Headaches affect a lot of people, and can be very debilitating. Because headaches are so common, most people think that getting a headache is a normal part of life. This is simply not true. Headaches are a sign that something is wrong.
Every year we treat thousands of people with headaches. Some of the more common types of headaches that we see are: migraine headache, cluster headache, cervicogenic (spinal) headache and tension headaches.
What Is A Tension Headache? Tension headaches can give you mild to moderate pain and can feel like a tight band around the head (a squeeze or a tightening). The main symptom is pain on both sides of the head that may be associated with muscle pain. The pain can be more severe in the front of the head for some and in the back of the head (base of the skull) for others.
What Attributes To Tension Headaches?
Multiple factors can bring on a tension headache, including:
- Inadequate sleep
- Poor posture which relates to a lack of joint motion (misalignment in the spine)
Why Does Chiropractic Work So Well For Tension Headaches?
Chiropractic looks to correct the cause of tension headaches as it makes the spine and body more biomechanically functional. Meaning that it corrects your spinal curvatures leading to the correction of joint movement, muscles strength, a reduction in muscle tightness and tension and a reduction in the destruction of joints, bones, discs and nerves.
So How Does This All Happen?
When your joints (any joint) are misaligned, they cannot move correctly. When a joint does not move correctly, the stabilising muscles that support that joint become lazy and weak and the nerve connection to those muscles diminish as it’s not getting used much.
It’s use it or lose it for the body, brain and nerve connections and just like having a cast on your arm or leg, without moving the joints for just 1-2 months you will see a huge reduction of muscle tone and strength and nerve connectivity.
More specific to the spine, without proper movement of the joints and strength of the muscles and ligaments of the spine, the spinal curves lose their most functional shape and instead of acting like springs to distribute everyday forces, all the forces go onto the bones and discs of the spine and cause degeneration, damage/injury and other dysfunctions to occur.
The deep stabilising muscles and their strength and activity are important as when they are not supporting a joint properly a whole host of problems can arise.
These muscles keep the joints in their proper position… so when they are weak:
- The joint is not getting any support.
- It’s not in it’s optimal position.
- Keeps locking up and lacks proper movement.
- The muscles keep getting weaker.
- The cycle keeps getting worse over time.
- Creates damage inside the bones, joints, discs and nerves
This weakness and instability within the deep stabilising muscles also creates tightness and stiffness in and around the bigger muscles around the body such as the neck (causing tension headaches), chest, shoulders, lower back, buttock and even arms and legs, creating a whole chain of improper movement and stress through the body.
So Does Chiropractic Care Reverse All This?
The simple answer is Book a consultation with one of our chiropractors to see how we can help you.
CERVICOGENIC (SPINAL) HEADACHES
The vertebrae of the spine fit together on moving joints that provide strength to the structure of the spine and maintain the vertebrae in proper working alignment with one another. The joints of the spine in the neck are richly innervated (supplied) with nerve fibers that can cause pain in the head and neck if the joints are physically strained or injured.
Once the process described above has produced stiffness and shortening of the muscles in the neck, the joints of the spine are no longer properly stabilised or supported. The affected joints of the spine often become subluxated (misaligned). This causes strain and injury to the joints and supporting ligament tissue. The result of the combined subluxation, ligament strain and joint injury is often neck pain with associated headache.
A treatment program with a chiropractor can result in dramatic improvements in patients suffering from chronic headaches. Taking analgesics simply removes the symptoms whilst the underlying problem remains and gets worst with time. Chiropractic care works directly on the site of pain to restore the normal functioning of the spine. Chiropractors look for areas of muscle tension or weakness in the neck and head as sites of headache causes.
This may include tight muscles in the base of the neck, at the base of the skull, or in the jaw. Using simple massage and adjustments, Chiropractic can provide headache relief for good, without expensive or dangerous techniques.
Chiropractic for headaches works by releasing the areas of tension around the head and neck and re-training the spine to prevent further headaches. Removing the causes of spinal stress addresses both the muscle and nerve tension and the resulting headaches. Advice on posture, ergonomics, and sleeping positions may be beneficial to headache sufferers.
Migraine is a chronic illness, not just a headache. The exact mechanism by which migraines occur is not known. Migraine attacks may be triggered by dietary, hormonal, physical, and environmental factors including stress and anxiety and sudden intense exercise or physical exertion. Migraines are lancing, sickening, and debilitating. They cause sensitivity to light, nausea, can last for hours, and piercing pain behind the eyes. Correcting the function of the neck, sinuses and restoring flexibility is key in dealing with nearly every type of headache sufferer.