Royal Palm Chiropractic & Wellness can help deal with back pain. We can even aid in posture. But did you know that we help in dealing with chronic headaches? Well, we do, and it can be a game-changer. Headaches can ruin your day, your week, and even your life.
Did you know, that according to the latest research, 9% of men and 12% of women in the US experience at least 1-2 headaches per month. And, more than 4% of the US in total suffers from frequent headaches. Those that occur at least 180 days a year.
As hard as it is to believe, scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches.
Common Headache Types
Cervicogenic headaches refer to headaches that originate from tissues and structures in the cervical spine or neck region. The headache is generally a very constant, strong, yet dull pain. The most common location of the pain is around the orbital (eye) region and upper neck area but may also include other areas of the face, head, and neck.
The headache will typically last for one to three days and reoccur every one to four weeks until properly treated. The headache may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and sensitivity to light and sound – similar to migraine headaches.
Tension headaches are the most common headache type, representing approximately 60% of all headaches. These headaches are caused by the sustained contraction of the muscles in the neck and head region.
Characteristically, these headaches are generally mild to moderate in intensity and can last from hours to days. There is a constant tightness or pressure sensation, generally feeling like a tight band is wrapping around the head. There is commonly pain and tightness in the area of the neck and shoulder. Pain generally starts in the base of the skull or temporal regions of the head and spreads outwards to affect other areas of the head and neck.
Post-traumatic headaches are headaches initiated from head or neck injury, such as in a whiplash-type injury or blow to the head. The resulting headache varies from person to person. Most commonly, the resulting post-traumatic headache is one of the following:
- Post-traumatic cervicogenic headache
- Post-traumatic muscle tension headache
- Post-traumatic migraine headache
- Post-traumatic cluster headache
- Post-traumatic vascular headache
The most favorable outcomes are seen with those who seek early treatment. It’s also important immediately following any head trauma to rule out subdural hematoma, a potentially fatal condition caused by intracranial bleeding. Chiropractors frequently treat post-traumatic headaches and do so with success.
Experts have claimed that as many as 60% of chronic headaches are drug-induced. It’s quite ironic that the abuse or frequent use of medications used to relieve the symptoms of a headache can actually end up perpetuating the headache or cause new headaches. In addition, physical dependency and organ damage are also extremely common complications associated with chronic analgesic usage.
Drug-induced headaches are usually dull, diffuse and non-throbbing affecting both sides of the head. They are frequently present first thing in the morning and persist throughout the day.
Migraines account for approximately 10% of all headaches. Researchers have found that 3.4 million females and 1.1 million males suffer from 1 migraine attack per month. Migraines follow a hereditary course, with 70% of migraine sufferers having other family members who are also affected. Migraine headaches often have coexisting muscle tension and cervicogenic factors which contribute to the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
The pain generated by migraines has a throbbing quality and usually involves one side of the head initially. The headache tends to reach its peak intensity after about 30 minutes. Migraines are commonly accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During severe attacks, sensitivity to sound and light may occur forcing the individual to seek a dark and quiet room mandatory. The duration of the headache can vary from a few hours to 1 to 2 days.
Migraine headaches are categorized into either “common” or “classical” migraines.
Cluster headaches are most common in middle-aged male smokers and are among the most painful of all headaches. The individual is often awakened 1 – 3 hours after sleep with the headache in its full-blown state. The headache lasts about 1 hour and attacks occur frequently over several days to weeks – thus their name “cluster”. The headaches will then disappear for periods of months to years before returning. The pain in cluster headaches is deep, non throbbing and severe located behind the ear and may radiate to the forehead and temple regions. There is also tearing of the affected eye, nasal congestion, and nasal drip.
Smoking, alcohol ingestion and napping often precipitate attacks. Immediate administration of oxygen (100% at 7 liters for 15 minutes) has been shown to provide some relief. It has been suggested that immersing the hand in ice water to the point of pain and elevating the bed may also provide some relief.
Chiropractic Treatment of Headaches
Chiropractors successfully treat thousands of headache sufferers every day. According to surveys, as many as 25% of the individuals seeking chiropractic care do so for the treatment of headaches.
Chiropractic has such good success in the treatment of headaches because most headaches are either soft tissue or neurologic in nature. Also, a significant portion of headaches originate in the tissues of the neck. And since chiropractors focus their treatment on the soft tissues of the spine, which includes the neck, the majority of headaches can be successfully managed with appropriate chiropractic care.
Chiropractic treatment for headaches has been compared with other forms of treatments and in most cases, has excelled. To see the results of studies evaluating the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the treatment of different headache types, select the “Articles” link from the table above.