather patterns, and food. You can quickly reduce your migraine episodes by making healthier lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods high in the amino acid ‘tyramine’ that usually triggers it. These foods and beverages include beer on tap, fermented meat, or red wine.
Cluster headaches are severe but only last in short duration, ranging around 15 minutes to three hours. The reason behind its name is that they usually happen one to four times daily for several days. These are excruciating headaches that a person can feel on one side of their head or behind their eyes. It affects over 1 million Americans and is common in men. Cluster headaches typically happen at night. When a person experiences one cluster of headaches and finishes, they usually go back after several months. Like migraines, these headaches occur due to the constriction and rapid dilation of blood vessels in the brain.
How to Avoid Headache Triggers
Although most headaches tend to happen randomly and are usually unpreventable, you can still make necessary changes in your daily life to prevent onsets of it. These include:
- Drink More Water – Dehydration is a common cause behind most headaches as the body loses the essential fluids to function correctly. That’s why it’s best to make it a habit to drink plentiful water daily.
- Manage Stress – Stress is the number one cause for tension headaches, which is the type of headache that over 75% of people experience. Managing stress is essential to stay sane and keep the pain away. So, have a break once in a while and enjoy life.
- Proper Posture – Bad posture puts constant pressure on the spine and its surrounding muscles, often triggering headaches. Make it a habit to keep your shoulders straight and your chest forward. Maintaining correct pressure not only helps ease headaches, but it also makes you feel and look better.
If you think you’re experiencing excruciating headache pain and practicing these preventive measures aren’t working for you anymore, it’s time for you to contact a chiropractor from O’Dell Family Chiropractic to get the help you deserve.
How Can a Chiropractor Help with Headaches?
According to the ACA (American Chiropractic Association), chiropractic treatment is efficient for individuals suffering from chronic headaches. Chiropractic practices such as spinal adjustments can improve acute or chronic neck pain, reducing pain associated with headaches.
Expert chiropractic doctors from O’Dell Family Chiropractic practice targeted methodology where they adjust your spine’s alignment, improving spinal function, mitigating stress on your nervous system, and reducing headaches. Besides alleviating headaches, these chiropractic practices can enhance your body’s overall health and well-being. Setting an appointment with one of our chiropractors helps you fight against the daily stress you face in your life. Whether you spend extended periods of driving or sitting in an office chair, stress buildup can happen in many ways, leading to headache pain.
When you come to O’Dell Family Chiropractic Center for your headaches, our chiropractic doctors will relieve your pain and improve your overall lifestyle by giving tips on proper posture, exercises, and relaxation methods.
Choose the best care for yourself with O’Dell! To know more about O’Dell Family Chiropractic and their services, chiropractors, and treatments, you visit them at odellfamilychiro.com.